Japanese messaging giant LINE has launched its own digital currency that would power a new reward system for users of its apps.
LINE announced the news today, saying that with the launch it “becomes one of the largest and most-established companies to develop and issue a cryptocurrency”. Since LINE Corporation is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, it has also become one of the first public companies to issue a crypto token.
Notably, the company has chosen to handle the distribution of the token, called LINK, not via an initial coin offering (ICO), but by utilising a reward system that “gives users LINK as compensation for using certain services within the LINE ecosystem”. The token would exist on its own, dedicated blockchain called LINK Chain, which has also been created by LINE. The company indicated that the blockchain would support an ecosystem of dApps (decentralised apps), including dApps developed by external parties.
“Over the last seven years, LINE was able to grow into a global service because of our users, and now with LINK, we wanted to build a user-friendly reward system that gives back to our users,” LINE’s chief executive officer Takeshi Idezawa said in a statement. “With LINK, we would like to continue developing as a user participation-based platform, one that rewards and shares added value through the introduction of easy-to-use dApps for people’s daily lives.”
LINE plans to gradually issue a total of 1 billion LINK tokens, of which 800 million will be allocated for user rewards. The remaining 200 million tokens will be managed by LINE Tech Plus, a recently-launched subsidiary of LINE Corporation, as a reserve. The token will be tradable on the BITBOX digital asset exchange in September. Since BITBOX is not currently registered with Japan’s financial regulator, for the time being, local users will receive ‘LINK Points’ instead of the actual tokens. The Link Points will become convertible into the new token once the exchange acquires the necessary licence to operate in Japan.