The popular Japanese messaging service LINE announced the launch of its own cryptocurrency and blockchain platform on August 31.
According to the announcement, the company's blockchain is called LINK Chain and is intended to be a "service-oriented blockchain network" which allows decentralized applications (Dapps) to be applied to the LINE messaging platform. The network's genesis block was established on August 23.
The announcement states that the company will not hold an initial coin offering (ICO). Instead, it will compensate participants who use the Dapps on their new mainnet with LINK tokens. Those tokens can then be exchanged for services, including shopping and gaming.
LINE's white paper states that the first two Dapps will be released in September, with 10 more slated for release in 2019.
LINE plans on gradually issuing a total of one billion LINK tokens: 800 million tokens will be given to users as rewards and incentives while the other 200 million will be kept as a company reserve.
In addition to receiving LINK tokens as incentives and rewards for using LINE's new blockchain platform, international users will be able to trade and exchange LINK on LINES' recently developed BITBOX cryptocurrency exchange when it launches in September.
However, until LINE receives authorization from Japanese's regulators to trade and exchange in digital currency, domestic users will not be eligible to receive the tokens. Instead, Japanese participants will receive LINK Points, which can be used for Dapp services or exchanged for LINE points; they will not be eligible for trade or exchange on BITBOX or any other cryptocurrency exchange platform.
While it's unclear exactly where LINE is in the process of achieving regulatory approval, Japanese authorities do not seem set on barring legitimate businesses from issuing cryptocurrency. Japan's Financial Services Agency chief, Toshihide Endo, recently expressed his support of legitimate innovations in the cryptosphere.
This announcement seems to directly connect with an announcement made by LINE in February in which the company claimed it wanted to "integrate a new range of financial services, including a place to exchange and transact virtual currencies, loans, and insurance."