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LINE, A Japanese Chat App Goes Crypto
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LINE, A Japanese Chat App Goes Crypto

by John M.February 3, 2018

News about cryptocurrencies have been piling in from all corners of the world. But there is one place above all else that has made a steady progress along the lines of adopting and innovating in the crypto asset sector.

Introducing LINE, the Japanese social messaging app, which has decided to go crypto. As of today, 31 January, LINE is de facto entering the fray where other Japanese big fish are squaring it out.

Channelling its 200 million unique users, LINE is now launching a crypto exchange. It is quite the substantial base for both – an adventurous undertaking, but also advancing the cause of the crypto craze. Not that it needed much advancing in Asia, at least.

The legal ins and outs

South Korea has decided to follow Japan. Here is a pair of countries that would rather have things happen out in the clear rather than have a recourse to some shady affairs. Last year, the Japanese government adopted a licensing scheme, which allowed coin exchanges to register and operate.

This is not as surprising as some may think it is. In reality, Asia will increasingly seek to establish lasting regulations on the cryptocurrency sector at a time when one bad headline is easily uprooting another, by merit of how shocking the announcement.

LINE’s own path to follow

LINE will seek to wed its already existing mobile payment services with the cryptocurrency exchange.

By entering the sector, LINE will also focus on the advancement of the blockchain technology. However, there are a few reasons to worry as it is. Blockchain has proven inefficient even for desktop users. Recently, attacks on Coincheck have severely undermined the safety of the technology.

But naturally where there is doubt, there is also dispute. And it would be great to see how LINE brings their fresh perspective into the industry. However, even LINE must not be blindsided by rookie enthusiasm.

Learning from the past sour lessons of the industry would be a good place to start. Precisely because LINE’s linking so much of its offers with the crypto currency exchange, safety concerns will be a common mention.

Japan, a haven for cryptocurrencies

From all the three states in Asia that interest themselves in cryptocurrencies genuinely, Japan is the laxest.

With its mild regulation of coin exchanges – enough to keep them in sight, but distanced enough so as not to breath down their neck, Japan is one of the most lenient governments in the world that openly recognizes operations carried in this sort of assets.

Elsewhere, and most notably in China, the Chinese Communist Party has decided that crypto currencies pose too much of a risk, with the Chinese Central Bank being unable to follow transactions easily.

It is not a bad decision altogether, but it is one that necessitates further scrutiny if cryptocurrencies are ever to take off in the country.

Lastly, we have South Korea. The country has suffered dearly from what is allegedly North Korean hacker attacks.

Depriving private companies, who have been unprofessional enough not to use multisig wallets is bad enough. However, the prospect of turning those proceedings into money to fund the rogue state of the North is even a more chilling prospect.

MainLINIng the change

Japan should impress on LINE the importance of staying safe and preparing for an influx of outside influences. On the flipside however, if LNE manages to create its own reliable crypto exchange run exclusively on mobile devices, the company may restore some of the faith we all secretly share in cryptocurrencies.

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John M.

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