Messaging App Line Announces Plans for Global Cryptocurrency Exchange


Japanese messaging giant Line announced their plans to release a global Cryptocurrency exchange in July.

The exchange, which is called Bitbox, will initially support a total of 30 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. Line said that all the coins listed underwent a thorough review by a committee of industry experts, and the first month of trading after launch will be commission free. At the time of launching, Bitbox will only support trading against other cryptocurrencies, without an option to trade against fiat currencies.

Notably, the exchange will be available in 15 languages, and will be available for use by traders across the globe.  The exchange will not allow users in Japan or the United States to register or trade.

Line made the announcement this week, saying:

“With the need to trade cryptocurrencies rising around the world, Line has been preparing to provide opportunities for users to do so securely, and as the secure system is in place now, the company will be offering the service.”

The public was first made aware of Line’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange in late January, when the company announced that they had applied for a license to run a virtual currency exchange with Japan’s Financial Services Agency.  Plans to launch the exchange were delayed following the $530 million Coincheck hack that occurred, and the decision to exclude the US and Japan from Bitbox’s services likely comes as a result of the regulatory hurdles that would be incurred.  The services may be open to users in the US and Japan in the future if the proper licenses are obtained.

Line is joining other major social apps who have ventured into the cryptocurrency industry. Telegram recently raised $1.7 billion through an ICO of its own cryptocurrency. Kik, an ad-free messaging app, also recently launched its own digital token.  Facebook has also reportedly been researching how they can use different forms of blockchain technology.

Bitbox will be located in Singapore, which currently has a friendly regulatory attitude towards cryptocurrency exchanges.