LINE to Obtain License for Its Crypto Exchange in Japan

Asia Blockchain Review
July 3, 2019

Japan-based LINE Corp, owner of the popular mobile messaging app LINE, is expected to receive its crypto exchange license this month from Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA). 

Its crypto exchange initiative is set to go online in a few weeks after getting the greenlight, according to Bloomberg, citing several sources close to the matter. 

LINE’s BitMax to Trade Bitcoin & Native Token ‘LINK’

As reported by CT Japan, the crypto exchange will be dubbed BitMax. BitMax will allow LINE’s 80 million users in Japan to trade major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and LINE’s native token, LINK (LN).

Previously, in July 2018, LINE launched a global user-focused cryptocurrency exchange based in Singapore called BitBox. BitMax will reportedly employ the same back-end infrastructure as its predecessor. 

Despite the fact that it is owned by a Japanese company, BitBox is inaccessible for users in Japan due to its lack of licensing approval from the FSA.

Japan Implements Stricter Screening for Crypto Exchange Licenses

Since March, the FSA has granted licenses to only 19 crypto exchanges as a result of its stricter screening policies following last year’s Coincheck hack incident, which caused over US$530 million in damages. Nevertheless, Coincheck was able to receive licensing from the FSA earlier this year. 

Among the FSA’s other crypto exchange license approvals is Rakuten Wallet. Rakuten Wallet previously rebranded from Bitcoin exchange ‘Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc’ was acquired by Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten in 2018.

Meanwhile, LINE is waiting on approval for a banking license from the FSA, which would allow cryptocurrency integration with its other services, including e-commerce. The license is reportedly expected to be issued in 2020. 


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