Tokyo-based social messaging application Line has launched Unblock, a blockchain subsidiary in South Korea, the company announced.

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According to the announcement, Unblock will be a research vehicle tasked with studying blockchain technology and finding potential uses and applications for Line’s product offerings.

Lee Hee-woo, a co-founder of blockchain-based digital advertising company AD4th, was appointed to lead the Line’s blockchain subsidiary. With two decades’ experience as a venture capitalist in the IT sector, Lee has worked for KTB Network, IDG Ventures and Cognitive Investment.

“The establishment of Unblock signals we are ready to invest in order to play a leading role in the blockchain industry,” a Line official told Business Korea. “We are planning to recruit people with expertise in blockchain technologies, such as token economy design. We will speed up investment and strengthen research on the virtual currency market.”

“The move will add new value through technological innovation by combining blockchain technology with various services in Line.”

Line plans to actively invest in blockchain going forward, taking a leading role in the market by capitalizing on its technological experience in operating its chat app, the company stated.

The Japanese giant’s mobile platform, Line Plus, is looking to introduce a “token economy” in the near future. The company has recently announced cryptocurrency support for the its payment app, Line Pay. Additionally, Line has also established Line Financial Corporation (LFC), a platform for loans, insurance, and cryptocurrency trading. LFC is currently waiting to be green-lighted by Japan’s Financial Services Agency, which oversees registrations of new exchanges.

Line Corporation is a Japanese subsidiary of the South Korean internet search giant Naver Corporation. Line’s central business, its chat app, is reported to have over 68 million users in Japan and 214 million in total across 230 countries. Moreover, the company’s payment app, Line Pay, has over 30 million registered users in Japan. Line Corporation has a ¥120.7B market cap – roughly $1.1 billion.

Line launches blockchain subsidiary – Image source: Japan Times

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