Line, Japan's WhatsApp challenger, is getting into cryptocurrency and fintech

 
Lynsey Barber
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Line is known for its cartoon mascots in Japan (Source: Getty)

The bitcoin boom continues...

Line, a hugely popular messaging app from Japan which rivals WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, has revealed plans to launch a its own cryptocurrency exchange

Read more: The world's biggest bitcoin exchange is launching in Europe

The tech company, which went public in 2016 in one of the biggest tech IPOs of that year, has already applied to Japan's Financial Services Agency to become a licensed virtual currency exchange.

The country was the first to introduce specific regulation aimed at cryptocurrencies and it's the biggest market for cryptocurrency trading.

The move is part of a wider one into finance and the firm will also start offering loans and insurance, with ambitions to become "a leader in the fintech industry".

Read more: Facebook is banning adverts for bitcoin and binary options

It said the expansion follows on the back of its success with Line Pay, which is used by 40m people and through which 450bn yen worth of transactions were made last year. In total, it has around 200m users, largely in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Line sold a majority stake in its mobile business to Softbank for an undisclosed sum. Share in Line jumped as much as four per cent on the Tokyo stock exchange

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