Launched in October 2018, Asian messaging giant Line’s Bitbox crypto exchange has made its link (LN) digital asset available to users worldwide, with the exception of notable locations like Japan and the U.S. Last Thursday the group announced it was preparing to launch the coin in the Japanese market, compliant with the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA).
Though full details are not yet disclosed, a press release from Line details that the digital currency could be available to traders in Japan as soon as April 2020.
Though the Line messaging app and payment service are popular in Japan, the Line corporation’s digital currency link (LN) has not yet been made available to the domestic market due to regulatory issues.
In a press release posted Thursday Line announced:
Since launching on the BITBOX cryptocurrency exchange on October 16, 2018, LINK has been available to users worldwide except in Japan and the United States. Concurrently, LVC Line subsidiary has been preparing to roll out the coins in the Japanese market in accordance with the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association’s (JVCEA) official process to handle new digital currency.
The exact date of launch is not known but the release details, “The coin’s official release date (currently scheduled to be in as early as April 2020) will be announced separately once it is determined.”
Line’s Bitbox exchange is at present unavailable to residents of Japan, but the press release notes that “LVC is currently developing a system in preparation for LINK’s debut in Japan.” It is unclear whether the Bitbox exchange itself will be regulated and made available to the Japanese market. However, Line’s in-app exchange service Bitmax, launched in September last year, is available in the country, and a separate announcement will be made when link is available on that platform, according to the release.
Regulatory Hurdles for Multiple Social Apps
Like link, other projects such as Telegram’s gram and Facebook’s libra currencies are no stranger to legal barriers. As electronic money and crypto redefine what currency is and innovate its potential use cases, regulators worldwide appear to be struggling to deal with the rapid progress.
In October, Telegram chose to delay launch of its TON (Telegram Open Network) blockchain in light of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing suit against the group, claiming the gram token is a security. The company had also refused to disclose financial information to the regulator, however this demand for disclosure was reportedly rejected by the New York Southern District Court in early January.
Facebook’s libra sees its latest struggles in big time players exiting the Libra Association, some of whom are likely influenced by the project’s ongoing regulatory entanglements.
Finally, popular Canadian messaging app Kik announced its own woes in September last year, pointing to an imminent shutdown in light of channeling resources to an SEC court battle for the sake of its own crypto known as “kin.” It’s in this broad milieu of turbulent relationships between new crypto projects and regulators that link will roll out in Japan. With the approval of the JVCEA, however, things can likely be expected to go more smoothly for Line’s digital asset. Whether the token will eventually arrive in the U.S. thanks to the development remains to be seen.