Japan’s Line Close to Obtaining FSA License for Japanese Crypto Exchange

VC Corporation, the digital asset and blockchain-focused arm of Japanese messaging giant Line, is close to obtaining a crypto exchange operating license from Japan’s financial regulator. Cointelegraph Japan first reported the news on June 20.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) could issue the company with an exchange license as early as this month according to the report.

The trading service, which will be called BitMax, would give Line’s 80 million users in Japan access to multiple major cryptocurrencies, as well as Line’s native token Link, CT Japan notes.

In a press release shared with Cointelegraph, Line discloses close to 187 million global users monthly, with an estimated 50 million users registered its mobile payment service, Line Pay.

BitMax is expected to have the same back-end infrastructure as the Singapore-based, global user-focused crypto exchange BitBox, which was launched by Line in July 2018. Initially, the platform is to offer 30 cryptocurrency pairs.

“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 release states.

However, BitBox remains inaccessible for Japanese users given the country’s exchange license requirements. The license was made mandatory for all cryptocurrency exchanges operating within Japan since the amendment of the country’s Payment Services Act back in April 2017, and the FSA has since then continued to ratchet up requirements for applicants.

Meanwhile, the firm also awaits a banking license. If granted, it would authorize deeper integration of cryptocurrencies with its other services, including e-commerce, The Japan Times notes, but it is allegedly only likely to be issued in 2020.

Line debuted its Link cryptocurrency in late summer 2018, and has continued to develop its token ecosystem based on the firm’s in-house service-oriented blockchain, Link Chain. The blockchain network allows decentralized applications to be directly applied to Line’s messaging platform.

Line’s latest business move follows a previously announced partnership with American payment services firm Visa on new blockchain and digital payments solutions.

Japan’s cryptocurrency exchange sector continues to face major upheaval. Last week, regulators issued so-called ‘Business Improvement Orders’ to six operators. The Financial Services Agency’s attempt to make the industry legally compliant and prevent security lapses follows the $530 million hack of Coincheck at the start of 2019.

American social media behemoth Facebook has meanwhile this week unveiled its white paper for its libra cryptocurrency, which would — according to earlier reports — prospectively be used by the 2.7 billion monthly users of WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.