Japan’s Line is shutting down its U.S. exchange Bitfront in the new year in an effort to focus on its other blockchain ventures.
The messaging company said in a notice to customers that new signups have been suspended as of today, and services will be slowly turned off over the next four months.
Line, which also runs the LINE blockchain system and the Link (LN) token, said the decision had been taken in the best interest of its other projects.
“Despite our efforts to overcome the challenges in this rapidly-evolving industry, we have regretfully determined that we need to shut down BITFRONT in order to continue growing the LINE blockchain ecosystem and LINK token economy,” read today’s notice.
Line also clarified that the decision was not connected to the FTX debacle, which has shaken the confidence some users have in centralized exchanges.
At present, the plan outlined by Line is for Bitfront’s services to wind down through December and for withdrawals to eventually be suspended on March 31, 2023.
After this, U.S. customers will still be able to claim their assets in each state, while global customers will be able to claim theirs through the state of Delaware.
Line and blockchain
Tokyo-based Line is best known for running the popular communications app of the same name.
The app also offers users other services such as news, entertainment, and payments.
In 2019, the app launched a crypto trading platform named Bitmax. The move allowed existing users to access crypto directly from their Line wallet.
The following year, Bitfront was set up as a global digital currency exchange based in the U.S. That same year, Line launched its own digital currency, called Link.
In 2021, Line’s parent company merged with Yahoo Japan, which had taken its own steps into the crypto space through a partnership with .
Later that same year, Line’s owner set up two companies called LINE NEXT–one in the US and one in South Korea–which were dedicated to developing and expanding the global NFT ecosystem.