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Line, the Japanese social network with more than 700 million users has announced it will start trading its own digital currency in Japan from April 2020.
Link, the name of the company's currency, has been available since 2018, but due to Japanese regulation, hasn't been available in its native Japanese market, or to American users.
Since then, the company launched its own exchange, called BITBOX, allowing users outside of these two territories to buy and trade cryptocurrency. However, it failed to break into the top 100 exchanges, languishing at 120 on CoinMarketCap. The vast majority of the exchange’s $7.6 million daily trading volume was made up of trading between Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Last year it launched another exchange, called Bitmax, this time it baked the exchange into the company's popular app.
In 2020, it appears it has now met the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association’s standards to allow it to start trading in the country.
Details are scarce at the moment. According to the release, another statement is due closer to launch. But the news is promising.
Social media company's in the digital currency race
Line's forays into creating a digital token mark a broader trend: social networks looking to offer their own currencies.
Both Telegram and Facebook are actively trying to launch their own currencies. Both have struggled. While the Russian social media network managed to raise more than a billion dollars for its currency, it has been plagued by regulatory issues. The latest news is that it plans to launch a stand-alone app, which puts it years behind Line's progress.
Facebook hasn't faired much better. Its system of collaborators has slowly left the project. The most recent of which is telecoms giant Vodafone.
Line appears to be winning the race. But will it be the first social network to cross the line of building a digital currency and plugging it into a user base of millions? We shall have to wait and see.