Lamassu Launches New Line of Cryptocurrency ATMs

Lamassu Launches New Line of Cryptocurrency ATMs

Lamassu, a Portuguese Bitcoin ATM manufacturer, has unveiled three new machines comprising its “next generation” of cryptocurrency ATMs.

Also Read: Japan Roundup: Bitflyer Restructures, Zaif Suspends New Member Registrations

Lamassu Launches New Cryptocurrency ATMs

Lamassu Launches New Line of Cryptocurrency ATMsLamassu has launched its new ‘Sintra’ range of cryptocurrency ATMs – the Sintra, Sintra Forte, and Douro II.

All of the machines offer support for BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH, DASH, and ZEC, and allow ATM operators the ability to choose which cryptocurrencies to enable through the machines’ back-end. Additionally, operators are able to adjust fees, commissions, and compliance obligations through the back-end.

Lamassu Operators Required to Host Own Wallets and Servers

The Sintra and Sintra Forte are both two-way machines, whilst the Douro II only facilitates the purchasing of cryptocurrency. The Sintra Forte comes with an internal vault, as is approximately 20% larger than the Sintra. Operators of Lamassu crypto ATMs are required to host their own servers and wallets, as there is no central Lamassu server. Lamassu’s software is open source.

Lamassu Launches New Line of Cryptocurrency ATMsLamassu first demonstrated their cryptocurrency ATMs at a conference in San Jose during 2013 – with the company then comprising two brothers who owned a guitar store together, Zach & Josh Harvey. Soon thereafter the company began production in a small facility, before expanding to deploy approximately 400 machines worldwide and process between 20 and 30 transactions daily by mid-2017. As of this writing, Coinatmradar estimates that Lamassu cryptocurrency ATMs represent 11.17% of the number of machines installed worldwide, with 427 active units.

The company has consistently sought to maintain separation from the operators and users of its ATMs, with the Harvey brothers previously stating: “it was so important to us to separate from the operators as much as possible. Basically, there is no info about the machines on the field that is available to us apart from the info operators are willing to tell us […] we choose to have a decentralized system. We do not run any servers that are in charge of sending the money or seeing any of the user data. So we cannot have any of the money because we do not have access to it.”

Do you think growth the cryptocurrency ATM industry is a effective indicator of growing crypto adoption? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Blockchain for 35 Million Users: Korea’s Biggest Insurance Firm SK Partners With ICON

ICON, South Korea’s most valuable blockchain project, has partnered with the country’s biggest telecommunications conglomerate SK, to possibly utilize blockchain technology and crypto in compensating users of its mileage system. SK Planet, a subsidiary of SK that signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ICON, operates the most widely utilized mileage system in the country

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Major Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next Month

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next Month

Major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit will reportedly begin operations in Singapore next month. The new exchange will offer Singapore dollar trading as well as crypto-to-crypto pairs in three markets offered by Bittrex, Upbit’s US-based partner.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Upbit Expands to Singapore

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next MonthDunamu Inc., the operator of the Kakao-backed exchange Upbit, said on Wednesday that it is launching a cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore next month, Yonhap reported.

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next MonthUpbit is currently South Korea’s second largest crypto exchange. At the time of writing, its 24-hour trading volume is approximately $229 million, second only to Bithumb which has a 24-hour trading volume of $392 million. At present, Upbit has 271 cryptocurrencies listed.

Dunamu established a Singaporean branch office in February and has been preparing for an exchange launch ever since, the news outlet conveyed. Kim Kook-hyun, head of Upbit’s Singaporean branch, was quoted saying:

As Singapore has proactively supported blockchain technology, our advancement into the nation will help us secure many chances to lead a variety of relevant projects and to have global competitiveness.

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next MonthWithout revealing the exact launch date, the company confirmed that it will be in “early October.”

Singapore was picked as the firm’s first overseas expansion because of “the city-state’s strong support for blockchain and related technologies,” the Investor stated, adding that the firm plans to expand to more countries in the future.

At the Upbit Developer Conference held on Jeju Island, Dunamu CEO Lee Sir-goo confirmed that Upbit will not be issuing its own cryptocurrency. Referring to the exchange’s expansion to Singapore, he told reporters:

We don’t want to lose out on the opportunities now…If we wait until the Korean crypto exchange environment improves, we could lag behind our global competitors.

Plans for Upbit Singapore

The new exchange will be headed by Alex Kim who previously served as the head of Kakao Indonesia, the Investor described, elaborating:

The Upbit Singapore [exchange] will be serviced in English and offer Singapore dollar trading. It will also support crypto-to-crypto pairs, including Upbit’s US partner Bittrex’s bitcoin, ethereum and tether markets.

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next MonthLee detailed, “In the future we would like to add other fiat currencies and expand to other countries in Southeast Asia,” emphasizing that Upbit will continue to strengthen its partnership with Bittrex as it expands globally.

For the launch promotion, trading fees in the Singapore dollar market will be waived for one month for “users who complete their subscription and self-certification,” the publication noted.

Recently, several companies have expanded to Singapore. Line, the Japanese subsidiary of Korean internet giant Naver, has launched a crypto exchange called Bitbox in Singapore. In addition, Binance is beta testing a fiat exchange in the country, CEO Changpeng Zhao revealed last week.

What do you think of Upbit expanding to Singapore? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Japanese Social Media Giant LINE Launches Cryptocurrency, DPoS Blockchain

Japanese social media company LINE is doubling down on its bet that cryptocurrency has a bright future. The publicly-traded LINE announced on Friday that it has launched its own cryptocurrency, named “LINK,” complete with an independent blockchain designed to serve as a platform for decentralized applications (dApps). A LINE representative told CCN that the blockchain

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160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Japan’s top financial regulator has revealed exclusively to news.Bitcoin.com the number of crypto exchanges seeking to enter the Japanese market. The agency also confirms the number of existing exchanges that have exited the industry, leaving only three applications currently being reviewed.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Three Quasi-Operators Are Left

Cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan are licensed by the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator RevealsThe FSA has licensed 16 crypto exchanges so far. In addition, it has allowed 16 more companies, including Coincheck, to operate crypto exchanges while their applications are being reviewed. These companies are sometimes referred to as “quasi-operators” of crypto exchanges.

However, since the hack of Coincheck in January, the FSA has stepped up its oversight of crypto exchanges. It has issued many business improvement orders and temporary shut down some exchanges. With stricter rules to comply, a number of quasi-operators began to withdraw their applications and exit the industry.

An FSA representative told news.Bitcoin.com that, out of the original 16 quasi-operators:

There are three quasi-virtual currency broker dealers still being reviewed: Coincheck, Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc. [Minnano Bitcoin], and Lastroots.

Coincheck was acquired by Monex Group after the hack. While the FSA declined to comment on Coincheck’s specific application, Monex is hopeful that the exchange will be approved in September. Once approved, Coincheck will resume normal operations, including registering new members, Monex previously said.

FSA Never Stopped Reviewing Applications

160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator RevealsSince the hack of Coincheck, the FSA began rigorously inspecting all crypto exchanges, 23 of which received an on-site inspection. The agency recently released a report detailing its findings.

No new companies have been approved this year, drawing speculation that the agency may have halted reviewing exchange operators.

However, the FSA confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com:

There is no such fact that we stopped reviewing process.

160 Interested Companies

160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator RevealsThe FSA revealed in July that about 100 companies were interested in applying for a license to operate a crypto exchange. Among them are Line Corp and Yahoo! Japan. Line recently launched an exchange, Bitbox, that serves customers globally except those in Japan and the U.S. The company is waiting for the FSA’s approval before beginning operations in Japan.

On Wednesday, the agency disclosed to news.Bitcoin.com the updated number of interested operators, stating:

Including preliminary consultation/inquiries regarding registration, around 160 operators are expressing their intention of market entry.

What do you think of 160 exchange operators wanting to enter the crypto space in Japan while most of the quasi-operators have exited the market? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Chat app Line hopes its own crypto token can solve its user growth problem

Line, the Japanese messaging app firm that’s best known for its cutesy characters and stickers, is pushing deeper into crypto after it launched its own token to help grow its stagnant user base.

Line went public two years ago with 218 million monthly active users, but it hasn’t been able to kick on. The company no longer gives out its worldwide user number, but the number of active users in its four biggest markets has fallen from 169 million in Q2 2017 to 164 million in its recent Q2 2018 period.

Link — Line’s token — isn’t being minted through an ICO, instead, it’ll be given out to Line users as an incentive for using certain services. Line hasn’t said exactly how it can be earned yet, although it is likely that it’ll be tied to specific activities to promote engagement.

Line plans to use Link to incentive user activity on its messaging app and other services

The token will be listed on Bitbox — Line’s crypto exchange — and it’ll be used it to buy content like stickers and webcomics, as well as other Line services. It’ll also be possible to use Link to get a lower commission rate on trading in the same way that Binance, the world’s largest exchange, uses its BNB token.

Line currently has a virtual currency for its in-app content and services, and you’d imagine that Link will replace it in the future.

It’s worth noting, however, that Link hasn’t launched in Japan yet. That’s because Line is awaiting regulatory approval for its token and exchange, so, for now, those in Japan — which is Line’s largest market — will earn virtual tokens which can be traded for Link in the future.

Line is struggling to grow its user numbers

Link will launch next month, and it follows the announcement of BitBox in July and the launch of a dedicated crypto fund in early August.

Line has dodged the legal questions around token sales by not holding an ICO, and the fact it is using the currency to incentivize user engagement and activity isn’t a huge surprise. Line went public in a dual U.S-Japan IPO that raised over $1 billion in 2016 but, despite user numbers declining, it has grown its revenue through additional services.

Increased competition from the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp is likely its biggest threat, so incentivizing users is a logical strategy. Of course, that depends on how useful Link becomes. If users can exchange it for a decent amount of cash or credits inside Line’s platform it may gain appeal, but if they just pick up trivial amounts, it may be less interesting to them. The bigger picture will be when Link replaces Line’s virtual currency for all purchases but that alone isn’t likely to boost user engagement.

Despite declining user numbers, Line has grown revenue by pushing out services that connect to its messaging platform.

Line also plans to use Link — and the blockchain it has developed to power it — to host decentralized applications (dapps) that will connect to its messaging platform. The company already does a lot more than messaging — for example payments, ride-hailing, music and videos — and it plans to tap third-party developers to build dapps. Generally, though, dapps haven’t taken off. The collectibles game Cryptokitties did blow up late last year, but studies have suggested user activity is massively down this year as the fad has slowly worn off.

Crypto enthusiasts will no doubt take positives from Line’s latest move — it is arguably the largest company to embrace crypto, in terms of end-user audience reach — but it remains to be seen whether Link and its dapps platform can help it crack its user growth and retention issues.

“Over the last seven years, Line was able to grow into a global service because of our users, and now with Link, we wanted to build a user-friendly reward system that gives back to our users. With Link, we would like to continue developing as a user participation-based platform, one that rewards and shares added value through the introduction of easy-to-use dapps for people’s daily lives,” said Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa in a statement.

Unlike Bitcoin, which is mined, Line has minted a total of one billion Link tokens which it said will be “gradually issued according to how this ecosystem develops.” The company plans to keep 200 million tokens, with the remaining 800 million made available as user rewards.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

Markets Update: BTC Tests Major Descending Trendline

Markets Update: BTC Tests Major Descending Trendline

The BTC markets are testing a key resistance area, with price action appearing to be making a third point of contact with a major descending trendline dating back to December 2017.

Also Read: Japan Roundup: No Excessive Crypto Regulation, Quoine Launches New Platform 

BTC On Cusp of Testing Major Trendline

The BTC markets appear on the cusp of a significant move, with price action testing a major descending trendline for the third time at the roughly $6,750 area. The trendline dates back to the all-time highs of nearly $20,000 USD, and makes an additional point of contact with late July’s local highs of roughly $8,500.

Markets Update: BTC Tests Major Descending Trendline
BTC/USD – Bitfinex – 1D

Should the markets break above the trendline, the next notable resistance areas are at approximately $7,500 and $8,500. Should the markets fail to produce further bullish momentum, it is likely that the price of BTC will retrace to test a fourth point of contact with the long-term ascending trendline dating back to March 2017 that completes the large symmetrical triangle in which BTC’s price action appears to be consolidating. Should the symmetrical triangle fail to hold, many analysts predict the possibility of a major wash-out down to the $4,500 area.

Short Squeeze Still Possible

Looking at the number of BTC short positions on Bitfinex, one can identify a 9.8% retrace in selling pressure from last week’s test of the all-time high area of nearly 40,000. Whilst it is still possible that the markets will produce a short squeeze, selling pressure has held with far greater resilience than when it first tested the 40,000 area in April – which saw a 40% reduction in selling pressure within the same daily candle that also posted historic open short positions.

Markets Update: BTC Tests Major Descending Trendline
BTC/USD Shorts – Bitfinex – 1D

Looking at the stochastic RSI, the markets appear over-bought on the 1-day charts – with the stochastic RSI throttled above the 80 threshold, however, appear to be showing signs of strength after having being over-sold on the 3-day charts – with the stochastic RSI breaking above the 20 threshold for the first time since the end of June.

BCH Price Action Tightens

The BCH/USD markets have consolidated within an extremely tight range this past week. After setting a new low for 2018 of roughly $475 on the 14th of August, and rallying by more than 15% on the 17th of August, the markets have since retraced and tightened in range – with prices currently hovering at approximately $525.

Markets Update: BTC Tests Major Descending Trendline
BCH/USD – Bitfinex – 1D

Looking at the BCH/BTC charts, BCH appears to be breaking into a new low for 2018 – with the markets currently trading for 0.07816.

Markets Update: BTC Tests Major Descending Trendline
BTC/BTC – Bitfinex – 1D

Do you think that the BTC markets will break above the trendline in the short term? Share your outlook on the markets in the comments section below!


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Messaging Giant Line Launches Token Venture Fund

token venture fund

LINE, the Japanese messaging giant, has today announced the launch of its token venture fund.

The Token venture fund will have a capital commitment of $10 million USD via LINE’s subsidiary, Unblock Ventures. Unblock Ventures was recently established in Hong Kong in only July of this year.

Token Venture Fund

The publicly traded LINE made the announcement earlier today and said its goal is to invest in blockchain startups with the ambition of boosting technological development.

Unblock Ventures, will manage the fund but the actual capital of $10 million will be provided ...

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LINE Launches $10 Million Token Venture Fund, Lists TRON on Crypto Exchange

Japan’s largest messaging app LINE has established a new corporate token venture fund with $10 million in capital for startups in the blockchain and crypto industry. With over 600 million registered users and 200 million monthly active users worldwide on its messaging app, Japan’s LINE announced its entry into the cryptocurrency space after filing to

The post LINE Launches $10 Million Token Venture Fund, Lists TRON on Crypto Exchange appeared first on CCN

Messaging Giant LINE’s Cryptocurrency Exchange Begins Global Operations

Japanese mobile giant LINE has officially launched operations of its Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange BITBOX with support for 30 cryptocurrencies including bitcoin. With an announcement on Tuesday, LINE confirmed the exchange will only support crypto-exclusive trading pairs with no trading offered between fiat currency and cryptocurrencies. Around 30 coins are being traded presently at launch including … Continued

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Canadian Crypto Exchange Coinsquare to Launch in Japan

Canadian Crypto Exchange Coinsquare to Launch in Japan

Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Coinsquare has announced its plan to enter the Japanese market pending approval by the country’s financial regulator. The new exchange will be launched under the Dlta21x brand. It will focus on Japan initially but has plans to expand into other Asian markets.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Coinsquare Launching in Japan

Canadian Crypto Exchange Coinsquare to Launch in JapanCoinsquare made two announcements on Tuesday. One is the official launch of Coinsquare Licensing to “enable domestic and international businesses to offer a digital currency trading solution powered by Coinsquare’s technology.” The company also revealed that it has already partnered with some businesses in the EU and Canada to launch white-labeled platforms.

The other announcement is its plan to enter the Japanese market using Coinsquare Licensing. The launch will be in collaboration with Dlta 21 Blockchain Corp (Dlta21), formerly Protos Blockchain Corp. According to the companies:

The new trading platform is to be launched under the Dlta21x brand name after receiving all required regulatory approvals in Japan.

Canadian Crypto Exchange Coinsquare to Launch in JapanFounded in 2014, Coinsquare offers the trading of BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, DOGE, and DASH. The exchange claims to be “Canada’s most secure digital currency trading platform,” with a “95% cold storage policy on all digital currency.” The company also owns Coinsquare Mining with operations in Québec.

Dlta21 is a venture capital firm focused on blockchain startups. The company invests in “early-stage distributed ledger technology startups” and manages “a cryptocurrency trading operation backed by advanced quantitative algorithms,” its website describes.

International Expansion

Canadian Crypto Exchange Coinsquare to Launch in JapanThe two companies say, “while customers in Japan will be the initial focus of the Dlta21x cryptocurrency exchange, based on applicable laws, regulations and restrictions, going forward Dlta21x plans to expand to other Asian markets as well.”

Earlier this year, Coinsquare unveiled its plan for an initial public offering in September “to help finance an overseas expansion.” For its expansion into the U.S. and the U.K., CEO Cole Diamond was quoted by the Financial Post saying:

We believe that we will be a strong competitor to Coinbase and other exchanges in the U.S. by the end of the year.

The Japanese Crypto Market

Canadian Crypto Exchange Coinsquare to Launch in JapanCurrently, Japan has 16 government-approved cryptocurrency exchanges and a number of “deemed dealers” that have been allowed to operate crypto platforms while their applications are being reviewed by the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

However, since the hack of Coincheck in January, the FSA has drastically tightened its oversight of the industry. It has already sanctioned a number of deemed dealers and recently ordered six licensed exchanges to improve their businesses, including the country’s largest crypto exchange by volume, Bitflyer.

Despite the increased oversight and stricter exchange approval process, the FSA confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com:

More than 100 [crypto] operators have expressed their intention of enter the market.

Among major companies seeking to enter the Japanese market is Line Corp, the operator of the country’s most popular chat app, Line. The company recently announced that it is launching a crypto exchange, Bitbox. However, since its application with the FSA is still pending, Line will not offer services in Japan initially.

What do you think of Coinsquare expanding into Japan and other Asian markets? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Dlta21, and Coinsquare.


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Japan’s Line Launching Exchange With 30+ Cryptocurrencies in All but Two Countries

Japan's Line Launching Exchange With 30+ Cryptocurrencies in All but Two Countries

The operator of Line, Japan’s most popular chat app with approximately 200 million users worldwide, has confirmed the upcoming launch of its cryptocurrency exchange called Bitbox. The new platform will list more than 30 of the most popular cryptocurrencies, offering “low trading fees”. Supporting 15 languages, the new exchange will launch globally, except for two countries.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Line Corp Launching Crypto Exchange Next Month

Japan's Line Launching Exchange With 30+ Cryptocurrencies in All but Two CountriesLine Corp, the operator of Japan’s most popular chat app, announced Thursday at the Line Conference 2018 that “it plans to establish the cryptocurrency exchange Bitbox in July 2018.” According to the company’s official announcement:

Bitbox will offer more than 30 highly demanded cryptocurrencies for global users (except in Japan and the United States), with support in 15 languages.

Line Corp elaborated that the 15 languages include English, Korean, and Chinese. Furthermore, the company emphasized that the new platform will be a “Cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency exchange (no fiat currency trading available).”

Japan's Line Launching Exchange With 30+ Cryptocurrencies in All but Two Countries

According to the company, in the first quarter of this year, its chat app had 165 million monthly active users (MAU) across four key countries: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. In Japan, there were 75 million users in that time period, which was 2 million more than the previous quarter. While Line has continually gained more users in Japan, it has lost users in the other three markets combined. Nonetheless, its overall DAU (daily active users) to MAU ratio has been steadily growing.

About Bitbox

Japan's Line Launching Exchange With 30+ Cryptocurrencies in All but Two CountriesThe CEO of Line Corp, Idezawa Takeshi, commented that “with Bitbox, Line users will be able to access cryptocurrencies more easily, while also being assured of state-of-art security measures to protect their assets.”

Line Corp explained that the cryptocurrencies to be listed on Bitbox “have gone through an extensive screening process.” They were “selected by an internal committee to offer the most reliable and safest trading for users,” the company noted, adding:

Bitbox will trade highly demanded coins, including bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and litecoin, while offering low trading fees of 0.1%.

Japan's Line Launching Exchange With 30+ Cryptocurrencies in All but Two Countries

In January, the company said it had applied for a registration to operate a crypto exchange with the Japanese financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA). Under the revised fund settlement law, all crypto exchanges in Japan must register with the FSA. However, the process was held up after one of the largest crypto exchanges in the country, Coincheck, was hacked which prompted the FSA to tighten its oversight and registration rules. Recently, the agency issued business improvement orders to six fully-licensed crypto exchanges including the country’s largest, Bitflyer.

What do you think of Line Corp launching a crypto exchange? Do you think millions of the Line Chat app users will be using it? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Line Corp.


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Messaging Giant LINE Announces New Global Crypto Exchange, Excludes U.S., Japan

Japanese messaging app LINE has announced plans to launch its cryptocurrency exchange BITBOX in July with support for 30 coins including bitcoin. In an announcement on Thursday, LINE revealed the new exchange will only allow for crypto-to-crypto trading with no exchange between fiat currency and cryptocurrencies. In an excerpt, LINE said: With the need to … Continued

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Chat app Line to launch crypto exchange in July but it won’t cover US or Japan

Messaging app firm Line has confirmed it will launch a cryptocurrency exchange called BitBox next month.

The company said back in January that it planned to enter the crypto space with an exchange, but today it said that the BitBox service won’t be available for users in the U.S. and Japan — that’s presumably down to regulatory uncertainty.

What it will include, however, is support for trading 30 tokens — Line is only revealing big names like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin so far — and a 0.1 percent trading fee. Line said it has picked the tokens following “an extensive screening process” which saw an internal commitment asses what on the market represents “the most reliable and safest trading [options] for users.”

Bitbox will be available worldwide and in 15 languages. It isn’t yet clear whether it will include an option to buy or sell tokens using fiat — a key ramp to getting new money into crypto — or whether this will just be token-to-token trading.

Line has around 200 million monthly active users and it has expanded into adjacent services such as taxis on-demand, music streaming, mobile payment and more, so this foray could represent a step towards accepting crypto for its other services in the future. But the exclusion of U.S. and Japan-based users is a major caveat.

Japan is Line’s largest market for revenue and users, so by excluding the country, it is severely limiting the potential impact that Bitbox can have.

Nonetheless, the company is need of something fresh to revitalize its business in the wake of increasing competition from Facebook, which operates WhatsApp and Messenger, the world’s most popular messaging apps with over one billion monthly users each.

Prior its $1.1 billion U.S.-Japan IPO in 2016, Line had targeted a global audience via its messaging service — which pioneered the concept of stickers — and a connected games business. Its international expansion didn’t go according to plan, however, and the company refocused efforts on its four core markets of Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia, which account for 168 million of its active users.

In those markets, it offers a range of localized services that include video streamingmanga cartoonsshoppingride-hailing and other on-demand services. Last year, it began to sell smart hardware and AI to offer its own cartoony alternative to Amazon’s Echo range and Google Home devices. In some markets, it also offers a Line-branded mobile phone/data service.

There’s plenty of pressure, however. Facebook’s global popularity makes Messenger an option for most internet users on the planet while the company is busy in other areas. WhatsApp recently moved into business solutions that allow companies to correspond with users via its service, and it is tipped to add payments soon. CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to look into whether Facebook can make use of blockchain technology and earlier this year he set up a dedicated division that is headed by David Marcus, the ex-lead for Messenger and former CEO of PayPal.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.