International Chat App ‘Line’ Launches Bitbox Cryptocurrency Exchange

Bitbox, a new exchange and wallet, launched today with the intent to build on the wide appeal of its parent platform. That platform is Line, a popular international messaging app which has a history of integrating other commercial services. Line has previously introduced its own money transfer service, Line Pay, as well as features for shopping, food delivery and taxis.

The official announcement had this to say about Bitbox’s launch:

“LINE has built its reputation on providing a great social experience for our users, and now we intend to bring that know-how to the world of digital tokens with our BITBOX exchange…With BITBOX, we intend to have an exchange that is easier to use, while also ensuring we provide extremely strong levels of security.”

The new Bitbox exchange supports Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin, plus 27 other altcoins. It also features a near-0% transfer fee, 15 different languages, and is airdropping credits to early adopters.

But despite Bitbox’s attempts to be user friendly, the exchange won’t be available in Line’s largest market, Japan, due to strict regulations. Line does however have a sizeable market share in Thailand, Indonesia, and Spain, with plans to expand further into Chile and East Asia. Since Bitbox is exclusively meant for crypto-to-crypto trades—as opposed to trades involving fiat currency—restrictions may be lighter than they would otherwise be.

The exchange will use BitGo’s multi-signature and three-key authentication for security. BitGo is best known for partnering with Bitfinex after the exchange suffered a major hack. BitGo’s other partnerships include Bitstamp, Genesis Global Trading, and (formerly) Kraken, making it something of a security standard.

Line is not the first social networking company to move into crypto. The chat app Kik recently released its own Kin token, which can be redeemed in its marketplace. The Q&A platform Askfm likewise introduced its own reward token. And some social networks, such as Steemit and Mithril, were created with tokenization in mind. In fact, Line itself has also made past endeavours in the crypto realm: it previously partnered with ICON to create Unchain, a platform for dApps.

However, Line is doing something ambitious for a social network—offering an entire exchange as a side-feature is typically an undertaking that only established financial services would attempt. But Line has made enough inroads into commerce and has a large enough user base that its new service, Bitbox, may be able to compete with other exchanges.

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