Line, the Japanese messaging app operator, on Friday, announced the launch of a digital coin “LINK” in September, as reported by Reuters, Tokyo. The new cryptocurrency by Line is a bid to attract and retain more active users and will aid the company to build a range of businesses using its popular messaging app as a platform.
Instead of an initial coin offering (ICO), the company will be offering LINK for free to users when they complete certain activities. According to Line, the tokens can be used to buy stickers, webtoons, and other services on the app. The token will also be listed on Line’s own cryptocurrency exchange, Bitbox, and could be traded with other cryptocurrencies.
The Line Corp will release 800 million tokens to users as part of the rewards system, to incentivize users to participate more on their messaging app. Though a reserve of 200 million will be maintained by the platform. For regulatory reasons, the coin will not be available for users in Japan and the United States.
Notably, Line awaits approval from authorities for both its cryptocurrency exchange and its own digital currency. While Line is available elsewhere in the world (except the US), Japnese users can earn virtual points in the app that will be redeemed or traded in for cryptocurrency later.
The Line has been losing active users in four of it’s largest markets, during the past year as rivals WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger takes precedence. The Cryptocurrency addition is an attempt to turn back the tide. While the idea has merit its timing seems to be at a loss, Cryptocurrencies are already facing a bear market and the price drops have dampened the enthusiasm marginally.