LINE, Japan’s answer to WhatsApp, announced five distributed apps (dApps) that it’s planning for its blockchain network LINK Chain. The company launched its own blockchain and cryptocurrency LINK which will mainly serve as a rewards system. Since the tokens will be earned through rewards, there are no plans for an ICO. However, 20% of the tokens will be retained as a reserve.
The company runs the BITBOX cryptocurrency exchange and plans to distribute 10% of LINE tokens to BITBOX customers.
LINE wants to incentivize developers to produce third-party services. Hence it’s planning to release a development kit in the future.
Users that earn rewards will be able to convert them into currency and use them with the LINE Pay wallet.
However, the primary intention is for users to buy stuff with the LINE tokens on their platform. So to pay for music and media, to purchase products, for in-game trading, in-app transfers, or to use them for fees on the BITBOX exchange.
Two applications are already at the beta testing stage. Wizball is a Q&A platform, perhaps similar to Quora. As with all the dApps, community members will be rewarded for participation with LINK tokens (or in Japan LINK Point). And 4Cast is a prediction platform.
Three other dApps are planned for later this year. Pasha is a product review platform. TAPAS is for restaurant reviews, and STEP is a social media story sharing dApp.
LINE is known as a mobile messaging company similar to WhatsApp. However, it has a wide range of mobile content products including payment app LINE Pay which is accepted at 94,000 locations. It has annual revenues of more than $1.5 billion, the majority of which comes from advertising, followed by games revenues, the sector where the company originated. South Korean search engine Naver controls LINE. Less than 50% of LINE’s users are from Japan, with the balance in Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Facebook is in the process of setting up a blockchain team. It remains to be seen if they adopt a similar approach.