Banking News

Nomura invests in LINE’s blockchain unit to explore financial services

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Japanese messaging app LINE announced on Friday that Normura completed an investment in its blockchain LVC Corp. The three organizations will be working together to leverage distributed ledger technology (DLT) for new financial services.

LINE is the most popular chatting app in Japan, with over 81 million monthly active users in the country. Interestingly, less than 50% of the app users are from Japan, with the balance in Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Nomura’s investment on Friday follows an alliance between the firm, LINE, and LVC formed in January.

Now, LINE is trying to widen its business portfolio with new blockchain services. It has already incorporated several features such as cab booking, payments, music, food delivery and indoor maps. Plus it has multiple ongoing DLT projects.

In June, LINE partnered with Visa to use blockchain for B2B and cross border payments. More recently, it invested in loyalty token company Loyyal. The messaging firm launched a cryptocurrency exchange, BITMAX, in Japan last month, which aims to make trading more accessible through the LINE app. This is separate to BITBOX, its earlier exchanged aimed at the international market.

However, Nomura and LINE did not clarify about the projects they will be working on. The announcement said the objective is to utilize LINE’s large user base along with Nomura’s financial expertise to “collaborate in blockchain-based business opportunities”. Considering both of the firm’s previous projects, it is likely that they will develop securitization services.

LINE launched its investment service, LINE Securities, in August and Nomura has a joint venture with NRI for tokenization. Nomura recently participated in a $14 million funding round of Securitize along with Santander and Mitsubishi. Last week, the firm launched the Japan Security Token Offering Association along with SBI, Rakuten and others. The goal is to develop self-regulation around security token offerings in the country.

LINE already has a blockchain network, LINK Chain, and its LINK cryptocurrency, which mainly serves as a rewards system. These LINK tokens are available exclusively through BITBOX and can be used to pay for services available on the LINE app. The strategy, dubbed as LINE Token Economy, is to use the tokens for all transactions over its network.