Banking News

SoftBank’s LINE launches CBDC blockchain solution

central bank digital currency cbdc

Today South Korean LINE Plus launched a blockchain platform for central bank digital currency (CBDC) which it plans to promote to Asian countries. Line Plus is a subsidiary of LINE Corporation, half-owned by SoftBank.

The website is currently in Korean, which leads to the conclusion that Korea is a target. It has been reported that the Bank of Korea had CBDC discussions with the Klaytn public permissioned blockchain and Hyundai HDAC about digital currency custody. In conjunction with LG CNS, South Korea’s Shinhan Bank completed a CBDC demo and recently joint the governance of the Klaytn blockchain.

One of the challenges in developing a CBDC blockchain solution is that each country has different motivations and uses for a digital currency. For instance, in Sweden the Riksbank is acting on the growing disappearance of physical cash, whilst China is concerned about private companies dominating mobile payments and the lack of interoperability that stifles competition. Different motivations might result in particular design requirements.

The Line Financial Blockchain for CBDC is highly customizable and will be tailored case-by-case to each central bank to meet their CBDC requirements. 

Like most blockchains, it has a layered structure and allows pluggable features to be added as needed. It also supports Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML). The blockchain platform is open source and is a variation on Cosmos and Tendermint, with the former designed for interoperability.

Meanwhile, LINE recently partnered with NuriFlex Inc to trial a CBDC roll out in Africa and South America.

LINE Plus was established in March 2013 as a subsidiary of LINE Corporation. Line Corp runs Japan’s biggest social network as well as Line Pay. Korea’s Naver formerly owned it and as of March 1, Naver and SoftBank each own half and Line was combined with SoftBank’s Yahoo Japan holding company ZHD.