News Technology Media Telecoms

Softbank offshoot LINE NEXT raises $140m for web3, NFTs

line next investment

Last week Korea’s LINE NEXT confirmed a $140 million funding round led by Peter Thiel-backed private equity firm Crescendo Equity Partners. In 2022 social media app LINE launched LINE NEXT as its web3 offshoot with two arms, one in Korea and the other in the United States. Additionally, it unveiled DOSI a web3 wallet and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace reminiscent of OpenSea.

LINE has since been renamed to LINE Yahoo or LY and at its founding was half owned by Softbank and Korean social media firm Naver. The LINE NEXT web3 subsidiary had other external investors from the start, including WEBTOON and major Korean firms. 

So far DOSI has 5.5 million users globally and 470,000 cumulative transactions. It considers the past as the beta phase and plans to launch DOSI globally in January 2024. 

Stepping back, one has to consider the rich anime culture in Japan and to a lesser extent Korea as well. Avatars and gaming will be an important focus area based on past LINE NEXT investors, and current validators on LINE’s blockchain (now renamed to Finschia).

For example, the images below are from the largest Finschia blockchain validator, Korea’s GoodGang Labs.

DOSI plans a social app to integrate AI-generated characters and web3 games.

Japan has had a huge impact on the video game sector. Think Sony Playstation, Nintendo, SEGA and Bandai Namco. However, those are all hardware console developers.

Looking at DOSI, many brands are Asian. But then most of LINE’s audience is too. LINE’s monthly active users in Japan are 96 million expanding to 179 million counting users in Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia.

One of the brands on DOSI is based on Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) – Wake Up Bored – themed on coffee drinking, based on BAYC character #1208.

“LINE’s global competitiveness and its vision to lead Web3 services were the investment thesis,” said Kevin Lee, the managing partner of Crescendo. He added, “We hope to build a standard for Web3 apps that general users can easily use and adopt blockchain to all sorts of services and brands of Web2.” 

Image Copyright: LINE NEXT