Korean Messaging Giant Kakao to Launch Blockchain Subsidiary

South Korean internet giant Kakao, which owns the popular messaging app Kakao Talk, is reportedly moving to integrate blockchain technology in its business.

Local news source The Bell reported Monday that Kakao is considering the launch of a wholly-owned subsidiary that will focus on developing blockchain applications.

Furthermore, the firm may be planning an initial coin offering (ICO). If so, the move echoes that of Telegram, another instant messenger company that claims to have netted $850 million so far through its multi-stage ICO.

According to another report by TechCrunch today, Kakao has confirmed that it aims to set up a blockchain unit, although no further details were revealed.

However, the company did not comment on the possibility of holding an ICO. Notably, the South Korea government explicitly banned the blockchain-based fund-raising activity in September last year.

The news follows Kakao's previous involvement in the launch of Upbit, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange.

As reported by CoinDesk in September 2017, the company integrated its messaging service with the trading platform, allowing Upbit users to chat and place orders via the platform.

Earlier this year, Japanese messaging giant LINE also announced a plan to launch a new company providing cryptocurrency transactions, as well as exchange and loan services.