Messaging Giant Line to Launch South Korean Blockchain Subsidiary

Japan-based social messaging platform Line is launching a blockchain subsidiary mere months after it announced its Line Pay service would offer cryptocurrencies, the company announced Monday.

Called Unblock, the subsidiary company will be based in South Korea and will research blockchain technology and its potential applications. This is part of an effort to integrate those applications into its messaging platform to "add new value through technological innovation by combining blockchain technology with various services in LINE," according to an announcement on its website.

Further, digital news organization ZDNet reported that the platform will look to connect cryptocurrency markets between South Korea, Japan and a broader Southeast Asian market.

Line Plus, Line's mobile platform subsidiary, will eventually launch a "token economy," according to the announcement.

The news comes just over two months after Line first announced its Financial Corporation to act as a cryptocurrency trading, insurance and loan platform, as previously reported. Line Financial Corp., which is based in Japan, has also been tasked with researching blockchain technologies.

Line's crypto services will occur through the Line Pay mobile app.

Line isn't the only messaging company making moves to better understand blockchain and cryptocurrency and how those technologies might be integrated into their services. Korean messaging platform Kakao launched a similar subsidiary endeavour in early March to develop new applications for the tech, plus it's also debating whether to offer its own crypto token.

Most notably perhaps, however, is Telegram's record-setting $1.7 billion ICO. The Russia-based messaging platform aims to launch an entire blockchain ecosystem called Telegram Open Network (TON), though details remain sparse on the project.