Japanese messaging app company Line Corp. has revealed plans to launch a new cryptocurrency exchange called Bitbox, according to reports from Fortune and other media outlets. The plans were announced during a company strategy briefing on Thursday. The company said that its exchange will serve digital currency customers around the world – except in Japan and the United States:
“Cryptocurrency exchange BITBOX is launching as part of LINE’s financial services business, providing services globally except in Japan and the U.S. 30 or more cryptocurrencies can be exchanged in BITBOX, and it will support 15 languages excluding Japanese. BITBOX only allows the exchange of cryptocurrencies, and does not accept exchange between fiat money and cryptocurrencies.”
Information provided on the company website confirmed that the exchange will support popular digital currencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Bitbox is tentatively scheduled to launch some time in July 2018.
Line’s decision to avoid the Japanese and U.S. markets is notable – and not just because they are two of the largest digital currency markets in the world. Line is based in Japan, after all. However, increased regulatory scrutiny in both countries appears to have played a role in the company’s decision to focus its attention elsewhere.
According to Fortune, the company’s planned entry into the crypto exchange industry “comes at a time when its own user base has been shrinking. While the company’s user base in Japan has grown from 68 million to 75 million in the past year, that same metric has fallen from 103 million to 90 million in its three other key markets: Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.”