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December 12, 2018

Naver, Kakao and KT vie to launch cryptocurrencies

PUBLISHED : September 27, 2018 - 15:51

UPDATED : September 27, 2018 - 16:29

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[THE INVESTOR] Local tech giants Naver, Kakao and KT are competing to dominate the budding cryptocurrency market by launching their own coins. 

Earlier this month, Naver’s Japanese subsidiary Line introduced its own token called Link to buy and sell game-related content. Link will be operated on its own blockchain network called Link Chain. 

Line said it’s not planning an initial coin offering, but will instead provide them as a reward for Line network users. The tokens can be traded on Bitbox, Line’s new cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore. 

“Over the last seven years, Line was able to grow into a global service because of our users, and now with Link, we wanted to build a user-friendly reward system that gives back to our users,” said Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa. 

A total of 1 billion tokens will be issued initially, with 800 million allocated for user rewards, while the remaining 200 million will be held by Line Tech Plus, Line’s Singapore-based subsidiary that manages its blockchain business. 




Meanwhile, Korea’s mobile messenger giant Kakao is also planning to launch its own cryptocurrency through its blockchain subsidiary Ground X. 

Ground X plans to launch its own blockchain platform called Klaytn in the first quarter of next year, along with its token Klay. Before the official launch, the firm is rolling out the testnet in October for developers and firms to join the network. 

The tokens will be used as a reward system for millions of Kakao users, which could speed up mass-adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

“Our goal is to unveil a blockchain service that could be used in real life, and not solely for speculation,” said Ground X CEO Han Jae-sun. He also added the firm doesn’t have plans for distributing the coins via an ICO, but is mulling other ways. 

Korea’s leading mobile carrier KT is also eying the cryptocurrency segment. 

Earlier this month, the telco partnered with Gimpo City, Gyeonggi Province, to launch its regional cryptocurrency for residents to use at stores and restaurants in the area. It plans to launch the platform by this year and issue coins worth 10 billion won (US$8.99 million) from early next year. 

KT is in talks with other cities in Korea to launch regional coins.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)

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