Japanese messaging giant LINE may soon be able to open a cryptocurrency exchange for users based in the country, according to a report from Bloomberg.
LINE is close to winning a crypto exchange license from the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA), which could issue the approval as early as this month, the news outlet reported on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
With that regulatory clearance, LINE would be able to launch the platform – called BitMax– in a few weeks to offer cryptocurrency trading services to its 80 million users in Japan, the report added.
In July of 2018, LINE launched a cryptocurrency exchange dubbed BitBox based in Singapore, which excludes users from the firm’s home nation due to lack of regulatory clearance.
As of March this year, only 19 cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan had received a license from the FSA as the agency had tightened up its scrutiny following the $530 million Coincheck hack in January 2018. Coincheck obtained a license from the FSA earlier this year.
Bloomberg further said LINE now has another banking license pending in Japan, which is unlikely to be issued until next year. Under such a banking license, LINE would be able to create a cryptocurrency payments tunnel for other services like online shopping.
In March, the FSA granted a license to cryptocurrency exchange Rakuten Wallet, which was rebranded from a bitcoin exchange called Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc that was acquired by Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten in 2018.