- Japan’s Naver has introduced its own token called Link for buying and selling game related content.
- Korea’s Kakao is planning to launch a crypto Klatyn blockchain and Klay token in Q1 2019.
- Korea’s Mobile carrier KT partners with Gimpo City to launch a regional cryptocurrency for residents of Gyeonggi Province.
Three Asian tech giants are no longer satisfied with competing for leadership in mobile messenger Apps. Naver, Kakao and KT are in a race to control the trending cryptocurrency market, with plans to launch their own crypto coins.
Fresh Blood into the Crypto World
The Japanese subsidiary of Naver announced in early September it would issue 1 billion digital tokens called Link using their own Link Chain Blockchain network in September that would be run by the company’s Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitbox. The company stated that Line Tech Plus, its subsidiary that operates the exchange will manage 200 million of the tokens.
The company said the tokens can pay for music, videos, and webtoons and for in-app payments and in-game trading and can be traded at Bitbox. A company statement said:
“Unlike other cryptocurrencies or digital tokens, Link will not make an initial coin offering, but instead utilizes a reward system that gives users Link as compensation for using certain services within the Line ecosystem.”
In the meantime, Ground X, the blockchain arm of Kakao announced earlier last month the company was planning to launch a blockchain platform called Klaytn during the first quarter of 2019 besides distributing a crypto coin called the Klay. The coin will be used to reward users of the company’s KakaoTalk and any other apps connected to the platform.
The company promised to unveil a test version next month even though they did not explain the coin’s features. However, observers believe it will work within Kakao’s ecosystem and used for purchasing mobile gifts, emoticons, and streaming music subscriptions. Ground X CEO Han Jae-sun was quoted at a developer’s conference in Jeju on September 13, 2018, saying:
“When you well combine the powerful user groups of Kakao with blockchain world, you can build an effective blockchain ecosystem […] our goal is to unveil a blockchain service that could be used in real life, and not solely for speculation.”
As reported by Blockchain Reporter last month, Korea’s largest mobile carrier KT announced it had partnered with Gimpo City to create a regional digital currency for residents of Gyeonggi Province that could be used in local stores and restaurants. The company plans to launch the platform before the end of this year and issue coins worth 10 billion won from the beginning of 2019.
While financial regulators outside Korea are still wary, the potential of digital currencies for private investors and businesses remains a seductive tool for Tech companies even as many of them are slowly entering the game.