UPDATE (09:55 UTC, Aug. 31, 2018): This article has been updated to include a comment from LINE on the technical aspects of the blockchain.
Messaging giant LINE has become one of the first publicly traded companies to have launched a proprietary blockchain mainnet with its own cryptocurrency.
Revealed in an announcement Friday, the firm said that the genesis block of its LINK Chain was produced on Aug. 23. The messaging giant now aims to gradually issue a total of 1 billion of the network's LINK tokens, of which 800 million will be distributed to public users while the rest will be held as a company reserve.
Rather than adopt an initial coin offering model, LINE will issue the tokens as an incentive for users who participate in its decentralized applications (dapps) built on top of the LINK Chain network. According to LINE's white paper, it is now eyeing a deadline in September for the rollout of an initial two dapps, with over 10 to be released by the first quarter of 2019.
A spokesperson for LINE explained some of the technical aspects of the blockchain protocol, telling CoinDesk:
The LINK token will be added to LINE's newly launched BITBOX cryptocurrency exchange for trading in September, as an alternative way for users to acquire the crypto asset, the release added. The tokens can be further used as a payments means within LINE's existing ecosystem.
The firm specified in the announcement that BITBOX is currently not a licensed exchange platform in Japan by Financial Services Agency. As such, residents in the firm's home country are only able to receive what's called a LINK Point for the time being, which will be exchangeable for the full crypto asset once BITBOX becomes licensed in Japan.
Intriguingly, LINE, a Japanese firm, launched the blockchain and its exchange platform via a new subsidiary established in April in Singapore called LINE Tech Plus PTE.
The launch marks the latest move by the company in seeking to integrate blockchain into its existing business ecosystem.