Business

Steve Kaaru

Line crypto exchange Bitmax goes live in Japan

Japan’s messaging and internet company Line has launched Bitmax, its cryptocurrency exchange for the Japanese market. The exchange went live Tuesday, being made available first for Android users. The exchange targets novice crypto traders with a suite of easy-to-use tools and is available through the Wallet tab on the Line app.

In a statement, the Tokyo-based company described Bitmax as a “simple and secure cryptocurrency exchange that makes getting started easy even for beginners at cryptocurrency trading.” The exchange will offer five cryptocurrencies initially: BTC, Litecoin, Ether, Ripple and BCH.

Line will operate the exchange through the LVC Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary which operates the company’s crypto and blockchain businesses. LVC was awarded a cryptocurrency trading license earlier this month by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).

With over 160 million users globally, half of whom reside in Japan, Line will hope to leverage its large user base to push Bitmax. The platform will be available to Japanese residents who operate a Line account. The platform will charge no fees to its traders. However, deposits and withdrawals will incur a $1 charge.

Line assured its users that their digital assets will be safe on the Bitmax platform, revealing that it will rely on a high-security wallet infrastructure from U.S.-based crypto custodian BitGo. The exchange will also store the users’ assets in a cold wallet, with a dedicated team being assembled to operate the cold wallet.

Bitmax will link with the Line Pay service, enabling users to cash out and make deposits in yen easily. This integration will also make the verification process easier for Line users. However, a strict KYC program will be observed, with users being required to submit a photograph of themselves and their ID card.

Bitmax offers a low minimum deposit for its user, which will be below JPY1,000 ($9).

Line launched BitBox, its first cryptocurrency exchange last year. Based in Singapore, BitBox provides a crypto-to-crypto trading platform but is unavailable for residents of the U.S. and Japan due to regulatory hurdles. The company also launched LINK, its own crypto which runs on LINK Chain blockchain platform. LINK is available for trading on BitBox and is expected to be made available on the new Bitmax platform as well.

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