LINE shutters BitBox, rolls out global crypto exchange

Japan’s messaging giant LINE Corporation has launched a global cryptocurrency exchange. Known as BITFRONT, the new exchange will be based in the United States and will serve users globally, with the exception of Japan and a few states in the U.S. LINE also announced that it had shut down BitBox, its Singapore-based crypto exchange.

BITFRONT will be operated by LVC USA, a subsidiary of LVC Corporation, LINE’s crypto and blockchain subsidiary. It will provide a fiat-to-crypto market, for the U.S. dollar, as well as a crypto-to-crypto market. It will be available for users globally, except in Japan where LINE launched its Bitmax crypto exchange last year. It will also notably not be available in the U.S. states of Hawaii, New York and Nevada.

BITFRONT will be entering a very competitive U.S. market, one dominated by Coinbase. The U.S. market has proven to be unforgiving, with several global giants staying away from the market altogether. Some American exchanges have also had to exit the market as competition and regulatory uncertainty take their toll.

To have a chance in the U.S. market, BITFRONT will count on “extensive security and industry know-how built on LINE’s years of experience as a major global service. By linking other exchanges and order books, BITFRONT provides deep liquidity and ensures a tight bid-ask spread. In addition, users will be able to trade in U.S.. dollars by linking their bank account.”

The exchange will initially support five cryptos, namely Tether, Ethereum, BTC, BCH and LINE’s native digital currency LINK. It will be available in 15 languages including English, Korean and Chinese. For U.S.-based users who purchase over $100 worth of crypto, they will receive LINK rewards and will be exempted from commission fees if they make the deposit via wire transfer.

Youngsu Ko, the CEO of LVC Corporation remarked, “This is a major leap toward achieving the mass adoption of blockchain. As the most trusted global digital currency exchange, we will continue to make blockchain and cryptocurrency more accessible to our users.”

LINE continues to be on the frontline of crypto and blockchain development. The Tokyo-based company, renowned for its Line messaging application, launched Bitmax crypto exchange in September last year. LINE stated at the time that it would seek to leverage its huge user base – 186 million by some estimates – to push the exchange. The company also partnered with Japanese financial services giant Nomura for the development of blockchain services.

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