Tokyo-based LINE Corp., a leading developer of mobile applications like the popular LINE Messenger, has announced the launch of its first digital token, LINK, and its first blockchain network, LINK Chain. The launch makes LINE one of the first publicly traded companies to have launched a proprietary blockchain mainnet with its own cryptocurrency, according to CoinDesk. The blockchain and its exchange platform were launched through a new Singapore-based subsidiary company called the LINE Tech Plus PTE. (See also: How Does Line Work and Make Money? )
The genesis block of the LINK Chain was successful generated Aug. 23, which commenced the long-term process of gradually generating a total of 1 billion LINK tokens. Genesis block is the first block that gets mined on a blockchain. The company plans to distribute 800 million tokens to public users, while the remaining will be retained by the company as a reserve.
The LINK Chain network supports decentralized apps (dApps). With the mainnet already in place, the company expects to initiate the release of dApps with two initial dApps to be launched in September, with the number gradually increasing to around 10 by the first quarter of 2019.
Citing the need to support smooth transactions, a LINE spokesperson told CoinDesk, "We need fast confirmation time for a service-oriented blockchain platform. Thus the consensus algorithm of LINK Chain is delegated proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus (mechanism) and practical Byzantine fault tolerance."
dApp-based Platform takes non-ICO Route
The token distribution will not follow the traditional process of initial coin offering (ICO). Instead, LINE will allocate tokens as an incentive to participants who will use the LINK Chain network’s dApps. This is expected to promote user participation thereby keeping the blockchain network agile, functional and to help it gain popularity. The tokens will also be available from September on the Singapore-based BITBOX exchange, LINE's newly launched cryptocurrency exchange which started its services last month. Since BITBOX is yet to secure a license from Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA), local residents will receive LINK Points in the interim till the crypto exchange secures the necessary license in Japan. However, LINK Points comes with a few restrictions. They cannot be deposited, withdrawn, transferred, traded or exchanged at cryptocurrency exchanges. BITBOX users will also be entitled to exclusive benefits, like payments or discounts on trading fees and many promotional events while using LINK tokens.
As the tokens will also be used as a medium of payment within LINE's ecosystem, a user can also earn them by offering goods or services or through exchange on the LINE network within a host of categories like contents, commerce, social, gaming and exchange. (See also: Major Corporations Toy With Idea of Launching Unique Cryptocurrencies.)
Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.