Back in May of this year, ICON announced its newest joint venture, Unchain, in partnership with LINE PLUS to build LINE’s blockchain network. This is why people in the community were surprised when on August 31st, LINE announced the launch of its very own cryptocurrency, LINK, and its first independent blockchain network, LINK Chain.

What does this mean for ICON and its joint venture with LINE PLUS?

The announcement has been a subject of much speculation within the community, with many wondering how the ICON partnership is related, if related at all.

What is the extent of ICONLOOP’s involvement in LINK?

Is LINK using the ICONLOOP core engine?

Is this the product of Unchain and the ICON partnership?

The Iconist is here to demystify it all.

A brief overview of LINK and LINK Chain

LINK is LINE’s native cryptocurrency that will be exchanged through a rewards-based system. Users receive LINK as a form of compensation for their participation in various service categories (contents, commerce, social, gaming, exchange) within the LINE ecosystem. 800 million LINK will gradually be distributed on LINE’s digital asset exchange BITBOX, with an additional 200 million as reserve.

LINK will be used in the LINK Chain, a service-oriented blockchain network that allows DApps to be applied directly to LINE’s messaging platform. LINE hopes to encourage more DApps, even those not operated by LINE, to build and participate on the network in order to grow its ecosystem and become a leading digital reward platform.

ICON’s involvement

An excerpt from ICON’s May announcement reads, “Unchain will create a blockchain ecosystem fueled by a token economy, where the users are rewarded for their contributions to the network”.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

While ICON was not explicitly mentioned in LINE’s recent announcement, there is no doubt ICON was involved in the project. As explained by Hyun, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Deblock, an ICON VC firm, “LINE’s LINK Chain is made by Unchain, which is a joint venture with ICON and LINE. CEO of Unchain is HK Lee who is from ICON Foundation”.

And as JH Kim, CEO of ICONLOOP and ICON Foundation Council Member, expanded during the last of ICON’s three key announcements, “The collaboration with LINE is to support the token economy of LINE with ICON technology. LINE will offer a service that works on token economy very soon”.

ICON’s technology in LINK Chain

If this wasn’t convincing enough, taking a closer look at LINK’s White Paper (pages 10 and 11) also clues us in on ICON’s involvement, particularly on the technology front.

In its road map, the month of June specifies the establishment of “UNCHAIN CORPORATION, the joint venture for developing the LINK blockchain platform”. And in its FAQ, Unchain is listed as technical operator, managing the nodes of LINK Chain and developing blockchain infrastructure technology:

The consensus algorithm for LINK Chain also happens to be based on LFT (Loop Fault Tolerance) algorithm supporting BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance) and has the capability of processing over 1,000 transactions per second. These are both two very familiar elements from ICON’s core engine ICONLOOP.

The timely launch of LINE’s LINK Chain and Unchain prove to be positive development between ICON and LINE. Ultimately, the goal is to connect through ICON, and LINE is able to do so thanks to ICON facilitating blockchain interoperability.

This is truly the sign of a productive partnership.