Mobile platform service LINE PLUS hosted its LINE LINK DEV 2018 conference on Nov. 9. About 500 developers, blockchain professionals, journalists and the crypto-curious packed Conference Room 401 of the COEX exhibition space in southern Seoul to hear officials and developers from LINE, Unchain, Unblock and other participating companies discuss blockchain development strategy, fintech, the token economy, DApp development and other things crypto.

Mostly, however, the conference was an opportunity for LINE to introduce and explain LINK, Line’s general purpose coin, and its supporting ecosystem, including the LINK Chain platform.

As one of LINE’s strategic partners in business and technology, ICON was there as well. Hongkyu Lee, the CEO of the ICON-LINE join venture Unchain, gave an address entitled “Service Oriented Blockchain Platform.” In the afternoon, ICON technology director Soohwan Park introduced ICON’s interchain technology and developer tools. And outside the conference room – just next to the entrance, in fact – the ICON team set up a booth to introduce conference attendees to the ICON platform and hand out some cool ICON swag.

Getting the public involved

During his address on service-oriented blockchain platforms, Unchain’s Hongkyu Lee said LINE would launch new DApps for LINK Chain in the first quarter of next year, in cooperation with his company’s outside partners. In the second quarter, LINE would open LINK Chain in order to build an ecosystem in which individual developers and developers at small and medium-sized enterprises could easily develop their own DApps.

Lee stressed the need to get more developers building on blockchain. “There are 44 million Ethereum accounts, but the most popular Ethereum DApp has just 21,411 actual monthly users. Blockchain is not a popular platform, and it’s hard to use DApp services,” he said. “Only when users and developers can easily participate in blockchain can we develop and supply services.”

To illustrate how user-unfriendly blockchain DApps currently were, he noted that it sometimes took more than a day to make crypto transactions in an exchange, a far cry from conventional banks, where you can immediately confirm withdrawals and transfers.

Lee also introduced the LINK Framework, its “one-stop tokenization kit,” a suite of utilities for DApp development. The kit includes user utilities, smart contracts, a block explorer and other useful tools for developers. “If you’ve ever created an account to post to Steemit, creating an account can be a pain,” he said. “A developer who has developed a blockchain service could tell just how hard maintaining this hard-to-make account is. That’s why we made LINE Framework.”

Lee said that by using LINK Chain and the LINK Framework, developers could develop and connect services within a single month.

He also said that though LINK Chain had been launched as a private blockchain platform to provide better service, it would – some time soon, after thorough internal checks had been made – be expanded into a stable public blockchain platform to promote coexistence with users and partner companies.

Lee also announced LINE would launch its LINEAR Network by the end of the year. An interchain that would connect LINK’s main chain – that is, its root chain – to stable leaf chains, the LINEAR Network would be a scalable, stable blockchain platform tailored to DApp service, a platform in which developers could freely control confirmation time, processing speed, save space and other demands for services such as shopping, finance and social media.

ICON and LINE founded Unchain as a joint venture in May to develop LINK Chain, the platform supporting LINE’s LINK token. Prior to becoming Unchain’s first CEO, Lee was a technical director at ICON. The Iconist examined ICON’s relationship with LINK and LINK Chain back in September.


In the afternoon, ICON’s Soohwan Park introduced the ICON platform to the attendees. He took the audience through his platform’s strengths vis-a-vis some other popular platforms, stressing in particular ICON’s core value of interoperability, of its goal of linking isolated blockchain networks. He also explained ICON’s suite of developer tools, T-Bears, which allows developers to code and test smart contracts locally and, when ready, deploy them to the ICON network.

He also struck a confident tone, telling the audience that ICON would come out of the blockchain bubble strong, just as the survivors of the dot com bubble went on to become some of the Internet’s biggest names.

Not just talk

LINK’s makers stressed that they are building real services for real people.

“We’re not just rushing out a paper plan for a public blockchain platform. We’ve worked to create a highly complete platform that considers connectivity with LINE’s millions of users,Unchain’s Lee told the press after the conference. We’re sharing at the present time our plan to expand the platform, a plan we’ve steadily prepared in order to open the platform at a time when people can actually use it.”

He added, “LINE is using LINK not as a mere means of investment, but as an engine for an ecosystem of coexistence that contributes to users. We will work to create a meaningful platform that can contribute and grow, a platform in which individual developers and developers at small and medium-sized enterprises can develop good DApps in LINK Chain and generate profits and in which users can experience actual services in LINE’s token ecosystem.”