What Facebook can do, LINE and Kakao can do better.

Or so they hope.

LINE, Japan’s most popular messaging app, will reportedly receive approval from Japan’s financial authorities to launch a cryptocurrency exchange aimed at locals.

CCN notes that LINE launched a cryptocurrency exchange called BITBOX in July of last year with the aim of integrating LINE’s native cryptocurrency asset, LINK. The exchange did not offer services for residents of Japan or Japanese nationals living outside of Japan. It didn’t even offer Japanese language support.

But LINE’s new crypto exchange, BitMax, will allow Japanese to trade cryptocurrency.

BlockPost, the blockchain news site of Korean-language business news site Financial News, says if LINE gets the license to open its exchange, this will likely spur development of the company’s other blockchain projects. Experts predict LINE will expand into blockchain-based payment engines and financial services, counting on synergy with LINE Pay, Japan’s most popular payment engine.

Observers also expect LINE to connect its LINK cryptocurrency to other LINE content such as games and videos. The company is working with partners to acquire more DApps that use LINK, too.

The Iconist would remind readers that the developer of LINK’s blockchain platform is a joint venture between LINE and ICON.

The BlockPost story says LINE – a Japanese subsidiary of Korean internet giant Naver – and Kakao hope to use the (at least) six-month window before Facebook officially launches Libra to get a head start in the global blockchain services market.

For its part, Kakao is putting together a “Governance Council” composed of – it hopes – the heavy hitters of Korea’s IT world. This governance model seems to resemble the one Facebook is implementing for Libra. Only one has been revealed so far: game studio PUBG (see links below).

Also in the Korea blockchain space…

Coinone Transfer and SBI Ripple Asia Team Up to Facilitate Blockchain-Based Remittance in South Korea 
(By TokenPost)

Coinone Transfer has joined hands with SBI Ripple Asia to enable blockchain-based remittances in South Korea using the recently released mobile remittance app and web service Cross. From the TokenPost article: “Currently, eight countries, including China, Thailand, and the Philippines, are allowed to send remittances through the Cross, and remittances are completed within 3 to 48 hours for each country. The remittance fee is reported at 1%.

Samsung SDS Vows to Expand Enterprise Blockchain Platform
(By Yonhap News, via the Korea Herald)

Samsung’s IT subsidiary is preparing cloud-based blockchain solutions for a wide range of industries, including the manufacturing, logistics, public sector, finance and health care sectors.

Blockchain Data Science Startup Endor Wins MetLife Korea Contract
(By Coinspeaker)

An open innovation platform jointly run by MetLife and Lumenlab awarded Endor — the “Google for predictive analytics,” not the home of the Ewoks — a $100,000 contract to implement its blockchain-based data analytics solution with MetLife Korea. From the article: “The company will apply these features at MetLife’s Seoul-headquartered branch, providing advanced AI and predictive analytics to the company’s customer engagement, sales and operations initiatives.

South Korea Striving to Become Global Testbed for Fintech Firms
(By Kim Deok-hyun, Yonhap News)

Kwon Dae-young, director-general of the Financial Innovation Bureau at the Financial Services Commission (FSC), told Yonhap News that Seoul aims to make Korea a first mover in the fintech sector, including blockchain. He said, “Korea may be a latecomer and a ‘fast follower’ in the fintech sector, but our industry is growing fast and has the potential to lead, thanks to cutting-edge technologies and strong government support.

Bithumb Hit with Data Leak Charges, Denies Link to Hack
(By Tim Alper, Cryptonews)

Prosecutors in Seoul have indicted Bithumb for allegedly leaking sensitive financial data of around 31,000 customers. In particular, prosecutors reportedly want to draw a link between the leak and a 2017 hack that resulted in the theft of $6 billion in cryptoassets. Bithumb says the two are unrelated.

“Battlegrounds” Publisher Joins Klaytn (Korean)
(By Kim San-ha, Hankyung)

The Korean language business daily Hankyung reports that PUBG, the studio behind the popular online multiplayer battle royale game “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” is joining Kakao’s Klaytn project as a member of its Governance Council. We were saying about games and blockchain