According to Bloomberg, the Tokyo-based company’s interest in cryptocurrency is a way to set its products and services apart from competitors, including Facebook and Snap.
Best known for its variety of stickers that people can share with each other, Line is looking to create products that will keep users within its network and ensure that they will continue to return to the app. Line currently has 168 million monthly active users in its primary markets of Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand. In addition to messaging, the company offers such services as food delivery, online video streaming and job searches.
The company’s shares grew 10 percent on Tuesday after reports surfaced that it was working to partner with South Korean bitcoin exchange Upbit. However, those rumors haven’t been confirmed, and Line’s shares fell 1.9 percent on Wednesday. The company has a market value of 1.2 trillion yen ($10.6 billion).
Line is the latest company to show interest in cryptocurrency. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, mentioned cryptocurrencies in a posting that detailed his plans for the social media network in 2018.
“With the rise of a small number of big tech companies – and governments using technology to watch their citizens – many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it,” he wrote. “There are important counter-trends to this, like encryption and cryptocurrency, that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”
And last year, Waterloo, Ontario-based messaging app Kik Interactive raised $100 million through an initial coin offering that will be used to create blockchain-based services on its platforms.