LINE, the Shinjuku-based messaging giant has launched its virtual currency trading service for their 80 million users in Japan, called Bitmax. The exchange went live on September 17 and is currently operating on Android devices and is providing their users with an option to trade digital currencies.
LINE has a user base of 80 million only in Japan, and their worldwide customer base amounts close to 164 million, this gives LINE a huge community of customers to exploit. They received regulatory approval a few days prior to Bitmax’s launch.
As of now, the exchange is live and showcasing five major cryptocurrencies namely: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC). All the assets will be available via the LINE Wallet option in the app itself. The exchange is also integrated will LINE pay, making it easier for customers to deposit and withdraw the local fiat currency Yen.
As per the official statement, the exchange will be operated via LVC Corporation a subsidiary of LINE which was awarded its exchange license by Japan’s Financial Services Agency on September 6. Any Japanese resident with a LINE account can easily access Bitmax. There are no transaction fees for trading, but a 108 Yen fee is applicable for deposits and withdrawals.
Enhanced security with a cold wallet
LINE says it is using a wallet developed by Palo Alto-based BitGo to separate customer assets and keep them in a cold wallet; a separate team is allotted to manage the wallet thus enhancing security of customer assets. Apart from this, a strict KYC process for new customers is put in place. Users are required to register with application with various documents that include an ID card along with a photographic capture and a registered bank account and an ID.
The new exchange will however operate in a completely different manner than that of BitBox, LINE’s Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange that has been in operation since July 2018. BitBox, however, is not accessible to Japanese and United States based users.
LINE acknowledges that their competitors are embracing cryptocurrency trading services and they believe there is room for expansion. An excerpt from the official statement reads:
“Some services already have a lot of users, but we are still in the early stages, and we think this is an area that has the potential to expand in the future.”