Chat App Giant Line to Hand out its Link Crypto to E-pay Customers

The Japan-based chat app operator Line will offer customers handouts of its cryptoasset as a bonus when they make fiat payments using its e-pay platform.

The new promotional drive comes six months after a Line and Yahoo Japan merger under the Z Holdings umbrella. The Z Holdings merger, first mooted in late 2019, saw the Line founder Naver, a South Korean internet giant, and SoftBank, the Yahoo Japan majority owner, join forces to create a new East Asian internet, fintech and crypto powerhouse.

The new firm has already announced plans to merge the existing Line Pay platform with the Yahoo Japan-run PayPay, an e-pay platform with some 80m users.

The Line payment platform currently links to the Line chat app in the latter’s interface. And the same app also has a tab that directs its users to the Line crypto exchange: the Line Bitmax Wallet.

As the firm looks to integrate its two e-pay solutions, it has announced that customers who use their Line Pay accounts to pay at one of over 3.8m PayPay partner stores nationwide will receive around USD 1 worth of Line’s link (LN) token as a reward.

Per All About, the payments will be handed out on a first-come-first-served basis, with around USD 912,000 worth of tokens up for grabs until September 30.

The link token got a boost earlier this month when it was listed on South Korea’s Bithumb exchange.

Earlier this year, the e-commerce heavyweight Rakuten, one of Z Holdings’ biggest rivals in the fast-growing Japanese crypto space, announced that it would allow customers to convert loyalty points to bitcoin (BTC). Rakuten has also created a platform that allows its customers to top up their Rakuten e-pay accounts using bitcoin and ethereum (ETH).

SoftBank raised eyebrows in the sector when it sold its controlling stake in the domestic crypto exchange TaoTao to another rival, the SBI Group – apparently with a view to focusing on the success of the Line Bitmax Wallet trading platform.

But SoftBank has also backed a large number of crypto projects this year, with a spate of investments in spring before a USD 200m investment in the Latin American exchange giant Mercado Bitcoin in July.

Naver, meanwhile, has been mentioned as a possible buyer of Bithumb. The exchange’s majority owner has been looking to exit the crypto space, but the trail appears to have gone cold with prospective buyers unsure about the asking price and regulatory concerns.

(Photo: LINE)

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