LINE, Japan’s leading social network, and mobile chatting app announced earlier in the week that it had launched its NFT marketplace. The announcement was made by LVC Corp., the operator of LINE’s crypto asset and blockchain business based in Osaka.
The Messaging App is owned, by South Korean internet giant Naver and Japan’s SoftBank. It has over 90 million users and hopes to bring its users onboard into the NFT space.
The new marketplace will allow users to buy, sell, and trade NFTs with other users and store them on LINE’s Bitmax Wallet. This crypto wallet is easily accessible via LINE messaging app accounts.
At the time of launch, about 40,000 NFTs will be offered. This will include content from the popular anime series Mobile Police Patlabor, Yoshimoto Kogyo (Japan’s major entertainment agency), and even App’s own character Betakkuma.
The company, which offers free messages, voice calls, and video calls, has mentioned itself as “the fastest-growing mobile messenger app in the world.”
To further expand their reach into the crypto and NFT space, LINE’s U.S.-based venture LINE NEXT plans to launch a global NFT platform in July namely DOSI. It aims to support companies and creators to build NFT markets and communities.
LINE’s NFT Investment
LINE is far from being the first Asian-based company to invest heavily in the NFT space. The Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten launched an NFT marketplace that allows peer-to-peer buying and selling of NFTs in a range of areas, including sports, music, entertainment, and anime.
Sega, the Japanese game developer, has also filed for NFT-related trademarks and teased a collection of “SuperGames” that would include cloud technology and NFTs. But perhaps the boldest and most surprising NFT investment of all belongs not to a company, but to a whole country.
In February, South Korea’s Ministry of ICT, Science, and Future Planning decided on a budget of 223.7 billion Won ($186.8 million) to build a metaverse ecosystem within the country. The funding will support the growth of NFTs and digital content throughout the country. Further, it will also create a state-sponsored metaverse to expand the growth of virtual cities, media, and education in South Korea.
As the popularity of NFTs and the metaverse grows, the majority of brands, companies, and even countries are investing in the space. Whether LINE can kick the competition to create a thriving NFT marketplace remains to be seen. But, having 90 million users to draw from certainly gives them an advantage while starting.
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