LINE’s Blueprint for Token Economy
The birth of Blockchain and LINE Blockchain
The Internet has advanced our lifestyle dramatically. We can communicate with anyone around the globe, and instantly look up answers to any questions. Even today, we can see newly advanced technologies like AI and IoT and bringing a huge shift in paradigm.
Out of the newly-advancing technologies, I believe blockchain especially stands out since the users can actively engage just as using the Internet, and users can also verify the value of their activities. Certainly, blockchain is at the center of the world’s attention: a good example is China’s effort to build a governmental strategy on blockchain technology. Some of the world’s largest corporations are paying extra attention as well. IBM and other IT start-ups already launched their own blockchain research labs, and the automaker company Toyota also recently opened <Toyota Blockchain Lab> to accelerate blockchain technology initiatives. These activities of the giants seem to show how much of great potential that blockchain technology has.
Unlike other centralized systems, blockchain is a ‘distributed ledger’ since it does not require a centralized force/manager to keep records of transactions or deals. Instead, in the blockchain system, the participants can share the ledger, and thus it takes lesser costs and risks to keep and manage the records. The reliability and data on the blockchain can be easily visualized and stored since it can be divided into many distributed parts, helping to prevent any fraud or manipulation of information and ensure higher security, reliability, and transparency. The distributed-storage of data also enables high usability as well. Based on the reliability established by a number of participants rooted in the system, blockchain is designed so people can easily exchange values at a lower cost.
The term blockchain to most people is so heuristically linked with the idea of ‘crypto assets’ and it’s nearly inseparable. During the earlier times when blockchain was just born, it surely served the role of ‘platform’ to enable crypto assets like Bitcoins to function like ‘currencies.’ However, as blockchain is repeating technical evolutions, its applicable fields are expanding. For example, the finance field alone is getting more and more coverage of blockchain. It might initially have been used just for the exchange of value or trade (as currencies), but now it can be used for far more other segments like securities.
Over time, crypto asset’s usage is perceived to be expanding outside the ‘currency’ zone and can now manage trading or contract, and the management/proof of rights.
‘Smart Contract’ is a good example. Originated from Ethereum, Smart Contract is the unique feature of blockchain that can automatically complete the contract and is now widely accepted among many other crypto assets.
The application of blockchain is expanding outside finance and is getting into our everyday lives — automotive, real estate, retail, and game industries are popular practices and there are many more areas to be covered as well.
As our digital world is rapidly changing, LINE is also developing its own blockchain-focused project “LINE Blockchain” with our own technique and know-how. The LINE Blockchain Team aims to realize the ‘LINE Token Economy,’ of which the research and development can thrive LINE’s blockchain services and broaden the partnering 3rd parties so the so-called ‘byproducts (services and solutions)’ can give back benefits to the users.
For the realization of the “LINE Token Economy”
The efforts to make the “LINE Token Economy” concrete turn into a challenge of making technology come closer to our daily lives — and it will be by integrating blockchain technology with Internet service. Before the Internet era, the relationship between the service provider and the users was rather definite — users made payments to service providers to appreciate the goods or service, and there was no other way around.
However, the Internet has jumbled directions. It changed the values of most information, and the cost the users used to pay to what they used to get nearly came down to zero. And the roles of the users also started to multiply — 1. ‘consumer’ who spends time and value on the service, 2. ‘creator’ who voluntarily makes contents like reviews or comments, and lastly 3. ‘contributor’ who leaves traces (data) to make the services better.
According to the rule of the thumb, there supposed to be an appropriate return to the ‘contributors.’ But the problem is that it is extremely hard to build such system.
Good news is, the problem can be solved with blockchain.
With blockchain 1) users can receive tokens as rewards in return of their service activities (contribution), 2) and then the token values may increase as the service growths, 3) thus the users who have earned the token rewards can appreciate the token value over time. This can nurture a virtuous cycle between users and services.
If such a cooperative win-win relationship that can foster service growths and share the fruit of growth could be established, it can evolve into the next new high-quality service sector and create a big paradigm.
The image above shows the structure of the ‘LINE Token Economy.’
As the pillars that support the ‘LINE Token Economy,’ LVC has been building the three pillars below.
① “BITMAX,” the crypto asset trading service
② “LINK,” the crypto asset of LINE Blockchain
③ dApps* developed by the LINE Blockchain Platform
- *The short of ‘Decentralized Application,’ an open-source, decentralized application based on blockchain technology.
BITMAX, the crypto asset trading service
To close the gap between people and finance, LINE is developing and providing a variety of financial services of its own. LVC, LINE’s subsidiary and a managing subject of blockchain businesses, opened a crypto asset trading service ‘BITMAX’ by acquiring the registration of crypto asset exchanger in September 2019.
BITMAX can be accessed at LINE Messenger’s ‘LINE Wallet’ menu, and as it is embedded in the messenger, it is easy to use for even those who have zero experience on crypto asset trading. BITMAX handles Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), providing safe and convenient user experience.
And on August 2020, LINE’s crypto asset LINK (LN) became available for trading as well. LINK (LN), that users have long been acquiring within the ‘LINE Token Economy’ can be exchanged with other crypto assets or fiat at BITMAX.
LINK (LN), LINE’s crypto asset
LVC has been compliant with the regulatory requirements in Japan and has been preparing the official registration of LINE’s own crypto asset ‘LINK (LN).’ And finally, on the August 6th 2020, LINK (LN) became available for trading on “BITMAX.”
As Japan’s primary messenger, LINE has 84 million monthly users in Japan, and LINK (LN) aims to thrive from this mass user base and become a crypto asset to be used in everyday lives. This means that the key direction that LINK (LN) is pursuing is not bounded within an investment-focused crypto asset, but rather an asset that can circulate within the LINE Token Economy.
The users can receive LINK (LN) as rewards for their service contribution while enjoying the service within the LINE Token Economy. Once acquiring LINK (LN), it can be held, exchanged with fiat or other crypto assets at exchanges like BITMAX, or used as payment in services supporting LINK (LN).
LINE Blockchain would like to invite more and more blockchain users into the LINE Blockchain Network and also talented developers to engage in the network. We hope this can build a virtuous cycle and then help to acquire more and more users.
LINE Blockchain Platform and dApps
To focus on the dApp development, LINE Blockchain team is building the “LINE Blockchain Platform” that will be available for 3rd parties exclusively. “LINE Blockchain Platform” can be logged in with a personal LINE account. Once logged in, users can access a multitude of LINE APIs so the LINE APIs to the service provider’s service can be simply implemented on the developer console. Not to mention, users can enjoy features like issuing their own tokens, proof of rights and trading, integration of physical assets and digital tokens, and rewarding users who share their data.
As these three pillars are settled, the LINK-driven “LINE Token Economy” that manages BITMAX or dApps is established. By this, users can receive the return of benefits as “consumers,” “creators,” and “contributors” by engaging in the “LINE Token Economy.”
Ultimately, we are planning to see a ‘rippling effect’ by increasing users participating in the “LINE Token Economy” so it can invite more talented developers to develop new dApps — and this cycle can repeat itself to ripple out the virtuous cycle.
The regulatory environment has been quite severe these days, especially with issues like securities and safety. Such circumstance has slowed the progress of <LINE Blockchain> which already took over 2 years for launching, even though LINE prioritizes in speed.
On the other side, this seemingly tiring period could only be have been endured because it was LINE that went through this sever environment. Time is precious, but what matters most is the service quality after all. Thus, we would like to pay extra attention and time to better the structure optimized to users and then unfold our plans with blockchain business.
LINE’s slogan, CLOSING THE DISTANCE, is also our motto. Meaning that we would like to close the gap and any barriers to blockchain and make differences to everyday lives by scaling out our blockchain services and our crypto asset LINK (LN)’s usability from the tech-savvies to everyone.