South Korean Tech Giants Accelerate Blockchain Initiatives after Libra Announcement

Asia Blockchain Review
July 8, 2019

Two of South Korea’s largest tech companies are reportedly “speeding up their blockchain activities through their subsidiaries” in the hopes of beating to market Facebook’s recently announced Project Libra.

According to a report by Fn News, Kakao Group and Naver are making sure they have a headstart on Facebook as well as other potential competitors in the crypto and blockchain industry. With several projects already initiated by the two enterprises, it is estimated that they are currently “six months ahead of Facebook” in terms of progress. 

Asian Commercial Blockchain Platforms Going Live

Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary Ground X recently launched its Klaytn platform’s mainnet, with support from large firms and investors participating in the project. Like Project Libra, Klaytn also has a governing body comprising major global companies whose names have yet to be disclosed (with the exception of gaming behemoth Neowiz). 

Meanwhile, Naver’s Japan-based subsidiary LINE is anticipating its license from the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), allowing it to operate a Japan-based crypto exchange. According to several Japanese news outlets, the license issuance is expected soon. 

Kakao and LINE’s Footholds in Asia

Any crypto offerings from Project Libra in Asia will have to contend with domestic competition from Kakao and Naver. KakaoTalk is currently the most used instant messaging application, downloaded on 93% of smartphones in South Korea. Kakao has also invested in operating the Upbit crypto exchange, one of the biggest exchanges in the country. 

Meanwhile, LINE dominates the Japanese market with over 80 million users in the country as well as millions more in other Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand. The company already runs cryptocurrency exchange platforms in these countries. 


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