Japanese messaging giant LINE is planning to offer cryptocurrency trading, loans and insurance via its newly-established company called LINE Financial Corporation, it said in an official press release.

This subsidiary is a follow-up to its payment platform LINE Pay — which it claimed has 40 million users and transacted over JPY 450 billion (US$4.14 billion) — and will help strengthen LINE as a financial service provider and fintech platform.

LINE has already filed an application to become a virtual currency exchanger with the Japanese financial regulator, and it is currently under review.

The company, which is owned by South Korean company internet firm Naver, is one of the largest messaging platforms to offer virtual currency services; but it is not the first.

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Canadian messaging app Kik launched an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) last year, raising a total of 168,732 ETH (ether), which is equivalent to about US$100 million. Its aim was to create a community of users who would use cryptocurrency for interactive activities such as joining groups and developing and selling stickers.

Elsewhere, Berlin-based cloud messaging app Telegram is also in the midst of preparing for an ICO, with the goal of building a payment service on the platform. It aims to raise about US$1.2 billion for this endeavour. Prominent VCs such as Benchmark and Sequoia Capital are said to be interested in participating.

And closer to home, an independent developer of NEM, a smart asset blockchain platform, was said to be trialling a beta version of a crypto wallet on Tencent’s WeChat. If successful — and if the Chinese government relaxes its ban on cryptocurrency trading — this could potentially allow the platform’s 1 billion users to engage in crypto transactions.

Image Credit: LINE