[THE INVESTOR] A new war between Korea’s top internet giants is about to erupt as they gear up for mass adoption of blockchain technology with their own platforms and tokens.
Naver, the nation’s leading internet portal operator, has introduced LINK Chain and its cryptocurrency Link through its Japanese subsidiary Line. Instead of an initial coin offering, Link will be awarded to users as an incentive for using certain services on its blockchain platform. The tokens can be used to buy contents like stickers and webcomics, as well as other Line services. It will be exclusively available on Line’s Singapore-based exchange Bitbox.
“With Link, we would like to continue developing as a user participation-based platform, one that rewards and shares added value through the introduction of easy-to-use apps for people’s daily lives,” Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa said in a statement last month.
Meanwhile, Kakao, operator of the leading messenger app KakaoTalk, will unveil its first blockchain platform in October. Its subsidiary GroundX which is registered in Japan will introduce Klaytn, a service oriented enterprise-grade public blockchain platform, and its token Klay next month. The company will first launch a testnet -- a working prototype -- in October and then the mainnet in the first quarter of 2019.
Kakao will also use its tokens for a reward system.
“I believe blockchian is a new type of the internet. Internet is the means of transferring information but blockchain allow us to transfer with value,” said Han Jae-sun, CEO of Ground X.
“You will be able to see what kind of new experience transferring value could bring to you,” the former chief technology officer of startup accelerator Future Play added.
Industry sources see the involvement of Naver and Kakao, two internet behemoths with millions of users, could bring about mass adoption of blockchain.
“Both companies already have popular services and when they introduce blockchian-based reward tokens, other companies will follow suit,” said an industry source.
Kakao has over 50 million active monthly users as of the second quarter of this year, while Line boasts 164 million users including 76 million in Japan.
“We can expect many content-related blockchain services as both Naver and Kakao have said content services such as games would be the core business of their blockchain services,” he noted.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)