Line to launch cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore

Slated to be available in July, the exchange will offer at least 30 cryptocurrencies globally--excluding Japan and the US--and support 15 languages. including Korean and English.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Line has unveiled plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore next month, offering at least 30 virtual currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoincash.

The Tokyo-based messaging platform said the exchange would be made available globally, with the exception of Japan and the US, and support 15 languages including Korean and English.

Called Bitbox, the cryptocurrency exchange would be operated by Singapore-based Line Tech Plus, which was jointly set up in April 2018 by Line and its blockchain business subsidiary, LVC.

The exchange would facilitate transactions between cryptocurrencies and would not support transactions involving fiat money, Line said, adding that it would charge a 0.1 percent trading fee.

"With the need to trade cryptocurrencies rising around the world, Line has been preparing to provide opportunities for users to do so securely," it said.

The exchange would comply with regulations governing cryptocurrency trading in all markets it which it traded, Line said.

Singapore's industry regulator last month said eight cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country had been warned not to engage in unauthorised trading, specifically, those involving securities or futures contracts. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also had instructed an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) issuer to cease its offering of digital tokens to investors. It had cautioned the public about the lack of regulatory safeguard for investments in cryptocurrencies. 

This had followed a previous cautionary note from MAS, urging the general public to understand the risks before investing in cryptocurrencies as these were not recognised as legal tender and functioned in an unregulated environment.

South Korean exchanges, Coilrail and Bithumb, earlier this month suffered security breaches that saw an estimated loss of US$71 million in tokens collectively.

According to McAfee Labs, malicious cryptomining schemes also were emerging as a popular tactic for cybercriminals as these were low risk in nature and easy to exploit. The security vendor noted that, earlier in the year, vulnerabilities in Tesla and Telegram were exploited by cybercriminals for illicit cryptomining activities.

"Cryptomining malware is increasingly being introduced for mobile devices, putting Asia Pacific, the world leader in smartphone ownership and use, especially at risk,"McAfee said in a report this week. It noted that coin miner malware climbed 629 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

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