Following the actions of competing communications apps like Telegram, Line and Kik, the latest hoping to enter the cryptosphere is Viber. The firm is considering support for a native token that will be launched by its parent company, Rakuten Coin.
Viber Rakuten Coin
Viber is an instant messaging and voice over IP app originally developed in Israel. It was bought by the Japanese online giant Rakuten in 2014 for $900 million, and now has over a billion registered users worldwide. Its parent company, which announced plans to launch ‘Rakuten Coin’ based on its existing loyalty program back in February, is reportedly now studying Russian law in order to launch the token via Viber in Russia in 2019.
“Our mother company is creating Rakuten Coin: cryptocurrency, which is supported by the entire Rakuten ecosystem,” Viber Chief Executive Officer Djamel Agaoua told reporters on Tuesday according to the Russian news agency Tass. “This Rakuten Coin will be tradeable in Viber,” and the token will appear in the Viber wallet, he noted. “Very soon you’ll be able to send some Rakuten Coins and to trade Rakuten Coins against rubles, dollars and euros,” with possible transfers to bank accounts depending on Russian law.
Messaging Apps Love Cryptocurrencies and Tokens
Leading communications apps have been part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem for a while now. Back in 2017 Kik Messenger, which has over 300 million registered users and is mostly popular with teenagers, raised nearly $100 million from more than 10,000 ICO investors in 117 countries for its Kin token. Telegram raised a whopping $1.7 billion earlier this year from a small group investors just in anticipation of an ICO that wasn’t eventually needed.
And just last week it was reported that the operator of Line, Japan’s most popular chat app with approximately 200 million users worldwide, has confirmed the upcoming launch of its own cryptocurrency exchange called Bitbox. The new platform will list more than 30 of the most popular cryptocurrencies, offering “low trading fees”. Supporting 15 languages, the new exchange will launch globally, except for two countries.
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