It was in June last year that Naver began to move officially in the blockchain industry. The leading Korean internet company established Unblock to help develop the token economy of its Japanese subsidiary Line. In June, Line set up Unchain Corporation, a joint venture with the global blockchain network Icon, to develop the blockchain platform of Link. Link’s betanet was released one month later.
A genesis block was created from the betanet in August 2018. In September, Link Chain was announced officially and two decentralized applications (DApps) appeared. In October, LINK, the cryptocurrency of Link Chain, was listed on Bitbox, Line’s cryptocurrency exchange.
Line crossing the line
Line, which is operating Link Chain, launched LINEAR Network last month. LINEAR Network has a concept of interchain connecting the root chain, the main chain, with each stable leaf chain. LINEAR Network, designed to enhance the platform’s scalability and stability, will be open to DApps of other platforms in the second half of this year.
“(If you exploit LINEAR Network), you can freely set the chain’s confirmation time, information processing speed and storage space in accordance with the characteristics or requirements of various services like shopping and finance,” said a PR official at Line, adding that “we will offer customized blockchain platform services specific to diverse DApps based on this.”
LINK framework, which is now undergoing a closed beta test, is a tool kit aimed at raising smaller developers’ development convenience, cutting costs and minimizing operating work. It is also one of many projects intended to draw more DApps to Link Chain like LINEAR Network. Developers will be able to get web-based application programming interface (API) and user interface (UI) through the tool kit, a collection of utilities necessary for the development of DApps. Its open beta test is scheduled for the second half of this year.
LINK Wallet, the gateway connecting the cryptocurrency space with the real world, will be open to the public in the first half of this year. Whether the wallet will mount such functions as custody of other cryptocurrencies than LINK reportedly has yet to be determined.
DApps of external developers
DApps in Link Chain were begun by Line. 4CAST and Wizball, which are now in service, are DApps developed by Line itself. The cryptocurrency exchange on which LINK is traded is Bitbox, an affiliate of Line. For this reason, there has been criticism that Line was intending to create its own kingdom when Link Chain was launched.
Yet Line has a plan to display diverse DApps through partnerships with outside entities. DApps of external developers are expected to appear on Link Chain in the first half. Pasha, a merchandise review platform; TAPAS, a restaurant review platform; and STEP, a travel site review platform are among those DApps to be released soon Line announced last year.
Line is eager to develop new items through contests. Line selected 20 prize-winning teams through blockchain contests twice last year in cooperation with the Korean Institute of Information Scientists and Engineers. The teams having won the excellence award and higher will get incentives when applying to enter Line.
A Line official said, “We provided finalists in recent contests with the same development environment as Link Chain for the first time. We expect more students to take part in contests to produce more excellent DApps.”
Line also had announced that it will expand its public blockchain platform to enable even individuals and smaller developers to take part.
Unlike Ethereum, EOS and Klaytn, Link Chain aims for an ecosystem consisting of a single token, LINK. That’s why critics have raised the possibility that Line may face difficulties in generating new innovation by mixing diverse ideas in the melting plot.
“A number of DApps based on business models and ideas large companies have yet to imagine must appear to make a successful platform. Line is surely aware of this,” said a representative at a local blockchain project team, forecasting that Line may open its platform and policies gradually to attract more superb DApps. /email@example.com
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