Japan’s Nomura Invests in Line’s LVC to Develop Blockchain Financial Services

Japan’s oldest brokerage has formed a blockchain-focused partnership with the operator of the country’s most popular messenger.

In an announcement dated Oct. 4, Nomura Holdings, the parent company of Nomura Securities, said it made an investment in LVC, a subsidiary of South Korean-controlled Line, following an agreement signed on Sept. 24.

Terms were not disclosed.

Nomura said that the venture will be developing financial services utilizing blockchain technology. The partnership will make use of Line’s large user base—81 million in Japan—and well-developed user experience and Nomura’s financial experience and expertise.

The release also mentions LVC’s Bitmax exchange, which went live on Sept. 17, less than two weeks after receiving approval from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).

In January 2019, the companies announced that they were engaged in negotiations on the deal with a March target for final agreement. The earlier disclosure mentions that LVC’s capital will be increased through a placement of new shares to Nomura.

In the January announcement, LVC’s capital is listed as 1.21 billion yen ($11.3 million) as of Jul. 31, 2018. In the recent release, the company’s capital is listed as 5.06 billion yen as of Oct. 4. 2019, suggesting that Nomura may have invested almost 4 billion yen in the company.

Shinjuku, Tokyo-based Line is 73.36-percent owned by South Korea’s Naver, a listed technology conglomerate.

Nomura has been on a tear for some time in terms of blockchain investment. In May 2018, it formed Komainu with Ledger and Global Advisors to develop digital custody solutions. In July this year, the company invested in San Francisco-based Quantstamp, a smart-contract security company, and in September this year, it set up Boostry with Nomura Research Institute. The venture is developing blockchain solutions for trading securities. Just last week, Nomura and five other brokerages formed a self-regulatory organization (SRO) for crypto offerings.

While Japanese regulators have been cautious due to the 2014 collapse of Mt Gox and the 2018 hack of Coincheck, recent signs suggest they are warming crypto. In addition to approving new exchanges, the FSA has issued guideline on fund investment in crypto.

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