South Korea’s Largest Messaging App Plans Blockchain Unit with ICO Launch
Kakao Corp, operator South Korea’s largest messaging platform KakaoTalk, is set establish a subsidiary focused on blockchain technology coinciding with the launch of Kakao’s own ICO.
Tentatively dubbed ‘Kakao Blockchain’, the new subsidiary will focus on developing blockchain solutions although it is unclear what the business plan is or where the company’s focus would lie. Kakao Corp is planning to announce a concrete roadmap and business plan in a press conference on March 20th, the Huffington Post Korea reports.
According to Korean publication MT, the establishment of the new blockchain-specific unit Is also seeing Kakao pondering the launch of its own cryptocurrency, ‘Kakao Coin’, through an initial coin offering (ICO). Kakao is looking at overseas jurisdictions, Singapore and Hong Kong in particular, to launch and conduct its ICO as they are currently ruled illegal in South Korea. As reported previously, South Korea’s financial regulator moved to ban initial coin offerings in late September 2017.
With its own cryptocurrency, Kakao is also planning to reportedly introduce the token in a number of services and applications including Kakao Driver, Kakao Games and KakaoTalk as a direct substitute for fiat money. Users of Kakao Corp’s applications like KakaoTalk and KakaoPay, the mobile payment subsidiary of the company, will be able to use Kakao Coin like cash in payments within the company’s applications with products sold at a lower cost for crypto payments.
With some 93% of South Korea’s population using KakaoTalk as their preferred messaging platform, the launch and usage of Kakao Coin is certain to be followed keenly in jurisdiction that continues to outlaw ICOs to this day. Kakao, through a subsidiary, has already forayed into the cryptocurrency space with the launch of Upbit, a cryptocurrency exchange with support for some 110 tokens last September.
Kakao’s reported plans for an ICO follow the $850 million ICO presale of popular encrypted messaging app Telegram in February. A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission revealed the ‘closed’ presale was only open to 81 investors, preceding a second rumored private presale that could push Telegram’s crypto fundraising well beyond the billion-dollar mark.
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