The Korea Herald

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Line, Kakao eye Asia’s No. 1 blockchain network

By Im Eun-byel

Published : April 30, 2024 - 17:56

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Blockchain platform operators under Korean tech giants Line and Kakao are to complete integration under the new brand name "kaia" in June, the entities announced Tuesday.

Project Dragon, created through a merge of Kakao's blockchain platform Klaytn Foundation and Finschia Foundation under Naver's affiliate Line Tech Plus, said it plans to complete the integration of the respective blockchain ecosystems in June, following a merger announced in February.

“Such a merger of blockchain operators is not common. The anticipation is high from both in and out of Korea,” Klaytn Foundation Chairman Seo Sang-min said at a press event held in southern Seoul.

“Though the overall blockchain industry has developed over the years, only the price of bitcoin has been on the rise, and there has not been other noticeable growth in the sector,” Finschia Foundation Director Kim Woo-seok said.

“The momentum of growth in terms of assets is here. The real growth will come within this year or next year, and we plan to ride on the wave,” Kim said.

The establishment of the kaia blockchain will proceed in two phases. The first phase is about issuing kaia cryptocurrency and establishing its main net, referring to the main network where crypto transactions occur.

The unified kaia token will be available for Finschia and Klaytn coin holders to claim. An exchange of existing tokens will be completed by the end of June.

The second phase, which focuses on the expansion of the user base, will take place in the second half of this year. The entities will cooperate with Naver's blockchain affiliate Line Next and other partners to strengthen the brand identity.

The entities are to set up an integrated foundation in Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates.

“We are to establish a foundation based in Abu Dhabi, considering that the city is where we can work under a clear framework,” Seo said.

“But this does not mean all of our staff will move there. We strive to become a global entity, having our crew spread across the world from Singapore, Korea and Japan and beyond,” Seo explained.

The merged entities hold a market capitalization of around 1.3 trillion won ($940 million), the largest blockchain platform in terms of assets in Asia. Klaytn is worth nearly 1 trillion won and Finschia is valued at around 300 billion won, according to global price-tracking platform CoinMarketCap.

“By utilizing the networks of partner companies such as Kakao and Line, we can become the No. 1 platform in Asia,” Seo said, highlighting an expansion of the user base as necessary for further growth.

Finschia and Klaytn were founded in August and December of 2018, respectively. Though backed by Korean tech giants Naver and Kakao, the two entities both have experienced difficulties in expanding their presence amid recession in the local blockchain industry.

The two entities agreed to merge through a vote in February with an aim to build Asia’s largest Web3 ecosystem.

“Though Finschia and Klaytn have separate roles in the project, we aim to eventually unify the two foundations into a single body,” Kim said.

“The two entities have secured an equal number of seats on the board for the time being,” Kim said. “We will explain more on how the organization will be managed when the brand kaia is officially introduced in June.”