LineNext, a web3 unit of the popular Japanese messaging app Line, has just secured $140 million in funding to expand its web3 platform. This latest investment round was led by Crescendo Equity Partners, a private equity firm backed by Silicon Valley titan Peter Thiel, based in South Korea.
The timing of this funding comes almost a year after LineNext launched its beta service, a consumer-to-consumer(C2C) marketplace built on its non-fungible token (NFT) platform, DOSI. According to Woosuk Kim, LineNext’s business director, the previous beta release of DOSI was primarily focused on “testing the waters” for various web3 services, such as NFT platforms, avatar features, games, and entertainment, as reported by TechCrunch.
With their new capital, LineNext plans to officially launch its NFT platform DOSI and other web3 services in January of next year. These include the release of a mobile app for DOSI, which will be accessible to users globally, as well as the integration of popular games and over 100 partners from LINE NFT in Japan into the DOSI platform. Additionally, a new development tool will be offered to help Web 2 brands transform into digital products on the web3 platform, giving users full ownership to trade their products directly on DOSI. LineNext also has plans for a new social app that will allow users to communicate through AI avatars and introduce new web3 games featuring Line’s beloved character, Brown and Friends.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Kim stated, “For the full launch in January, we are expanding our services to include brand memberships, event tickets, and games. We are also working on adding new major international mobile payment options beyond Naver Pay and LINE Pay.”
LineNext’s ultimate goal is to “popularize” web3 for everyone, targeting all users who are interested in owning valuable digital products, whether they are app users, gamers, consumers, or entertainment enthusiasts.
Despite the recent downturn in the NFT market, LineNext remains optimistic about its future. According to Kim, the company firmly believes that NFTs will become the new standard for valuable digital goods. While acknowledging that there were many speculative products during the initial NFT boom, the company aims to rebuild and expand the market.
During its beta product period, LineNext has managed to amass an impressive 5.5 million users globally, with more than 470,000 cumulative transactions. The company generates revenue by charging platform fees from its users. However, Line Next plans to introduce additional revenue models as it continues to issue, distribute, and trade in digital products.
One of the key differentiators for LineNext is its global infrastructure and expertise, based on its successful global services. Additionally, LineNext will offer its services on its public blockchain mainnet, Finschia, which boasts transaction speeds 400 times faster and network usage fees 98% lower than Ethereum.
LineNext Korea will handle the company’s web3 business strategy, while LineNext US will be responsible for the NFT platform and its operations.
In 2021, LineNext received $10 million in strategic investment from ten companies, including SoftBank Corporation, Naver, Naver Webtoon, Naver Z, Line Games, CJ ENM, YG Plus, Hashed, Shinsegae, and K Auction. The company is fully owned by LY Corporation, a merger of SoftBank Group’s Z Holdings and four subsidiaries, including Line Corporation and Yahoo! Japan.