Viber, originally developed in Israel, is an instant messaging and voice over IP app. Rakuten, the Japanese online giant, bought the app in 2014 for $900 million. Viber now has over a billion registered users worldwide. A report says that Rakuten, which has plans in launching ‘Rakuten Coin’ based on its existing loyalty program back in February, is now studying Russian law so as to launch its token via Viber in Russia by 2019.
According to the Russian news agency Tass, Viber Chief Executive Officer, Djamal Agaoua, told reporters on Tuesday that, “Our mother company is creating Rakuten Coin: cryptocurrency, which is supported by the entire Rakuten ecosystem.” He noted that “This Rakuten Coin will be tradeable in Viber,” and the token will appear in the Viber wallet. “Very soon you’ll be able to send some Rakuten Coins and to trade Rakuten Coins against rubles, dollars, and euros,” with possible transfers to bank accounts depending on Russian law.
This is not the first communication app trying to be part of the cryptocurrency family. In 2017, the very popular app among teenagers, Kik Messenger, with more than 300 million registered users, raised about $100 million from more than 10,000 ICO investors in 117 countries for its Kin token. Telegram has raised a colossal $1.7 billion sometime this year from a small group of investors just in anticipation of an ICO that was actually not needed.
A report says that just last week, the operator of Line, Japan’s most popular chat app has confirmed it will soon be launching its own cryptocurrency exchange called Bitbox. The new platform will have over 30 of the most popular cryptocurrencies, listed, with “low trading fees.” The new exchange will be launched globally except for 2 countries and will be supporting 15 languages.