Some of East Asia’s biggest tech companies are delving ever deeper into the world of crypto, with Japanese and South Korean mega-companies eyeing metaverse, non-fungible token (NFT), Web3, and blockchain business expansion.
The South Korean telecoms and chaebol business giant SK, which is currently working on launching a cryptoasset that will be compatible with a wide array of the group’s services, says it will launch a metaverse product this year.
According to Asia Kyungjae, SK has made an undisclosed “equity investment” in Morph Interactive, a company it has partnered with since 2021 as it looks to speed up the introduction of new layers of functionality for its Ifland metaverse platform.
SK, which has cornered over a third of the lucrative South Korean mobile carrier and IP space, says it wants to “create a crypto economy” that is both “gamified” and also makes use of customizable avatars that make use of NFTs. SK wants the project to be up and running before the year is out – a similar kind of timeline it has outlined for its subsidiary SK Square, which is working on the token launch.
Morph, which specializes in 3-D design for the metaverse space, was quoted as explaining that it was working to turn Ifland into “a communication tool that is actively used in the corporate business environment,” as well as an integral part of the “daily lives” of ordinary “users.”
The South Korean search engine behemoth Naver, which last month invested in a number of metaverse-themed startups via its own Naver Z metaverse arm, is also the creator of the chat app giant Line. Although the app has enjoyed limited success in South Korea, it has become Japan’s biggest communication platform. In Japan, Line has launched a crypto exchange, as well as a number of other crypto-related initiatives. Its token is listed on a number of domestic crypto trading platforms.
And the firm now wants to repeat this success with its Line NFT business arm, which, per an official announcement, launched this week with 40,000 NFT offerings. The project has already seen the firm collaborate with the Japanese entertainment giant Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings to produce exclusive NFT videos named Yoshimoto NFT Theater. It has also struck a deal that will see it release NFTs inspired by the anime series Mobile Police Patlabor.
The firm said that more NFT items would be added at a later point, and that its NFTs could be stored in wallets generated by its Line Bitmax Japanese crypto exchange using either its link coin or a payment gateway for its Line Pay e-payments platform.
Also in Japan, the gaming giant and toymaker Namco Bandai is set to invest some USD 24m in Web3, metaverse, and blockchain projects. CoinPost reported that the firm, which owns a series of lucrative intellectual property titles, will look to spread its investments out over the space of three years.
Namco Bandai is also looking to ensure that its investments are diverse, and will range from pre-seed stage equity injections to late-stage funding drives as it looks to expand its metaverse presence.
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