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Crypto Exchange Backed by Social Media Titan Line Shuts Down

(Bloomberg) -- Bitfront, a crypto exchange backed by Japan’s social media giant Line Corp., said it’s shutting down amid challenges in a “rapidly evolving” industry.

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The company has “regretfully determined that we need to shut down Bitfront in order to continue growing the LINE blockchain ecosystem and LINK token economy,” it said in a statement on its website.

The US-based firm signaled the step isn’t connected to the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX exchange by saying the closure is unrelated to “certain exchanges that have been accused of misconduct.”

Bitfront had six coins and 13 trading pairs and a 24-hour volume of nearly $94 million, according to CoinGecko. That’s a small fraction of total trading volumes in the crypto sector of almost $57 billion over the same period.

Bitfront said it stopped new sign-ups and credit card payments as of Nov. 28. It will suspend all withdrawals on March 31, 2023 and asked customers to withdraw all their assets by then.

Line opened Bitfront in 2020 under the goal of bringing the cryptocurrency industry into the mainstream.

(Updates from the fourth paragraph with details on volumes.)

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