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South Korea’s Kakao, Naver merge blockchain projects to launch ‘kaia’

South Korean internet giants Naver (NASDAQ: NHNCF) and Kakao are set to merge their blockchain projects, seeking to become “Asia’s largest blockchain platform.”

Kakao, the internet giant behind Korea’s most popular messaging app, operates Klaytn, the country’s largest native blockchain network with a market cap of $671 million. It targets enterprise users with a modular network architecture that enables them to build service chains atop its mainnet.

Naver, South Korea’s leading search engine, is behind Finschia, a blockchain network developed by its Japanese subsidiary, Line. It operates one of Asia’s largest non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces.

The two internet giants have combined forces to launch kaia, a new blockchain network that will merge the two. They both received votes of approval from their respective communities earlier this year. The merger will be overseen by Project Dragon, a consultative body formed by executives from both companies.

“Such a merger of blockchain operators is not common. The anticipation is high from both in and out of Korea,” commented Seo Sang-min, the Klaytn Foundation chairman.

Seo revealed that the new network derives its name from the Greek word for “and,” reflecting its aim to connect the two blockchain communities.

Kaia will combine the two ecosystems’ tokens, KLAY and FNSA, into a new unified coin. Once it launches, holders of the two will redeem their tokens for the new one. Project Dragon executives are in talks with exchanges to update the listings and ensure a smooth transition.

“We are committed to positioning ourselves as a leading blockchain mainnet in the Asian market by collaborating with partners, including LINE Next,” commented Seo.

South Korea bars initial coin offerings, forcing the two firms to move their operations to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where they expect to launch the new token by the end of June. Seo revealed that the choice of its new headquarters was easy, as Abu Dhabi is one of a few global destinations with a clear regulatory framework for digital asset firms.

However, the new entity will have a globally distributed workforce and maintain operations in Korea, Singapore, and Japan.

“Our goal to establish a no.1 blockchain in Asia following this merger remains unchanged. We aim to create technological synergy rather than merely integrating two networks into one,” commented Kim Woo-Seok, director of the Finschia Foundation.

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