Asian mobile messaging firm Kakao has made an investment in its first blockchain startup in a deal with Israel’s Orbs.

Tel Aviv-based Orbs is building a universal blockchain productivity layer.

The money comes from Kakao Investment, the venture arm of the leading South Korean internet conglomerate. The investment builds on Orbs’ existing partnership with Kakao blockchain subsidiary Ground X, where the two companies agreed to partner on blockchain applications and research and development projects.

The investment will focus on helping Orbs further the protocol’s development and growth.

“With Kakao’s consumer applications counting more than 50 million active users worldwide, the investment in Orbs represents a significant endorsement of the long-term potential of our technology,” said Daniel Peled, Orbs CEO, in a statement. “Kakao Investment’s relationship with Orbs reflects our regional strength and the potential we offer to make blockchain a powerful growth engine for its business units. Kakao was among the first major tech companies to recognize that blockchain is the future, and Orbs is excited to be a bigger part of that journey.”

Orbs announced earlier this year that its production-ready environment will go live in early 2019, and the company is actively working with partners to help the onboarding process. Kakao Investment has been focused heavily on the blockchain sector and is among the leading venture arms in the sector.

“Kakao Investment is focused on identifying key trendsetters and innovators in the blockchain sector and Orbs is a great example,” said Kris Park, executive director of Kakao Investment, in a statement. “The company has developed an innovative business model and possesses unique technological capabilities, enabling us to support the company and maximize its potential.”

Orbs was recognized in August as an emerging blockchain technology vendor by world-leading research firm Gartner.

A public blockchain to complement base-layer protocols, Orbs serves as universal second layer for decentralized applications in need of more secure, scalable, and cost-efficient solutions, while leveraging the liquidity of a base layer.

The company also recently expanded its operations into South Korea with a headquarters in Seoul and partnered with both Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary Ground X and stablecoin Terra to focus on research and development efforts.

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