Min Kim, Co-founder of ICON, spoke exclusively to CryptoNewsZ and discussed about the journey of the ICON network, its innovative techniques, and the grand plan for the next development phase of the ICON Republic.
Min Kim is one of the most prominent experts in the South Korean blockchain, cryptocurrency, and ICO spaces. A consummate professional and leader, Min Kim has more than a decade of experience as an investment banker, financial executive, and startup founder. His tremendous expertise and foresight have infused unparalleled value to the revolutionary technology of blockchain.
CryptoNewsZ: Thanks for joining us today. Please tell us something about yourself and your journey so far.
I started my career as an investment banker at Deutsche Bank, doing equity, debt, and M&A deals for technology clients. I jumped into the startup world right after. Before ICON, I joined DAYLI Financial Group as Chief Strategy Officer and helped the company establish itself as one of the top fintech companies in the world. DAYLI is where I began exploring blockchain technology, and now I’m somehow knee-deep in the industry.
The journey has been incredible, and perhaps, incredibly painful as well. There are so much energy and support. And I believe that’s because blockchain is beyond making money; it’s about bringing real change to the way we work and live together as a human race. However, as we all know, the technology is in a very early stage, and it’s painful because we have to be very patient and put a lot of work in learning, experimenting, and laying out the basic foundation.
CryptoNewsZ: ICON aims to ‘Hyperconnect the World.’ How does ICON plan to achieve this?
ICON has a vision of building a digital nation known as the ICON Republic where disparate and heterogeneous communities with differing economic, social and governance ideals can interact seamlessly over the ICON network through the unique implementation of BTP (Blockchain Transfer Protocol).
The protocol will enable blockchains within the ICON network to exchange value similar to that of a decentralized exchange. Service invocations are also possible, where the execution of a smart contract on another blockchain will share the same result. BTP further enables horizontal scaling similar to the side chain approach. Bridging communities allows for value and information to be shared seamlessly across the network, thus empowering the next evolution of the digital transformation.
We’re expanding the ICON ecosystem and are planning to achieve our vision by fostering developments on two fronts. The first is the public network, by creating partnerships in blockchain space, growing new generation of entrepreneurs by operating international accelerator programs, and engaging in developer outreach programs. The second front would be to build various private blockchain networks on top of the ICON’s proprietary blockchain via ICON Nexus.
CryptoNewsZ: What is the basic concept of ICONLOOP? What is the difference between ICONLOOP and ICON?
ICONLOOP is the main technology partner of the ICON Foundation and a part of ICON project as a whole.
ICON is based on an enterprise blockchain technology called loopchain, ICONLOOP’s proprietary blockchain engine. ICONLOOP has been building private networks with various business partners in both the private and public sector, including with the South Korean Government. The use cases on the public chain will be part of the hyperconnected ICON network via the ICON Nexus, and every transaction will require ICX for transaction fees.
CryptoNewsZ: What was the idea behind private blockchains?
Private or enterprise blockchain are generally developed for businesses and are only accessible to authorized users. These are often easier to develop and maintain and offer functions such as multi-party transactions between contracting entities as well as data exchange and tracking. This model offers increased privacy to corporations dealing with sensitive data. Many are curated towards the specific needs of the business in question and promise improved efficiency and cost reduction. The biggest difference, as opposed to public blockchains, is that acceptance to the said network requires an authorization. Therefore, since only authorized participants can enter and use the network, private blockchains generally tend to possess faster transaction speed.
Enterprises are making decisions based on whether public/private blockchain implementation is effective for their respective business models. This is leading to increased demand for a ‘hybrid blockchain model’ where connectivity between public and private blockchain network is utilized. That’s where ICON comes in.
CryptoNewsZ: Please tell us how the idea of ICONsensus and ICON P-Rep Election evolved. What is the main motive behind these innovative drives? What are the benefits?
Our idea of ICONSENSUS – a combined brand name of ICON with CONSENSUS – symbolizes our mission to achieve four milestones:
1. The election of P-Reps (Public Representatives) to decentralize the network
2. The election of C-Reps (Community Representatives) to support interchain communication
3. Ongoing DBPs (DApp Booster Programs) to fund and promote quality decentralized applications
4. Ongoing EEPs (Ecosystem Expansion Projects) to incentivize activities that grow the ICON Ecosystem.
We believe the eight-month election campaign (ending in September) will reward every ICONist fairly for their contributions to the network based on our governance system, DPoC(Delegated Proof of Contribution). The ICONists who wish to become P-Rep will gain their rewards as the block producer and as representatives of ICON Network. The ICONist who vote will receive a voting reward upon their staking. The election of P-Reps is the first milestone of ICONSENSUS, a community movement with the ICON Foundation and all of ICON community.
Vote, spread, and disrupt; these are the steps needed to reach ICONSENSUS.
ICONist’s staking reward details will be released soon with the IISS (ICON Incentive Scoring System) update. The Annual staking reward rates are estimated between 2% to 12% depending on the percentage of network staked. In addition to representative voting reward, EEP and DApp voting reward will be distributed accordingly. There will be a Pre-Voting event on August with staking feature for the ICONist with voting rewards distributed from the public treasury. It is a community event to promote and educate the network participants prior to the on-chain P-Rep Election in September. Based on a 30% delegation rate assumption, the average ICONist can expect a 15.81% (5.27% * 3 type of staking) annualized reward during the pre-voting period. The full list of P-Rep candidates can be found at our ICONSENSUS portal.
CryptoNewsZ: What makes the ICX token unique from others? Why should anyone invest in ICX?
The answer can be divided into three I suppose: the first characteristics that make ICX unique are the fact ICON has smart contracts written in Python, a favorable transaction fee system to ease the burden on users, and on-chain incentive systems for developers.
Secondly, ICON has a unique governance system called Delegated Proof of Contribution, where all token holders have the opportunity to contribute to governance, decentralized application development, and the expansion of the ICON Ecosystem. Token holders can stake their ICX to contribute to these categories, earning anywhere from 6% to 36% in rewards. This obviously acts as an incentive mechanism for participating in the network, making it worthy for community members to take part or invest.
Lastly, our team in Korea has made significant progress increasing adoption of blockchain with enterprises and government, which is aligned with our vision. If we manage to achieve even 20% of our entire vision, it would mean the ICON ecosystem will flourish and ICX along with it.
CryptoNewsZ: Kindly brief us about ICON’s plans for 2019? How is the team gearing up for that?
By year-end, ICON plans to complete the majority (if not all) of the features laid out in the whitepaper including interoperability with heterogeneous chains. Our interchain protocol, BTP, will be available.
We are looking forward to successful P-Rep Election on September when the network will become fully decentralized, and we expect increased utility of the ICX token. As completing the first step of ICONSENSUS campaign, We will continue our journey with the next steps in ecosystem expansion.
The genesis summit with the elected P-Reps will be held to declare the decentralization of the ICON Network. This event will celebrate the new era of ICON and give representatives the opportunity to discuss the future of the network. The first membership of ICONgress will be organized this year, too. The ICONgress is an off-chain governance body of the ICON Network consisting of P-Reps, C-Reps, DApps, EEP contributors, blockchain experts, and ICON team members. We expect this initiative to be the agora to discuss the long-term strategy and governance of the ICON Network, technology standards, and interoperability with different chains.
Furthermore, we plan to grow our exposure outside of Korea, including areas such as China, Southeast Asia, and Africa. The team will be very busy in the back half of the year in order to hit our deadlines, but we’re excited for the next phase of growth for the ICON Republic.