ICON – Speculative Handbook

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*Bookmark this page; we will be updating it regularly with a roundup of ICON related news (Hype and FUD); as well as any details of exchange listing.

Disclaimer: Speculator here; I am time-poor and only look closely at and write about projects i believe in, have invested in or plan on investing in. Information below aims to be impartial; however it is not investment advice. Do your due diligence. Crypto is a wild and turbulent environment. Good luck in the vols to come.


Quick Links:
11May: ICON | A Notable Approach to Network Effect
27Jan: Network of Networks
23Dec: ICON Network & Partnerships
13Dec: Price Speculation & Hype Roundup
12Dec: ICONnect Meetup #2
22Nov: HitBTC Futures | Accurate Price Prediction?
21Nov: ICON (ICX) – The Story So Far


11 May: ICON | A Notable Approach to Network Effect

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Follow the growth of ICON Network

The diagram will be updated on a regular basis with links to the relevant information for further reading. While every effort will be made to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date, if there is any misinformation, the community’s constructive feedback is very welcome by the team at Speculative Rationality.

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Network Effect 

ICON has a vision to hyper-connect the world through a trustless self-propagating global society built on distributed ledger technology(DLT).  More importantly, it has the muscle power and the means to execute on that vision with a clear blueprint and a focus on building a network that snowballs to critical mass.

Many projects are working towards the elusive notion of “adoption”, ICON is noteworthy for its conscious and very deliberate allocation of resources to that end – the team behind the project has spent considerable time and energy building a proprietary enterprise solution, establishing defensible relationships and fostering partnerships over the last few years – the end goal is enhancing the “network effect” of the ICON ecosystem. Network effect is a phenomenon whereby a product or service gains additional value as more people use it. We see ICON’s approach to accelerating its “network effect” as two pronged

  1. loopchain technology (enterprise adoption): a proprietary enterprise Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) with a modular architecture that can be tailored to meet required specifications of any industry. its success is underpinned by its ability to ensure that its proprietary technology has low barriers to entry:
    • It is easily deployable (handholding by ICON developers for implementation)
    • It is responsive and easily customizable
    • It takes into consideration existing tech and addresses port over barriers
    • It is flexible to adapt as the broader DLT technology landscape evolves
  2. Partnerships strategy (connectivity to a broader network via ICON public ledger): execution of planned partnerships with enterprises from various industries that not only adopt the loopchain technology but also give back to the technology by working together in mutually beneficial collaborations that invigorate the ICON network.

It is easy to see that the two prongs of this approach feed into each other in what might be referred to as a “virtuous cycle”. The low threshold to adopt loopchain technology ushers in greater usership in the realm of enterprise blockchain technology, and the formalization of partnership with ICON (the public ledger iteration of theloop technology) entrenches value in the ICON ecosystem. This in turn makes it more attractive to participate in the ecosystem (whether on the private or public side) for proximity and ability to access the value captured therein.

loopchain Technology

loopchain is a high-performance enterprise blockchain with Smart Contract features that can be customized according to the operational needs of its users and it can be linked with other distributed ledger networks. The implementation of adoption agnostic characteristics into the very fiber of the technology is evident at each layer that makes up loopchain as detailed below. For a more technical dive into the technology’s implementation see our earlier post on ICON: Network of Networks.

  1. LFT Consensus Algorithm

LFT (Loop Fault Tolerance) is an enhanced BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance) based algorithm that promotes faster consensus and ensures the finality of the consensus without the possibility of forks within the network. LFT supports faster consensus by creating a group among trusted nodes. LFT can accommodate diverse consensus structure by allowing such groups or nodes to freely determine the number of votes. (Source: ICON Whitepaper)

As blockchain platforms are being challenged to meet the rigorous demands of real world application, such as low latencies, immediate transaction finality, high performance and scalability – a secure and robust consensus model is essential to the overall operation of the blockchain. loopchain’s LFT consensus was built on precisely these fundamentals to serve the needs of its real-world customers; initial iterations focused on the financial sector but we have seen that expand to a multitude of diverse industries. The successful implementation of loopchain across such a wide range of use cases aptly demonstrates the adoptability of the technology.

  1. SCORE (Smart Contract On Reliable Environment)

The real-world operational requirements of institutes, consortiums necessitate high performance, efficiency and practical application of smart contracts. As such SCORE is an enhanced Smart Contract feature of loopchain that ensures high-performance contracts to run directly in the node operation environment (in a container-based runtime separate from the basic blockchain process) without a separate Virtual Machine (VM). The architecture enhances efficiency while protecting overall blockchain processes from any errors occurring in the Smart Contract.

Additionally, SCORE Store allows efficient and convenient registration, deployment, and versioning of Smart Contracts making it easily deployable for various applications. SCORE Local Repository has a revision control system and versioning capability that does not require data migration with every update to the smart contract; enabling smart contract updates that can be executed easily and quickly.

  1. Multi-Channel

In a practical business environment, there are a multitude of different tasks and compliance requirements with specific needs involving only certain parties; as such dedicated and closed-system sub ledgers are required. loopchain caters for this requirement through its multi-channel feature.

The multi-channel feature enables a blockchain network to consist of independent channels that can in a contained manner execute requests, consensus and Smart Contracts within the network without having to establish a separate ledger. Since the channel is established with only relevant trusted nodes, the integrity and assurance are ensured on a channel-by-channel basis, and transaction data is held only by actual transaction parties.

  1. Tiered System

loopchain controls the level of information each participant can access, manage, and supervise. The permissioning capacity built into the technology allows for easy transition from existing organizational structures to operation on the blockchain.

  1. Modular Architecture

loopchain modular architecture is composed of separate components that can be connected together including an interface layer, engine layer and an admin layer. As a result, any entity that joins the ICON network is able to customize modules for nodes verification, consensus algorithms, Smart Contracts etc. as is required for their specific operation. Additionally, they are able to replace or add any one component (module) without affecting the rest of the system – ensuring sustainability of the network system as the landscape evolves around it.

  1. Legacy System interoperability

In order to facilitate the transition from legacy systems, loopchain provides various SDKs (software development kits) according to existing operating systems such as Java, C, Node.js, Python etc. Clients and authorized institutions are able to use the SDK to access loopchain proxy via Rest API which is designed to take advantage of existing protocols and to connect to blockchain peers via gRPC. gRPC is a modern, open source remote procedure call (RPC) framework that can run anywhere. It enables client and server applications to communicate transparently and makes it easier to build connected systems.

  1. Network Interoperability methods

There are two ways for loopchain to connect to third party blockchains, whether permissioned or public.

  • By adding a special node designed for interoperability – “Interop Node”.
  • Via Blockchain Transfer Protocol (BTP), which facilitates transactions between independent blockchains

Partnership Strategy

The breadth of connections that manifest themselves in the “ICON ecosystem” are deliberate and far-reaching. The industries that ICON and its technology providers theloop and DAVinci (subsidiary and brand of DAYLI Intelligence), are working with to create a blockchain ecosystem are either fundamental/mature industries that underpin the current economy or cutting edge new industries that could form the pillars of the future economy.

The industries list includes the below and continues to grow at an incremental pace.

  • Gaming
  • Biometrics
  • Document Management
  • Decentralized Exchanges
  • Banking
  • Capital Markets
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Health Insurance
  • Business Services
  • Cross-border payments

The research tables below detail the type of partnerships that ICON has established in each industry and provides an overview of individual industry size, growth potential, characteristics and related blockchain use cases. The table also explores the partnering company’s functions, strengths and their respective partnerships. The table should give an idea of the level of penetration ICON is striving for and clarify why this approach to “network effect” is notable. The intent to integrate across disparate vectors of the existing economy is ambitious and while most initiatives if not all are at an early stage – we can imagine that exciting efficiencies and innovations that will spring forth as ICON hurtles towards maturity. Just one early example is the previously discussed achievement of 27 securities firms sharing a single ledger (a consortium that exists in the broader ecosystem being built by ICON and its partners). We will continue to document the growth of the ICON network on this page.

theloop and Smilegate | Gaming

 

An MOU between ICON/theloop and Smilegate has been signed with a plan to create a social gaming ecosystem on the blockchain. At the core, its services will enable game users to share, experience and buy/sell various contents that they have created in a unified and socially connected p2p environment. The significance of the partnership lies therein its potential to not only invigorate the ICON network by onboarding sizeable participating communities but also strategically establishing a two-way transmitting link with the gaming industry.

“Gaming is arguably the world’s favorite pastime, and certainly the most engaging and empowering form of entertainment” says Peter Warman, CEO of Newzoo. With 51% of entertainment industry owned by gaming sector in the US, the largest contributing market in 2016, statistically the gaming sector has outperformed all other popular forms of entertainment including book publishing at 20%, recorded music at 15.5% and box office at 9.9% market share. (Source: US Department of Commerce)

However, increasing consumer demands, the proliferation of gaming-capable devices and lower barriers to entry for low-cost alternatives mean that companies’ need to innovate and join the revolution of disruptors is more critical than ever. In the race to compete for gamers’ time and share of wallet, the gamers’ user experience becomes the defining factor in a company’s success in the space.  Games must be tailored to individual gamer preferences providing rich, connected, and personalized experiences that enable gamers to be captivated and immersed as part of a broader franchise development and monetization strategy that increases gamer lifetime value. The distributed ledger technology introduces a whole realm of functions that can meaningfully improve not only the gaming experience but also gaming economics. Some examples in the table below.

The partnership between Smilegate, producer of the highest grossing individual game, and theloop is not only a unique proposition for realizing the evolution of the next generation gaming technology achieving unprecedented levels of user experience and empowerment but also for instigating a snowball effect of blockchain adoption in an industry boasting current and future economic boom.

Partnership Fact Card

Partner Overview
Name:Smilegate
Founded:2002
Description:Smilegate (parent of Smilegate Stove) is one of Korea’s leading game company with 5 core business sectors including game development, publishing, platform, investment and social contribution with 9 subsidiaries. Smilegate specializes in FPS, MMORPG and action fighter genres for PC and mobile devices.

Smilegate Stove (a subsidiary of Smilegate) is a next generation global social game platform provider benefiting both developers and gamers together. At the core, its services will enable game users to share, experience and buy various contents that they have created in a unified and socially connected p2p environment.

  • 10 Games to be launched by Smilegate

  • 20+ partnership agreements underway


Through its step-by-step operation, Smilegate Stove supports partners in all stages, from development to operation and business, providing a one-stop solution to handle the complexity of various dimensions of game business.

Provides support for small game developers in the form of:

  • Global marketing channels

  • Financial aid

  • Business mentoring

  • Technological support


Notable benefits include:

  • Mobile service platform connected to billing systems of existing mobile application stores

  • Social aspects similar to PlayStation Network or Xbox Live but available on a broader device

  • Reduce development and management costs

  • Services elements include:

    • User account management

    • Integrated billing system

    • Development kit and console

    • In-game data analytics system

    • Promotional marketing tools



Size:662 Billion KRW in 2016

1200 Employees

9 Subsidiaries: Holdings, Entertainment, Worldwide, MegaLab, RPG, MegaPort, Investment, Foundation, Stove

Servicing 80 countries across Asia, Europe, South & North America

(Source: Smilegate)
Facts:Proprietary FPS Game CROSSFIRE:

  • 1 Trillion KRW, highest grossing individual game

  • 8 million concurrent users, holds Guinness World Record for largest number of game users online

  • Over 650 million worldwide subscribers

  • Present in over 80 countries

  • Top of the gaming charts in South East Asia since launch in 2013.


(Source: Smilegate)

Kwon Hyuk-Bin, the founder of Smilegate is regarded as the richest self-made man in Korea with 890.6 Billion KRW private assets.
(Source: The Korea Herald)

Won the “Tower of Export” award from Korea International Trade Association for first local content maker to exceed 500 million KRW in exports in Dec, 2016.
(Source: The Korea Herald)

Among the 885 domestic gaming companies in South Korea, Smilegate is placed in the top 5 by revenue in 2016.
(Source: Pocket Gamer)

Partner's Networks Fact Card

Strategic Partnerships:
Publishers:

• Tencent Games (China)
• Playgra (Japan)
• VTC Game (Vietnam)
• LYTO Game (Indonesia)
• Gameclub (Philippines)
• Gamerage (Europe)
• Mail.RU (Asia, Europe & Middle East)
• Z8 Games (North & South America, Europe & Middle East)

Phaser Lock Interactive, a virtual reality studio based in Texas. A collaboration that places Smilegate into bourgeoning VR industry estimated to reach 12.1 bullion USD by 2018
(Source: Phaser Lock, Statista)

Remedy Entertainment Oyj, Finnish video games giant with a market cap of 72.916M Euro is developing the story mode for the upcoming CrossFire 2.
(Source: Remedy)

The9 Ltd, China’s 46.923M USD Market Cap gaming company has signed publishing rights for CrossFire 2.
(Source: MMO Culture)

World Cyber Games (WCG) i.e. the “Olympics of eSports” has been acquired by Smilegate Holdings with an intent of making splash in eSports market with estimated revenue of 1.5 billion USD by 2020.
(Source: The eSports Observer, Statista)

Starbreeze AB, a Swedish gaming company with studios in Stockholm, Paris and LA with a market cap of 3.045B SEK is Smilegate’s strategic partner to enter Western Markets.
(Source: Starbreeze)

CROSSFIRE movie created by “Fast and the Furious” producer Neal Moritz is expected to premier in 3-5 years to attract further interest in the franchise.
(Source: THEWRAP)

G4Box began as Smilegate North American publishing partner in 2006 and officially joined the Smilegate family under the name Smilegate West in 2013.
(Source: Smilegate West)

Smilegate Europe, is Smilegate’s European division established in 2016 under the name of Smilegate Games GmbH.
(Source: Smilegate Europe)

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Gaming

A sector involved in the development, marketing, and monetization of video and computer game
Market Size
(Global):
2.2 billion gamers

116 billion USD in revenue for 2017, estimated to grow to 143.5 billion USD by 2020.

Mobile revenue of 50.4 billion USD in 2017, makes it the biggest segment of the gaming industry; estimated to hold more than 50% of the market share by 2020.

(Source: Newzoo)
Market Growth
(Global):
Gaming has entered a new phase of accelerated growth from both a consumer and an industry perspective.

  • Estimates were revised upward by 7.1 billion with 10.7% growth in 2017 from 2016.

  • Mobile gaming revenues with more than 23% YoY growth was revised upward most out of all segments making it the most lucrative segment.

  • China and Japan the main drivers behind this spurt of growth, APAC contributed 50% of consumer spend on games making this region the most lucrative for the industry. (Source: Newzoo Graphic)

  • While in the past Gaming revenues were compared to the movie theatre industry, gaming industry has surpassed this benchmark by tripling 2016 movie theatre revenues. It is now more comparable to the sports industry. Gaming, if including console gaming hardware and PC gaming systems, is already a bigger business than sports industry. Gaming (software) alone will surpass 130 -150 billion dollar sports industry in 3-4 years.


(Source: Newzoo)
Market Characteristics
(Global):
Global Expansion
-----------------------------

The majority of games now have highly competitive modes, is multi-player and, most importantly, is run as a continuous service instead of developed as a product. Because of these changes, the market is more aligned on a truly global scale.

  • Competitive gaming involving team play, rankings, and live streaming is claiming a growing share of overall game time, particularly in Asia.

  • Asia’s biggest publishers are actively bringing their games to the West where mobile competitive games are increasingly topping the charts.


Accelerated Growth
-----------------------------

After the iPhone revolution of the gaming industry 10 years ago, the industry is going through a new phase of accelerated growth driven by the empowering nature of games and the convergence of media and entertainment sectors.

  • Underlying the success of the industry are the tools given to consumers to create and share their own experiences around their favorite game franchises.

  • Gaming is accelerating the convergence of mobile, sports, media, and entertainment industries, sparking an unprecedented wave of mergers and acquisitions.


(Source: Newzoo Report, Newzoo Article)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

How DLT will benefit Gaming:


Interlinked gaming environments on the DLT
-----------------------------------------------------------

  • characters, skins or virtual items become transferrable digital assets

  • continued character development in multiple games

  • parallel gaming universes can create a loyal following for interlinked games

  • player’s gameplay preferences stored on the ledger can be used to deploy more personalized experiences across games



Virtual items on the DLT
---------------------------------

  • Safe storage of items

  • Prove scarcity of rare digital collector’s items

  • Upgrade an item’s rarity and sell at a premium price

  • Increase in functional, economic and social value respectively created through

    • new ways to use virtual items in and out of games

    • platforms that cash the items for dollars

    • trading, sharing and gifting the item




Improve gaming economics on the DLT
----------------------------------------------------

  • Blockchain programmed to give developers and server owners to collect royalties throughout the gaming world.

  • Cheaper processing fees via decentralized payment gateways

  • Micro transactions will

    • provide novel ways to monetize games

    • enable payments on a second by second basis

    • allow mores users to justify buying items

    • broaden gaming development from serving the few to the many boosting value of the industry by billions




Improve gaming as an industry
-----------------------------------------

  • open source development kits and decentralized nature of blockchain will not only motivate developers to expand the framework but also continually improve gaming tech, a value proposition inherent to decentralized open source communities.

  • Reduce fraud and other transactional cost losses refueling the previously lost revenue back into the industry.

  • Democratic voting systems in gaming servers and communities

  • Remove limitations on AR and VR by enhancing processing power required by these technologies through a network of servers

  • Blockchain gaming environment where gaming rewards can be spent in the game, use in the game store, held an investment, or transform them into cryptocurrency or fiat at an online exchange mean that gaming can become a profession for more people.


(Source: Enjin Coin Blog, Venture Beat, The Next Web)

theloop and Raonsecure | Biometrics

 

 

An MOU between theloop and Raonsecure has been signed with the intent of co-developing a FIDO system using blockchain technology. FIDO (Fast IDentity Online), the global standard for biometrics, is one of the rising next generation authentication technology. Raonsecure, as a board member of the FIDO Alliance alongside Google, Alibaba Group, Amazon, ING, Mastercard, Microsoft etc. is also co-chairing the FIDO Korea Working Group. The onboarding of Raonsecure has been favorably viewed by FIDO Alliance in view of strengthening the technology and wider global adoption of the FIDO standards.

As the multi-billion-dollar biometrics technology enters mainstream consciousness and is increasingly adopted by corporations in a plethora of industries across the globe, the introduction of blockchain technology to the space opens up multiple use cases (see table below) that can truly innovate and enable users to safely take part on a connected economy. The partnership empowers blockchain integration into this highly progressive and innovative industry while facilitating unseen level of technological advancement in FIDO and wider biometrics sector. This in turn creates a mutually beneficial and perpetual exchange of value in a shared progress towards next generation authentication built on blockchain supported by FIDO global standards.

Partnership Fact Card

Partner Overview
Name:Raonsecure Co. Ltd
Founded:1998
Description:Among its product range, the TouchEn OnePass is a Fast IDentity online (FIDO)-based next generation biometric authentication solution.

  • It authenticates a user on the server after biometrically verifying them in the secure element of the user’s smart device. The user's biometric data is never exposed to the Internet or stored on a remote server.

  • It is the most widely-adopted certified FIDO-based mobile biometric authentication solution in Korea-- used by banks, credit card companies, telecoms. SNS messaging apps and portal sites.

Raonsecure is known for most of the biometric authentication infrastructure in Korea.
Size:120.558 Billion KRW
(Source: Bloomberg)

51 – 200 Employees
(Source: LinkedIn)

Servicing 30 Million Customers & 500 Businesses in public, financial and business sectors
(Source: Raonsecure)
Facts:Holds a number of security technology patents in the IoT / integrated security space.

Major Name Customers:

  • Public: Ministry of Justice, National Tax Service, Ministry of Interior, Supreme Court of Korea, Ministry of National Defense

  • Financial: ING, Bank of Korea, KB Kookmin Bank, Woori Bank, Citi Bank, Shinhan Bank, Prudential

  • Business: Microsoft, Naver, IBM, Oracle, Daumkakao, LG Electronics, HP


Ministerial Awards from the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning.

(Source: Raonsecure)

Partner's Networks Fact Card

Strategic Partnerships:
Raonsecure is a FIDO Alliance Board Member alongside other giants such as Google, Alibaba Group, Amazon, ING, Mastercard, Microsoft, PayPal, Visa, Samsung, Intel, American Express etc.

The FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance is non-profit organization founded in 2012 to introduce new global standard for biometric and other security and user identification systems. Its mission is to change the nature of online authentication by:

  • Developing technical specifications that define an open, scalable, interoperable set of mechanisms that reduce the reliance on passwords to authenticate users.

  • Operating industry programs to help ensure successful worldwide adoption of the Specifications.

  • Submitting mature technical Specification(s) to recognized standards development organization(s) for formal standardization.


Benefits of FIDO Authentication Solutions

  • Stronger account/transaction security

  • Improved user experience

  • Improved return on investment in authentication

  • Reduced risk of fraud.

(Source: FIDO Alliance)


Raonsecure executives will co-chair the FIDO Korea Working Group. It is task force created to increase awareness and integration of FIDO authentication standards in the Korean marketplace.

  • 21 of 23 biggest banks, 7 of 8 credit companies and 22 of 47 insurance and securities firms in Korea have adopted the FIDO standard recording highest rate of adoption.
  • Korean national government having recently proposed to abolish requirements for the use of public certificates, the significance of this standard and tech adoption is only going to increase.

  • With 11 International Working Groups, FIDO Alliance will set the standard for global FIDO specifications.

(Source: Mobile ID World, Mobile ID World, FIDO Alliance)


Infinitium, a Malaysia-based electronic payments solutions provider with established market footprint of 40+ banks and 180+ million cardholder base within Asia will drive biometric authentication for secured payments in the APAC region.
(Source: Infinitium)


Official partnership with Samsung Electronics KNOX to supply mobile device management (MDM) solutions and collaborate in selling and marketing the security software.
(Source: Raonsecure)

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Biometrics

A sector involved in the development and implementation of a variety of technologies in which unique identifiable attributes of people are used for identification and authentication.

Among the features that can be measured are the face, fingerprints, hand geometry, handwriting, iris, retina, vein, and voice.
Market Size
(Global):
$ 14.9 billion in 2015
(Source: BCC Research)
Market Growth
(Global):
Steadily growing need for security in both the public and private sectors is driving big growth in the biometrics market.

Modality20152020CAGR
All$14.9 billion$41.5 billion22.7%
Fingerprint$8.8 billion$24.4 billion22.8%
Face, iris, vein & voice$4.2 billion$11.9 billion22.9%
(Source: BCC Research)

Longer term projections for the year 2025:
$62.9 billion poised to grow at a CAGR of 22.1% (Source: Research And Markets)
$59.3 billion (Source: Grand View Research)

The Asia Pacific region will be the largest market, due to a combination of massive population, several strong or strongly growing economies, and a growing demand for biometric solutions to manage large initiatives, such as national ID programs. (Source: Tractica)
Market Characteristics
(Global):
Wider Acceptance
-----------------------

Biometrics will enter the mainstream consumer mind: 2017 marked a turning point in the global acceptance of biometrics when Apple introduced FaceID in iPhone X release bringing facial recognition acceptance to a new level. Of the back of this, facial recognition will become a mainstream method for mobile payments, retail applications, and secure access on-the-go.

Corporations will increase biometric adoption: increasing interest from the corporate sector in deploying biometric identification systems as part of more comprehensive secure access systems.

Biometrics will take off in multiple industries/sectors:

  • Growing government initiatives such as e-passports and introduction of other e-government processes is increasing demand for advanced security systems against crimes, frauds, terrorist activities, hackings, etc.,

  • Global healthcare biometrics market will grow at a CAGR of 22.9 percent (Source: Credence Research). Biometrics will develop beyond access control to solve specific healthcare challenges such as:

    • Identifying verification of patients and their medical records in real time

    • Non-evasive and touch free biometrics will be used for environments where hygiene is important.

    • Airports will expand use beyond passport control. In motion identification/biometrics at the speed of life will identify travellers on the go.

    • Financial Services, Retail, Healthcare, Industrial, IT and Telecom, Gaming, Hospitality, Education, and Manufacturing to name a few are increasingly using different modalities of biometric technology.




(Source: Biometric Update, Security Expo, Frost & Sullivan)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

Mainstream facets of identity management that are being tackled by tech innovations such as blockchain and biometrics include:


  1. Decentralization of Identity

    • Currently, we depend on governments to issue identity credentials in the form of specialized documents like passports, birth certificates, and driver's licenses which are physical representations of information kept by a central authority in protected digital storage.





  1. Security of Identity Data

    • If lost or stolen, ID documents can be used by identity thieves to wreak havoc on our lives.

    • Replacing ID documents can be an expensive, painful and arduous process.

    • Existing digital system of passwords and PINs, no matter how complex, they are vulnerable not only to hackers but also simply forgetting or losing it





  1. Online identity management

    • We live in a world where physical presence is an attestation of our identity. So, Proving and securing your online identity is much more difficult.





  1. Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI)

    • Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is a concept where business entities and individuals have personal ownership and control of their personal data/attributes which can be freely used and distributed at the discretion of the owner/entity.

    • Existing identity protocols like SAML and OAuth require three parties: you, the resource owner and the identity provider (i.e., "Login with Google", "Login with Facebook", etc.)

    • SSI facilitates two party authentications where owner provides credentials to a resource owner directly.




The broad consensus of the identity community for the past few years has been that any such service should be decentralized, enforce information integrity, be resilient to attack, and that the individual user should be the ultimate owner and sovereign controller of their own identity credentials. But how will you claim a given identity credential is yours on a blockchain?

To be associated with a claim, you must either know something (e.g., a password), have something (e.g., a token) or be something (e.g., biometrics). But if the password of a blockchain credential is lost, it may be very difficult if not impossible to recover because there is no authority to appeal to for replacement. A token can be lost or stolen, so that leaves biometrics as the strongest candidate for identity credential management on blockchains.

By combining biometrics and blockchain, identity information will be stored in a distributed ledger system which means that the authorities don’t have access to your personal information anymore and you now have the control over your information to choose which information and which authorities to share with.

  • Share minimum required amount of your personal data

  • Eliminate biometric embedded physical proof of Identity such as Passport.




Use Cases of the amalgamation of biometrics and DLT/Blockchain:

Public Service Identity
------------------------------



Smart phones sharing data:

  • An identity app – accessible via smartphone – could allow citizens to share data with government departments and access information, such as tax records or benefit claims

  • When asked to share personal data with government, citizens would receive a notification on their smartphones, review the request and grant access to that information.


Biometrics securing the system:

  • By using facial-recognition technology or fingerprint scans through a smartphone, a citizen could authenticate their identity and interact with public services.

  • An encrypted hash of the biometric data, stored on the smartphone, would be shared through the blockchain, increasing security and giving the individual control


Smart Contracts, automatic transactions:

  • The smart contract, which would underpin the new identity management model, would determine what personal information was needed to enable citizens to access public services.

(Source: Accenture)


Known Traveller Digital Identity
------------------------------------------
The Known Traveller concept is founded on the principle that an individual traveller has control over the use of their own identity and its components such as verified personal biometric, biographic and historical travel data.

The travellers are able to then push their proof of identity and necessary data, secured by distributed ledger technology and cryptography – to governmental and private-sector entities throughout their journey.

This in turn assist authorities to undertake risk assessments and pre-screening in advance: essentially verifying their identities and providing secure and seamless movement throughout their journey.

For example, the Government of Dubai is developing a proof of concept for digital passports that combines biometric verification with blockchain technology. It aims to create a gate-less border, which cuts waiting times and verifies passenger information prior to airport arrival.

  • Before arrival, a passenger would share relevant personal information, via zero-knowledge proof, with border forces and airlines.

  • This would enable passengers to be pre-cleared for travel, reducing the overall waiting time.

  • On arrival, a passenger would simply walk through a biometric ‘tunnel’ that would scan their face, checking this data against the identity app supplied through the blockchain.

(Source: Markets Insider, Accenture)


Financial Industry
-------------------------
In terms of banking, deploying biometrics along with blockchain technology can be a huge disruption in the financial industry. Although biometric identification makes it almost impossible for fraudsters to impersonate, the current data storage solutions leave the transaction logs vulnerable to exploit. The immutable and transparent nature of distributed ledger, blockchain-based biometric authentication makes it ideal for maintaining the integrity of transactions and activity logs which is highest priority in financial sector. Transaction records that contain information like: a transaction ID, user ID, date, time, amount, beneficiary, accounts, etc. cannot be hacked or changed and can be tracked down easily.
(Source: Iritech)

 

theloop and Cyberdigm | Document Management

 

An MOU between theloop and Cyberdigm Inc. has been signed to develop a blockchain-based contract platform called Chain Sign. The partnership aims to increase the credibility of existing electronic contract systems by providing trust, continuity, immutability and next-generation authentication (Source: Chain Sign comparison table). The platform has already been tested/used in the signing of the MOU of ‘Seoul Fintech Lab’ whereby 33 companies and government officials upon signing on tablet PCs have been issued with hash data which will be stored on the blockchain safe from forgery. (Source: ICON FB) The contract platform can be applied in various fields, but the most actively applied sector is expected to be the frequently-repeated contracts such as rent or utility bills. The contracts could be automated on the platform through the smart contracts, the contents could be tracked and managed on the blockchain itself. As Chain Sign implementation expands to other real-life world applications, it will be able to develop a safe and cost-efficient contract environment.

Partnership Fact Card

Partner Overview
Name:Cyberdim Inc.
Founded:1998
Description:Cyberdim Inc. is a Korean market leader in content management, document centralization, collaboration, knowledge management and system integration related services.

Business data around the world is a permanent asset. Among them, the document is the basis for conducting the business. The document centralization concept combines an enterprise content management system (ECM), an electronic document management system (EDMS), and a file server. This resolves demand for security and corporate document management simultaneously.

Changing trends in IT resulting in increased demand for secure, reliable private cloud solutions, internal information leakage risks, increased external security threats such as ransomware and strengthening of government legal regulations for content management and information protection are key reasons for the growing need for innovative solutions in document centralization space.

With document centralization as a major business focus for Cyberdigm it offers two types of models for enterprise and SMEs; Destiny Central and Cloudium respectively.

Other Cyberdigm Solutions:

  • Destiny ECM - Content Management Solution

  • Destiny KMS - Knowledge Management Solution

  • Destiny EP - work portal solution

  • Destiny 6Sigma - 6 Sigma Management Solution

  • Taskit - Cloud Collaboration Service


Cyberdim is paying attention to the block chain technology. And provide services such as electronic contracts, proofs, and proofs based on block chaining. It is computation that it can be made more convenient and secure by making a block chain instead of a PKI or a time stamp in the proof of the electronic document. We are already getting large companies as customers through document centralization, and we think it will be possible to bring enterprise and cloud into a hybrid environment. Once we develop a block chain-based electronic document management product, we are considering a way to link it with existing document centralization solutions. Related products are expected to be in beta in the first half of next year.
Size:2.1 billion KRW capital in 2016
8.529.24 million KRW sales in 2016
(Source: Saramin)

70+ locations over the course of 10 Years
(Source: Cloudium Brochure)

87 executive staff as of Nov 2016
(Source: Cyberdigm Company Profile)

Total 550 + customers in diverse industries:

  • 100 + Public Institutions and government ministries

  • 20+ Education and research institutions

  • 15+ Financial institutions

  • 150+ Enterprises in manufacturing, distribution and telecommunications
    (Source: Cloudium Brochure, Cyberdigm)


Product performance:

  • Destiny ECM
    500 000 + users
    30 billion + documents
    (Source: Cyberdigm Company Profile)

  • Cloudium
    demand increases by 160% every year
    business grows by 130% every year
    (Source: Datanet)


Japanese enterprise SW market will reach 3.8 trillion KRW by 2020 with SaaS (Software as a Service) at its center. Cyberdigm has entered this large market with its flagship cloud-based document centralized solution expecting 30% of its 2018 sales from Japan.
(Source: DT)
Facts:100% proprietary technology generating performance and system responsiveness with 20 years of system stability and performance.

Selected as a supplier of '2017 Industrial Cluster Cloud Service Application Project' initiated by the Information and Communication Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) to support SMEs and mid-sized companies in the nation's industrial complexes to introduce cloud-based IT services.

(Source: Datanet)

Cyberdigm’s Taskit acquired Good Software (GS) certification from Korea Information and Communication Technology Association (TTA).

  • Certified products are designated as priority purchase items when ordering public institution projects.

  • Marks high-quality software for inducing the activation of the domestic software market and enhancing export support and competitiveness.


(Source: ZDNet)

Partner's Networks Fact Card

Strategic Partnerships:
As part of global advancement, Cyberdigm has signed an OEM supply contract with Japan 's IT solution company 'STARTIA'.

  • STRATIA has been ranked # 1 in the online file sharing market for SMEs for the fifth consecutive year.

  • More than 1,400 Japanese SMEs are using its cloud service 'Secure Samba' (SAMBA).

  • Cyberdim will offer the sales rights of Cloudium FS in Japan via the upgraded product "Secure SAMBA PRO" with the security function of Cloudium FS.


(Source: ZDNet Korea)

R & S Innovation & Technology will sell Cyberdim's private cloud storage "Cloudium" to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, including Singapore.
(Source: Cyberdigm)

Partnership with JM Technology. AG and the information and technology (IT) affiliates under the Shinaruma Group to reach Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand markets.
(Source: ENet)

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Document Management

A sector involved in coordination and control of the flow (storage, retrieval, processing, printing, routing, and distribution) of electronic and paper documents in a secure and efficient manner, to ensure that they are accessible to authorized personnel as and when required.
Market Size
(Global):
$3.59 billion in 2017
(Source: Research And Markets)
Market Growth
(Global):
Growth in DMS market is supported by an increasing need to streamline business operations as well as a shift towards paperless enterprises as content is digitalized and compliance requirements grow stricter.

  • The market is expected to reach USD 6.78 billion by 2023 with a compounded annual growth rate of 11.17%. (Source: Markets And Research)

  • Larger share of market expected to be captured by document management solutions which integrate DMS with real-time data, enabling the storage of multiple versions of the same document to be easily retrieved from safe storage.

  • The fastest growing segment is predicted to be the hybrid deployment model which allows organizations to move their sensitive data to a more secure private cloud while the rest is able to remain on a public cloud.

  • North America’s demand for cost-effective business process solutions makes it a significant region in the adoption of document management solutions over growth period.


(Source: PR Newswire)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

How DLT will benefit document management? Some use cases:

Document encryption on blockchain:

  • Documents are stored on the blockchain and some of the data is encrypted by means of public key cryptography such that only parties involved can access the data.

  • A private key corresponding to the public key is required to view the data.

  • The security is reinforced by secret sharing scheme whereby the secret key is divided into several fragments such that each involved party posses a unique piece.


Authentication/verification of digital assets:

  • While there are many ways to verify the authenticity of paper documents, including watermarks, signatures and embossed seals, digital assets can be modified copied easily at present.

  • Blockchain enables people who don't know each other to engage in trusted transactions with full confidence in the integrity of the assets being exchanged.

  • It does so by embedding authentication into the document itself and using a closed loop tracking system to protect against tampering or modification.


Secure document transfer:

  • Blockchain can be used to create an environment where legal/confidential transactions can be processed safely and with no third-party intermediary required.

  • Documents can be stored and transferred for various kinds of financial, legal or any other types of documents, such as agreements, ownership clauses, private photos and more.


(Source: Fijitsu, Iron Mountain, Eleks)

 

ICON and Kyber Network | Decentralized Exchange

 

 

ICON and Kyber Network have formed a timely partnership whereby Kyber Network will connect its token conversion services to ICON’s inter-blockchain network. The partnership strategically accelerates inter-chain token exchange developments in the space, thereby delivering utility for different decentralized applications across chains. As more blockchains and institutions participate in the ICON Network, transaction volume will increase exponentially, leading to a network effect and the rise of truly borderless communities. Kyber Network hopes to launch cross chain trading in early 2019 and by partnering with ICON, it will gain a large partner to help it grow and test its technology ultimately benefiting the adoption of decentralized exchanges and associated benefits for the larger ecosystem.

Partnership Fact Card

Partner Overview
Name:Kyber Network
Founded:2017
Description:Kyber Network is a trustless decentralized exchange and payment service that enables users to perform trades whilst keeping possession of their assets based on atomic swap. Four key focuses:

1) Exchange

An on-chain protocol which allows instant exchange and conversion of digital assets (e.g. crypto tokens) and cryptocurrencies (e.g. Ether, Bitcoin, ZCash) with high liquidity.

Many exchanges offer these operating properties but Kyber Network offer all of these features:

  • Trustless

  • decentralized execution

  • instant trade

  • high liquidity

  • on-chain trade

  • secure against attacks

  • locked-in conversion rate


By utilizing smart contracts, Kyber Network ensures users do not need to hold their assets on the exchange which eliminates KYC delays, deposit and withdrawal restrictions as well removing opportunities for hacking and fraud.

2) Proxy Payments

Kyber Network also provides payment APIs that will allow Ethereum accounts to easily receive payments from any crypto tokens.

3) Cross Chain Payments

Although running on the Ethereum network, Kyber Network’s roadmap includes supporting cross-chain trades between different cryptocurrencies using relays and future protocols.

4) Derivatives

Derivatives will be introduced to mitigate the exposure to the risk of volatilities for the users of Kyber Network Crystals (KNC) and selected cryptocurrencies. This will allow users to hedge their positions and mitigate price fluctuations.

(Source: Kyber Network Whitepaper)
Size:148.3 million USD market cap
(Source: Coinmarketcap)
Facts:Roadmap:
Q1/2018 – Mainnet launch, trading between tokens and ETH
Q2/2018 – Support ERC-20 token to ERC-20 token conversion
Q4/2018 – Support trading advanced financial instruments
Early 2019 – Support cross chain trading
(Source: Kyber Network)

The Kyber Network platform with 10 tokens will be available for public use as of April 2018 once the current pilot program is completed.
(Source: ICO Examiner)

Difference between Bancor Protocol and Kyber Network:
Bancor uses a fixed formula to determine the price of the token, while Kyber Network lets the reserve managers determine the price.
(Source: Bitcoinexchange)

Comparison to other exchanges:
(Source: Kyber Network Whitepaper)



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reputable advisor panel including Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, Leng Hoe Lon (Co-Founder of Shentilium) and Prateek Saxena (research professor of computer science at the National University of Singapore).
(Source: Kyber Network)

Supported by Industry leading names such as Pantera, Kenetic Capital, #Hashed, Danhua Capital amongst others.
(Source: Kyber Network)

Partner's Networks Fact Card

Strategic Partnerships:
Kyber Network segments its partnerships into three categories:


  1. Reserves: the supply-side, which comprises of liquidity providers


  2. Traffic Generators: the demand-side, which generates transaction volume and drives traffic to Kyber Network


  3. Research/Protocol: to substantiate further analysis and examination of the platform components, mainly to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of on-chain or cross-chain transactions.


 

Reserves
-------------
Prycto, fully operational independent liquidity provider aiming to be the largest reserve and market maker for DEX. Two key functions provided to Kyber Network by Prycto are:

  • reserve management service through the use smart management technology and AI algorithms to determine adaptive exchange rates, ensuring that Kyber users get accurate and consistent prices.

  • funds for the supply of liquidity to the Kyber Exchange starting with KNC, EOS, OMG, and BAT with more to be added in future.


(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Enigma’s landmark product, Catalyst is a machine-based investing platform and trading infrastructure for digital assets. It will be used to support reserve operators on KyberNetwork, while KyberNetwork will integrate with Catalyst as a data provider and as an exchange service. (Source: Kyber Network Blog)

 

Traffic Generators
------------------------

Coin Manager, Korea’s No. 1 Wallet Provider and portfolio tracker supports 75 exchanges and 5000 coins boasting over 350,000 downloads of the mobile app, 295,000 monthly active users, and 3 million recorded sessions per month. It is also the largest Ethereum wallet in Korea, one of the biggest crypto markets in the world. Kyber Network expands its reach in Korea by integrating its token conversion protocol with Coin Manager’s multi-coin wallet allowing for in-wallet exchange of supported tokens.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Trust Wallet: an Ethereum wallet available worldwide on iOS and Android with a significant user base in the US, UK, and Russia.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

imToken: China’s leading mobile wallet app available on Android and IOS with 350 000 users worldwide.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Change Wallet: Singapore based comprehensive mobile finance app that aims to become a one-stop decentralized platform for all things finance such as payments, storage, investments, peer-to-peer loans, fund transfers.
(Source: Medium Change Finance)

Coinduck is a Korea based Ethereum payment service built by Chain Partners. With more than 100 small business partnerships, it is on a mission to expand crypto payments in everyday transactions whereby merchants online/offline are able to provide their wallet addresses and customers send the payable amount instantly in Ether at live exchange rates in just 5 seconds. It is compatible with all mobile wallets in Korea and all exchanges worldwide. Kyber Network collaboration:

  • integrate token conversion protocol with Coinduck service diversifying the accepted means of payment from Ether only to all ERC-20 tokens (including KNC).

  • Gain access to off line businesses a crucial step for blockchain adoption

  • Create link between crypto space and fiat space in Korea.


(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Request Network is a decentralized network for payment requests which allows individuals and businesses to request funds from just about anywhere. It has been regarded as “More than PayPal 2.0, a financial platform for blockchain”. Read more at Request Speculative Handbook). The collaboration means:

  • Kyber Network will be added as a payment option for users and merchants on Request Network

  • Merchants will be able to leverage Kyber Network for seamless cross token transactions

  • Simplify and eliminate repetition in REQ burning process.


(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Selfkey, a blockchain based self-sovereign identity ecosystem that empowers individuals and businesses with full ownership of their personal digital identity. Selfkey’s digital identity wallet enables users to create their ID and share it with service providers listed in the Selfkey marketplace. The collaboration will mean Kyber Network DEX will be integrated into Selfkey Wallet enabling users to trade a broad range of ERC20 tokens from within the wallet application. This type of partnership will facilitate more companies to recognize the success of Kyber Network and seek to incorporate the exchange into their services.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

WAX (Worldwide Asset eXchange), a decentralized trading platform for video game virtual assets, powered by the executive team behind OPSkins marketplace, with millions of users and over 200,000 new user registrations each month and recording 150 million transactions over 18 months.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

RCN is a peer-to-peer global credit protocol that uses cosigned smart contracts to connect lenders and borrowers anywhere on the globe on any currency.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Aptoide: one of the largest Android app stores in the world, boasting 200 million users and over 4 billion downloads. With AppCoins (currency of the app economy), users can earn tokens through engaging with app advertising and then spend this currency on in-app purchases (such as game items).
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

StormX: the company behind Storm Market, a blockchain based platform that will utilize smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain to manage gamified micro-tasks between buyers and sellers.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Gifto: a decentralized virtual gifting protocol that incentivizes and monetizes content generation by individual content creators worldwide.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Aditus: The world’s first luxury access platform, bridging luxury merchants and crypto-affluents via a revolutionary decentralized network, in which users enjoy superior privacy. (Source: Kyber Network Blog)

BitClave: A decentralized search engine that helps users search for items without losing control of their own personal information and incentivizes search clicks making third-party advertising network unnecessary.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

 

Research/Protocol
-------------------------
Wanchain is a China based private cross-chain smart contract protocol that champions a universal decentralized financial market for digital assets by bridging isolated chains. The Wanchain ledger supports not only smart contracts, but also token exchange privacy protection. It raised 36 million USD at ICO, boasts 90k Twitter followers & 26.6K Telegram members and has formed a Blockchain Interoperability Alliance with ICON and AION. (Read more at Wanchain Speculative Handbook).

Kyber Network collaboration with Wanchain will entail:

  • Advising i.e. sharing marketing, public relations, community and partnership building contacts between the two teams

  • Building DEX on Wanchain platform and providing liquidity for the DEX.

  • Working on PeaceRelay Project, aimed at allowing communication and interaction between different Ethereum-forked blockchains, i.e Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. Wanchain, as a fork of Ethereum, will add valuable resources to the project, helping to access and combine other Ethereum-forked blockchains.


(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Blockchain at Berkeley, a student run crypto group comprising of over 40person blockchain consultant agency. The partnership with this world class academic institute seeks innovative reserve management and trading strategies that could benefit all involved parties of blockchain ecosystem and provide Kyber network with confidence to onboard reserve operators from different organizations to improve liquidity.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Traceto, a decentralised Know Your Customer (KYC) network and was the service provider for Kyber Network’s ICO related KYC process. The continued collaboration will enhance Kyber Network’s KYC program.
(Source: Kyber Network Blog)

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Decentralized Exchange (DEX)

A sector that is involved in operating an exchange market that does not rely on a third-party service to hold the customer's funds. Instead, trades occur directly between users (peer to peer) through an automated process.
Market Size
(Global):
99 % of cryptocurrency transactions are completed on centralized exchanges at time of writing.
(Source: Consensys)

Cryptocurrencies: 1563
Markets: 10, 207
Market Cap

  • Jan 2018: USD 600+ Billion

  • Apr 2018: USD 260+ Billion

  • 24 Hour Vol Apr 2018: ¬ USD 11.5 Billion


(Source: CMC)
Market Growth
(Global):
Bank of International Settlements assessed the daily trading volume of the global FOREX market at $5.1 trillion (USD). By extrapolating the cryptocurrency market's current growth rate, the cryptocurrency market may achieve similar volumes as the FOREX market within 3 years. Therefore, we may soon live in a new reality where the cryptocurrency exchange market will dominate over global fiat markets.
(Source: Streamity)

Leading exchanges such as Binance, currently the number one in the world recording over $1.5 billion in daily volume are developing decentralized exchanges with the vision that “centralized and Decentralized exchanges will co-exist in the near future, complementing each other, while also having interdependence.” (Binance)
(Source: Crypto Slate)

With 60+ projects (not exhaustive) across both protocol and application of decentralized exchange underway, and open source protocol projects such as 0x indicate a strong trend towards decentralized exchanges.
(Source: Consensys)
Market Characteristics
(Global):
Adoption of DEXs
--------------------------

Various projects are working on addressing issues faced by existing decentralized exchange platforms with an aim to progress the technology towards wider adoption and use. To name a few:


  • Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume will be launching Binance Chain with a focus on
    - transfer and trading of blockchain assets
    - performance
    - ease-of-use
    - liquidity
    (Source: Binance)



  • Decentralized platforms such as Kyber network tackling liquidity issues reduce the barrier for users to make the transition from centralized to decentralized exchanges. (Source: Bitcoin Magazine)



  • Asset agnostic decentralized exchanges such as Bitshares increase the scope of trade pairs available, and thus contribute to facilitating the transition to decentralized exchanges. (Source: Bitshares)



From company to community
--------------------------------------

As centralized exchanges transition to decentralized systems or a hybrid thereof, there is an inevitable transition for these exchanges from being a company to a community. (Source: Coin Telegraph)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

With their simple interfaces and mainstream-ready infrastructure, centralized exchanges facilitate 99 % of cryptocurrency transactions today.

  • Advanced features

  • Easy to use

  • Advanced tools

  • Liquidity


Issues with centralized exchanges:

  • Insecurity: by operating on off-chain systems (servers) it is vulnerable to security breach and hack of information, funds and private keys

  • Lack of trust and transparency

  • High risk: regulatory risk, performance issues, market manipulation, hardware failures, latency problems etc.

  • Exchange network control the funds (centralization)


Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) tackle the above problems by building peer to peer marketplaces on the blockchain allowing

  • traders to be the custodian of funds

  • anonymity

  • secure and transparent transactions – no risk of server hack

  • faster and cheaper transactions

  • seamless integration with secure hardware wallets

  • no personal documents to apply or register

  • no risk of server downtime


Issues with Decentralized Exchanges:

  • Lack of liquidity, chicken and egg problem

  • Technology has usability, scalability, speed and interoperability challenges

  • Accessibility to fiat or stable coin

  • Front running by miners

  • Lack of awareness among potential users

  • Some exchanges require users to be online in order for an order to be listed and for the trade to take place


Hybrid models of centralized and decentralized marketplaces also makeup the landscape trying to deliver best of both worlds as fully decentralized exchanges continue to work on adoption challenges.

(Source: Consensys, FYN, SingluarDTV)

 

DAYLI Intelligence, theloop & Woori Bank | Banking

 

A business agreement for cooperation in the blockchain and digital money business has been forged between DAYLI Intelligence, theloop and Woori bank. In addition to internal verification of the blockchain technology, issuance, use and charging of Woori Bank’s Weebee coin (digital money based on blockchain) will also form the collaborative nature of the partnership. While the immediate cooperation comes in the form of using U-Coin’s (DAYLI Intelligence and theloop’s digital currency project in collaboration with three Korean universities) transaction method to introduce Weebee coin, it is expected that this mutually beneficial relationship will continue to expand to other financial services to which the technology is applied in the future. Weebee coin, a tether equivalent, will be the first electronic money in Korea to be exchanged 1:1 with fiat currency (WON).  This will be charged to a card or smartphone, smart vending machines, and merchants will be able to make simple payments and simple remittances. The introduction of the coin brings many benefits including the below as a start:

  • cost savings gained from not needing to build dedicated network for utilizing the electronic money
  • safety from cyber attacks and hacks
  • utility/reach beyond the domestic use
  • reduction in overseas transaction costs

Partnership Fact Card

Partner Overview
Name:Woori Bank Co., Ltd
Founded:1899, Celebrates 119th anniversary this year.

Woori Bank was the first Korean bank to be established with royal funds under the approval of Emperor Gojong and continued its growth through the late Chosun period, the Industrial Revolution, the Asian financial crisis, and the recent global financial crisis to become one of the most prominent banks in the nation.

(Source: Wooribank)
Description:Woori Bank together with its subsidiaries, provides commercial banking products and services to individuals, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and large corporations in South Korea.

It operates through six segments: Consumer Banking, Corporate Banking, Investment Banking, Capital Markets, Credit Card, and Other Operations.

Renown for being trustworthy partner during historic moments, Woori Bank is at the forefront of building a framework for modern finance for South Korea. It has been working on new business models and services by implementing new technologies such as blockchain and internet of things (IoT).
Size:10.546 trillion KRW Market Cap
(Source: Bloomberg)

317.875 trillion KRW Assets
(Source: RelBanks)

15 000+ employees
21+ million customers
900 domestic branches
10 overseas subsidiaries
19 overseas branches
250 contact points internationally
(Source: RelBanks)

2nd largest bank in South Korea
(Source: Reuters)

Korea’s bank with the most global network
(Source: Woori Bank Annual Report 2015)

Woori Bank is the primary banking partner for more than 70% of Korean public institutions.(Source: World Finance)

Woori Bank is the main banking partner of large corporations including Samsung, LG, POSCO etc.
(Source: World Finance)
Facts:Launched the 1st mobile bank ‘WiBee Bank’

  • to open a new mid-level interest rate loan market

  • to cultivate innovative markets for FinTech as an internet bank.

  • Added an online marketplace and community function to WiBee Bank and WiBee Talk platforms so that they can be expanded into lifestyle products


(Source: Woori Bank Annual Report 2015)


Fitch Rating Agency:

  • Woori Bank will be supported by the South Korean government if necessary due to its systemic importance as the second-largest bank in Korea, with 13% and 15% of the banking system's loans and deposits, respectively.

  • Expects Woori Bank to be more commercially driven than previously, when the government owned a majority of the bank through Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC)

  • Woori Bank's Long-Term Issuer-Default Rating (IDR) at 'A

  • Woori Bank's Viability Rating at 'bbb+ upgraded from ‘bbb’


(Source: Reuters)


Woori Bank absorbed Woori Financial Group in 2014

  • The merger of the de facto holding company into the bank is part of the privatization of the bank.

  • Phase 1, sold two regional banks: Kwangju Bank & Kyongnam Bank

  • Phase 2, sold 6 non-bank subsidiaries: Woori Investment & Securities, Woori Aviva Life Insurance, Woori FG Savings Bank, Woori Asset Management, Woori Financial and Woori F&I.


(Source: Korea Joongang Daily)

Partner's Networks Fact Card

Strategic Partnerships:
SBI Ripple Asia, a joint venture among Ripple and many leading banks of the Asian region. Woori Bank joins Ripple’s platform for cross border remittances and plans to commercialize it in 2018. The main aim of piloting Ripple’s blockchain for cross border remittances is to increase the efficiencies of banks by eliminating the role of middlemen banks.
(Source: Ripple Coin News)

Coinone, South Korean Bitcoin Exchange is leading a FinTech consortium with five financial institutions toward the development of blockchain solutions including Woori Bank. The consortium lays a list of priorities:

  • development and deployment of FinTech using blockchain

  • establishment of new FinTech services for every consortium member in their own platforms.

  • coordination of communication with institutional and supervisory authorities.


(Source: CCN)

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Banking (Finance)

An industry made up banks and other financial institutions that handles cash, credit and other financial transactions.
Market Size
(Global):
Market Cap
$6.2 trillion in August 2016

Revenue
$4780 billion in 2015

  • North America: $1348 billion

  • Continental Europe: $724 billion

  • United Kingdom: $215 billion

  • Japan: $198 billion

  • Other developed: $329 billion

  • China: $939 billion

  • Emerging Asia: $294 billion

  • Latin America: $384 billion

  • EEMEA: $350 billion


(Source: Mckinsey)
Market Growth
(Global):
Market Cap
Reduced from 7.3 trillion in Jan 2015 to 6.2 trillion in Aug 2016; -14%

Revenue
Growth 2010–2014: 6%
Growth 2014–2015: 6.7%

McKinsey, in its 2016 Global Banking Annual Review reported bank ROEs at about 9.5 percent, with a divide between developed and emerging markets.

  • For banks in many developed markets, ROEs were below the cost of equity.

  • In emerging markets, revenue growth had slowed in line with the macroeconomy


It predicted that in both markets, profits could face additional pressure in coming years from three forces

  • Continued economic weakness and low growth

  • In developed markets, loose monetary policy designed to stimulate the macroeconomy will continue to choke banks’ Net Interest Income.

  • Emerging markets, though structurally more profitable may enter into a downward credit cycle as the global economy slows further, hurting local economies.

  • Digital disruption is more likely in profit-challenged markets where banks are unable to invest adequately to stay competitive with digital attackers; UK and Europe susceptible


Ernst & Young, in its Global Banking Outlook 2018 reports that

  • after a decade of rising capital, globally, banks’ capitalization is improving

  • growing optimism in industry that ROE could be headed for sustainable double digit (11% in 2017)

  • survey of 221 financial institutions across 29 markets reveals that bankers are positive about their ability to improve their financial performance in 2018 and beyond

  • The vast majority of banks expect revenues and profitability to improve over the next 12 months to 3 years, despite rising costs.


However cost and competitive challenges remain:

  • Cost pressure: higher compliance costs, the burden of maintaining legacy systems, and elevated restructuring and litigation charges meant that cost-to-income ratio did not improve in the last decade and is only expected to increase in line with growth initiatives and cyber security spending.

  • Subdued income prospects: increase in central bank interest rates is only putting a bandage on the problem, not fixing it. Higher interest rates would also naturally lead to a rise in defaults and loan losses, increasing the cost of credit and offsetting improvements in net interest income, particularly in cyclical downturn.

  • Accelerating competitive challenges: new market entrants, including digital banks, FinTechs, institutions offering high-touch and high-tech branch services, e-commerce and telecommunications firms, and in some markets, platform banking providers are offering simpler, convenient, transparent and personalized services to meet changing customer behavior.


Recent constructive conditions are unlikely to be Permanent.

Banks must do less themselves and make extensive use of an ecosystem of industry utilities and a diverse range of partners to support investment, deliver better services, drive out costs, manage risks and protect their organizations.
Market Characteristics
(Global):
Adoption of Technology
------------------------------

Investment in technology to drive efficiency, manage evolving risks and benefit from growth opportunities will be critical for sustainable success.

  • 85% of banks citing implementation of a digital transformation program as a business priority for 2018

  • 70% of banks will invest in technology to strengthen their competitive positioning and build market share over the coming three years.

  • 62% of global banks expect to be digitally mature in 2020, compared with just 19% in 2018.

  • Adoption of FinTech providers for money transfer and payment services rose from 18% in 2015 to 50% in 2017.


From Silo to Ecosystem
--------------------------------

Rapid evolution of new technology means many banks will struggle to keep up in an innovation arms race. As such, banks need to do more to embrace the shift from innovating in a silo to participating in an innovative ecosystem and collaborating with partners and peers.

Macro themes
-------------------

  • Customer centricity: radical departure from a sales-and product-obsessed mindset to one of genuine customer centricity

  • Regulatory recalibration: modernize regulatory compliance and bring together disparate silos created for individual compliance goals

  • Technology management

  • Mitigating cyber risk

  • FinTechs: FinTechs continue to lead innovation in the banking industry by sharpening their focus on customer experience. Banks can
    - replicate what FinTechs are doing
    - respond with equally innovative solution
    - become more symbiotic and less competitive

  • Importance of Workforce: Increasing automation and greater diversity of in the labor pool.


(Source: Ernst & Young, Deloitte)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

Banks are continuously exploring new ways to perform transactions quicker for an enhanced customer service, while ensuring cost efficiency in its operations and assuring transparency to customers and regulators.

Whether it’s payments, settlements or compliance, blockchain’s key properties of decentralization, immutability, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and security are leading to a growing chorus of support for the technology’s adoption in the industry.

How DLT will benefit banking, some use cases for example:

Cash Management
------------------------

  • Process and settlement of local payment schemes such as domestic real-time infrastructure, local cash pooling

  • Cross-border payments

  • Current accounts, a virtual layer to integrate core banking systems and platforms for multinational banks

  • Liquidity management, extension of cash pooling to allow virtual pooling, netting, sweeping etc.


Trade and Finance
------------------------
Digitization of paper-based documents and contracts, documents supporting financing such as invoices etc.

Blockchain based digital currency
-------------------------------------------
Primarily used to quickly clear and settle financial transactions using blockchain. The aim is to reduce the time, cost and capital required for the post-trade clearing and settlement process, as well as to improve financial-market efficiency.

Vendor Financing
------------------------
Bank’s vendor financing program provides credit facilities such as Letter of credit, Bill discounting and financing against purchase orders and invoices. Banks also provide structured financing services against confirmed purchase orders from their customers. Blockchain will enable:

  • Automated documentation

  • Real-time settlement of transaction

  • Real-time tracking of transaction

  • Fraud proof process


Customer Loyalty Programs
------------------------------------
Loyalty/reward points are an integral part of the customer retention strategy across industries, and especially for banks with a significant retail business. Blockchain will enable:

  • Standardize reward tokens

  • Smooth integration of new merchants

  • Instant gratification and real-time tracking of reward points

  • Unanimous consensus of reward points


Syndicated Loans
------------------------
Corporations undertake multiple large projects such as development of roads, train systems, airports, factories, new business centers, etc., which requires large-scale financing. Procuring these large funds necessitate the institutions to come together to form syndicates and diversify the financial risk among its members.

The corporate clients seeking the loan initiates contact with a Lead Arranger, which coordinates with syndicate members, manages and administers the entire process. The Lead Arranger carries out a KYC for the client, forms a syndicate of members which are willing to fund a percentage of the loan and diversify the risk, and takes on underwriting of the loan.

Implementation of Blockchain would lead to cost savings in the range of 70-80% for a syndicate loan transaction facilitated by banks.

  • Faster syndicate information

  • Digitization of documents

  • Quicker KYC for clients

  • Technology Integration

  • Reduced settlement periods

  • Document immutability


Letter of Guarantee Network
-------------------------------------
Built on blockchain, it will simplify and expedite procedures for a bank’s Letter of Guarantee process, including

  • Strengthening security and reducing costs for both the customer and the bank.

  • Paperless solution facilitating a more convenient flow of information between banks and customers

  • Transparency is improved over incumbent guarantee processes, which in turn minimizes the potential for forgery

  • Reduced time to complete the process


KYC, Trading Platforms, Payments, Fraud Reduction and so the list goes on.

(Source: McKinsey, Deloitte, International Banker, Blockchain APAC )

 

theloop & NongHyup Bank | Banking

 

 

The partnership between theloop and NongHyup Bank brings together one of the nation’s largest players in the financial sector in a powerful collaboration with one of the leading blockchain technology developers. Through cooperation with NongHyup Bank, theloop will lead the way in building a variety of digital financial platforms based on blockchain; consequently, opening doors to a myriad of real-world implementations of the technology in the finance sectors. The two companies will work together on promoting financial API and blockchain use cases through technology research, projects, open seminars, and hackathons.

Partnership Fact Card

Partner Overview
Name:NongHyup Bank (NH Bank)
Founded:2012
Description:NongHyup Bank (NH Bank) is a subsidiary of NongHyup Financial Group Inc (NHFG) which, in turn, is wholly owned National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF).

NACF is a multipurpose cooperative with four main business divisions:

  1. agricultural marketing and supply

  2. livestock marketing and supply

  3. banking and insurance

  4. and the extension service, which offers guidance.


Following a restructuring in 2012, the NACF now serves its members and customers through 27 subsidiaries and two affiliate organizations and 4000+ branches. It represents 2.44 million individual members from 1,165-member cooperatives: more than 80% of all the Korean farmers.
(Source: Stories.coop)

NHFG, the financial sector of NACY acquired brokerage units of Woori Financial Group in 2014 making it the 4th largest player in the industry with 7 subsidiaries. As of June 30, NHFG had total assets of 381.6 trillion won (US$333 Billion).
(Source: Relbanks)

NongHyup Bank provides specialized agricultural and commercial credit and banking services in South Korea. The company operates in four segments: Personal Financing, Corporate Financing, Card, and Others.
(Source: Bloomberg)

Blockchain & FinTech projects:

  • variety of digital financial platforms based on blockchain.

  • promoting financial API and blockchain use cases through technology research, projects, open seminars, and hackathons.

Size:290.657 trillion KRW in total assets in June 2017.
(Source: Relbanks)

20 million customers
(Source: NHFG)

1,200 branches
(Source: Relbanks)

132 000 + Employees
13 000 + Executives
(Source: Business Korea)

NHB is the third-largest commercial lender in Korea.
(Source: ICON Medium)
Facts:In 2013, “Asian Banker” selected NongHyup Bank as the Best Credit Risk Management Bank.
(Source: ICON Medium)

Nonghyup Bank has spent 92.3 billion won (US$82.78 million) on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities last year, the highest figure in the banking industry.
(Source: Business Korea)

NH Nonghyup Bank newly established a block-chain professional workforce training program in March 2018.

The curriculum, which is held every 3 months, is aimed at the executives of Korean National Agricultural College (KNAC) affiliates. In addition to the block chain theory, the curriculum focuses on practical subjects, which are expected to actively respond to changes in business contacts.
(Source: ET News)

Partner's Networks Fact Card

Strategic Partnerships:
Member of R3CEV, the world’s largest blockchain consortium of 160+ global financial companies with a focus on R3; a blockchain technology developer which is developing and testing systems that can apply blockchain technology to financial services. Nonghyup Bank will collaborate with enterprise focused groups and acquire technology by joining the consortium and apply it to the bank’s various financial and economic sectors.
(Source: Business Korea)

Member of the Capital Markets Consortium of South Korea. Refer to details above.
(Source: Coindesk )

Participant in a joint certification consortium based on the blockbusters of the Federation of Korean Banks to foster block-chain professionals.
(Source: News Naver)

 

theloop & Capital Markets Consortium | Capital Markets 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The capital markets consortium is made up of 27 securities firms helmed by KOFIA. The consortium launched a first of its kind blockchain based personal authentication service called “Chain ID”. It enables direct authentication and generation/verification of digital signatures without third parties, reduces authentication cost by as much as 9/10ths, provides higher protection against data falsification and is valid for 3 years instead of the previous yearly renewal. The consortium also plans to expand its services to capital market processes, including clearing and settlement automation in 2018/2019 and over-the-counter trading of bonds and derivatives in 2020.

Please refer to details regarding the constituents of the Capital Markets Consortium in Tier 1 partnerships for ICON in our previous post.

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Capital Markets (Finance)

A financial market in which securities such as shares, and bonds are bought and sold. Capital markets channel the wealth of savers to those who can put it to mid to long term productive use.

Capital markets will play an increasingly important role in providing everything from financing to the world’s most innovative companies to generating the investment returns needed to support an ageing population in the developed world.
Market Size
(Global):
$209 trillion in 2010; up from $12 trillion in 1980, and $53 trillion in 1993.
(Source: Mckinsey)
Market Growth
(Global):
In comparison to the previous five years, 2016 performance was decent with 5% YOY total industry revenues.

  • Investment banking revenue continues to decline but at a lower rate

  • Exchanges & venues, information providers, buy-side institutions realized revenue gains


Forecast for 2020:
EntityUSDGrowth
Asset based buy side fees$300 billion Increase to 45% of total capital markets revenue pool
Investment banks on sell side$205 billionDecrease to 31% of total capital markets revenue pool from 53% in 2006.
Information providers & Exchanges$125 billionIncrease to 19%of capital markets revenue pool; from 8% in 2006
While some large and niche players in investment banking will take market share from retrenching ones, others will have to adapt alternative revenue opportunities beyond traditional roles as capital raisers and market makers.

(Source: Boston Consulting Group 2017, 2016 )

 
Market Characteristics
(Global):
Shift from Banks to Nonbanks
--------------------------------------

According to Boston Consulting Group, the value migration is taking place:

  • From smaller investment banks to large universal banks

  • From players without a specific niche to those with a concentrated focus, such as boutiques specializing in M&A

  • From regulated to unregulated entities

  • From firms with weaker digital capabilities to data- and tech-savvy firms

  • From players without a distinct informational advantage to those with proprietary data and insights


Other evolutions in the market include:

  • Rise of data and technology driven value

  • Evolving regulatory environment of uncertainty for banks and advantages to nonbanks

  • Shift in market structure away from traditional models to innovative platforms


Adoption of Technology
-------------------------------

Emerging technologies such as DLT, RPA and AI are disrupting the ecosystem. Banks must leverage these to remain relevant. DLT especially has disrupted the industry and is expected to drive efficiencies and replace market intermediaries.

Capital Markets Blockchain Investments with a CAGR of 54%:
201420152019
$30 million$75 million$400 million
(Source: Accenture Research, eFinancial News)

Evolution of Blockchain in capital markets:

  • 2015: Exploration and Investment

    • Initial capability and use case assessment

    • Early adoption like internal reconciliation



  • 2016 – 2017: Early adoption

    • Leading banks begin deployment for asset classes that are bilaterally traded and/or have no central clearing authority

    • Regulatory authorities realize benefits related to auditing and compliance



  • 2018-2024: Growth

    • Banks begin to see benefits enjoyed by early adopters combined with more stable regulatory guidance, network effect unfolds

    • Deployments across numerous assets

    • New service providers, models and products and services emerge

    • Incumbent processes and services are discarded



  • 2025: Maturity

    • Adoption is mainstream

    • DLT is integral part of capital markets ecosystem




(Source: Accenture Research)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

DLT offers a new architecture, where all capital market participants work from common data sets, in near real-time, and where supporting operations are either streamlined or made redundant.

 

Applications of DLT to capital markets
------------------------------------------------

Securities transaction:

  • Automatic verification that both parties have the means to complete transaction

  • Both parties jointly ‘sign’ the transaction by applying their private keys to unlock their asset or cash, and then by transferring ownership to the recipient via their public key.


Asset servicing:

  • New assets are issued directly on the ledger

  • Mandatory events and distributions can be managed via smart contracts embedded within the securities.

  • With flat accounting, the multiple custody layers are shrunk to a single function


Derivative Transaction:

  • Unbundled securities enable new financial Engineering whereby specialists construct bespoke instruments consisting of individual cash flows that meet precise needs in terms of timing and credit risk.

  • derivatives created as preprogrammed smart contracts, capturing the obligations of the two counterparties


 

How DLT will benefit Capital Markets
-----------------------------------------------

Pre-Trade:

  • Transparency and verification of holdings

  • Reduced credit exposures

  • Mutualisation of static data

  • Simpler KYC/KYCC via look through to holdings


Trade:

  • Secure, real-time transaction matching, and immediate irrevocable settlement

  • Automatic Delivery versus Payment (DVP) on a cash ledger

  • Automatic reporting & more transparent supervision for market authorities

  • Higher Anti Money Laundering (AML) standards


Post Trade:

  • No central clearing for real-time cash transactions

  • Reduced margin/ collateral requirements

  • Faster novation and efficient post-trade processing

  • Fungible use of assets on blockchains as collateral

  • Auto-execution of smart contracts


Securities Servicing:

  • Primary issuance directly onto a blockchain

  • Automation and deduplication of servicing processes

  • Richer central datasets with flat accounting hierarchies

  • Common reference data

  • Fund subscriptions/ redemptions processed automatically on the blockchain

  • Simplification of fund servicing, accounting, allocations and administration


Faster clearing and settlement:
Once a transaction is confirmed and committed to the ledger, the associated token has also settled in the wallet of the beneficial owner reducing cost and lowering counter party settlement risk and fraud.

Ledger consolidation:
Consolidation of proprietary ledgers into a single data model for reporting purposes.

Consolidated audit trail:
Detailed and precise histories of asset movements that can be made transparent for authorized compliance activities

Reduction in systematic risk:
Eliminate credit and liquidity risk by requiring pre-funding prior to trading

Operational improvements:
Instrument standardization and alignment of terms in advance of blockchain trading would eliminate a number of middle- and back-office processes.

 

Challenges to be overcome
------------------------------------

Recourse:
While immutability of transactions is an important value proposition, it’s also a hurdle as capital markets participants will need to agree on recourse mechanisms to be pre-programmed.

Digitization of assets:
Getting all parties to agree on standard terms, digital descriptors, transaction models ahead of time is not simple. And “finality of settlement” requires radical legal and regulatory work.

Asset disposition:
Not all assets can be fully digitized. DAPPs may need to synchronize the digital ledger with the physical world.

Cash ledger:
Short of fiat currency being recorded on a blockchain, an interoperable cash ledger will require some intermediary step. Stable cryptocurrencies will need to be tackled.

Position netting:
While discrete or grossed up position tracking of assets such as real estate is intuitive to Blockchain, position netting is not and it is vital to financial instruments like cleared derivatives and their associated collateral. Failure to address position netting will result in higher capital and resource requirements in an environment where banks are focused on efficiency and streamlined use of resources.

Regulation and legislation:
Considerable number of aspects of law will also need to be reinterpreted or changed through primary law.

Scalability of the technology:
To match centralized alternatives need to be achieved to meet the processing power needs of the industry successfully

Operational risk of transition:
Careful planning for potential technical failures required

Cultural resistance:
Internal resistance from established institutions particularly if change implies lower profitability, product cannibalization or elimination of roles.

(Source: McKinsey, Oliver Wyman)

 

theloop & Universities Consortium | Educational Services

The universities consortium is a government backed consortium consisting of 3 universities (expanding up to 10 universities by Q3 2018) established to integrate blockchain and cryptocurrency technology into the educational sector. U-Coin (University Coin) as the first initiative is the cryptocurrency developed by the Consortium for university students in major universities in Korea. U-Coin makes it possible to pay, charge and transfer money using a smart vending machine and was well-received at the pilot service run at Sogang University and Postech University. (Source: Medium) Furthermore, U-Coin will expand its ecosystem by creating other cryptocurrency-based services that can be used in nearby communities and university towns. (Source: ICON Whitepaper)

Please refer to details regarding the constituents of the Capital Markets Consortium in Tier 1 partnerships for ICON in our previous post.

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Educational Services

A sector covering establishments whose primary activity is education, including public, not-for-profit and for-profit establishments.
Market Size
(Global):
70.62 Billion by 2020
(Source: Markets and Markets)

170 million global tertiary enrolments in 2009 according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
3.5 million internationally mobile students in 2009. An increase from 800k in 1970s.
(Source: British Council)
Market Growth
(Global):
The fast-paced growth in global tertiary enrolments and mobile students has followed closely world trade growth and far outpaced world GDP growth over the past 20 years.

However, total global tertiary enrolments are forecast to grow by 21 million between 2011 and 2020, or 1.4 per cent per year on average; which indicates a significant slowing down from 5 per cent per year for last 2 decades.
Market Characteristics
(Global):
Changing Landscape
---------------------------

Revenue from key sources is continuing to fall, putting many institutions at severe financial risk. One major challenge is that costs in higher education are rising faster than in almost all other industries. Tuition prices have grown nearly four times since 1978 versus inflation, outpacing even health care costs.

New business and delivery models are gaining traction. Competency-based models, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), “boot camps,” and micro credentials are emerging. There’s a growing investment in online programs, particularly hybrids that blend online and face-to-face learning.

Globalization of education is accelerating. Students are increasingly mobile. The best and brightest are traveling to the developed world’s major universities for higher education.

Lifelong learning is becoming the norm, and universities must introduce programs for nontraditional audiences.

Greater focus on outcome

  • Federal and state governments are promoting more transparency and starting to tie funding to student performance.

  • Higher education is more closely aligning with employers.There’s an increasing array of partnerships with employers that focus on credentialing, licensing, and identifying workforce needs of the future.

  • Student are demanding to be treated as customers and to realize value consummate to the investment they’re making in education.


Universities are finding it crucial to partner with the public, private, and social sectors, as well as other universities—sharing resources and tackling the changing landscape through collaborative research.

(Source: BCG Mega Trends, BCG Higher Education, BCG Five Trends)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

How DLT benefits Education from fastest implementation to most revolutionary:

Payment via Cryptocurrency

  • Overcome barriers such as restriction on access to banks/credit cards depending on country

  • Perfect medium for instant payment

  • Easy payment of cross border tuition fees

  • customized cryptocurrencies for fund grants and vouchers


Validation of Certificates and Degrees

  • Verifying a degree/diploma today takes a lot of resources and time and potential employers and graduate programs are required request confirmation of credentials from universities

  • Digital self-sovereignty for individual’s records built on blockchain technology will enable graduates to share their credentials with whomever they like, and the certifications are indisputable because of the security and immutability offered on by blockchain.


Permanent E-portfolio for students

  • Platforms built on blockchain technology that could capture the lifetime history of a student’s academic and extra-curricular and other administrative details such as attendance could possibly cut down paperwork and make education institutes more efficient.

  • Students gain control and ownership of all their education data, including accreditation and portfolios of work, “in a secure place that is accessible to anyone who needs to verify it—and for their entire lifetime.


Learning Passports

  • Blockchain based open badges that will act as a token of achievement, authorization, and affiliation to the programs a person has participated in throughout his life. These open badges are supposed to be shared in job applications instead of carrying the complete file of certificates and degrees to prove one’s achievements.


Automatic Transfer of Credits

  • Using a blockchain, credits transfer agreements could be written as smart-contracts whereby upon fulfillment of the conditions of the contract, the credits would automatically be transferred


Copyright of Educational Content

  • Blockchain could allow educators to publish content openly, while keeping track of re-use, without putting limitations on the source material.

  • Teachers to be rewarded based on the level of actual use and reuse of their teaching materials, similar to how they are rewarded based on citations to research papers.

  • Students and institutions could then make metrics-based decisions on which teaching materials to use.


Interactive Learning & Analytics

  • All assignments, test scores and learning activities will be mapped on learning environments across the globe. Subsequently global/regional analytics could be built to inform and enable interactive and shared learning across nations.


(Source: Impact Chain Lab, e27, Open Colleges)

 

theloop & Healthcare Consortium | Healthcare 

The Healthcare (Hospitals) Consortium was established to build domestic artificial intelligence health care infrastructure and ecosystem.
(Source: Asia Economics News) Made up of major domestic hospitals, the Healthcare blockchain consortium plans to build a secured precision medical data sharing network.The application of blockchain technology will help with data integrity, a cross-border digital signing system, and a health coin. Its first project, in cooperation with the government and other hospitals, is a cloud-based precision medicine hospital information system that will help with synchronizing databases between hospitals. (Source: Forbes)

Partnership Fact Card

NameGachon University Gil HospitalPusan National University HospitalDaegu Catholic University Med. CentreKeimyung University Dongsan Medical CentreKonyang University HospitalChosun University Hospital Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital
Founded1958195619801982200019712004
Size- 5 hospitals
- 6 Independent specialized medical centers
- 2 research institutes
- 245 specialists (main hospital)
- 30 departments (main hospital)

(Source: Gil)
- 5 hospitals
- 11 specialized centers
- 23 specialty clinics
- 231,000m2 area
- 1,650 beds

(Source: PNUH)
- 24 departments
- 148,426.57㎡
- 854 beds

(Source: DCMC)
- 20 story building
- 1033 beds
- 2000 faculty members
- 41 departments
- 9 specialized centers
- 7 specialized clinics

(Source: DSMC)
- 32 departments
- 14 specialized medical centers
- 16 clinics
- 12 specialized teams in Cancer Centre

(Source: KYUH)
- 19 departments
- 200 beds
- official hospital of 2002 FIFA World Cup
- 8 Specialty Medical Centers

(Source: Chosun)
- 26 Departments
- 700 beds
- 1193 staff
- 93,110㎡ area
- Network of 18 international hospitals

(Source: CNUHH)

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Healthcare

A sector involving a range of companies and non-profit organizations that provide medical services, manufacture medical equipment, and develop pharmaceuticals.
Market Size
(Global):
US$9.59 trillion
(Source: PWC)
Market Growth
(Global):
Global health care spending is projected to increase at an annual rate of 4.1% in 2017-2021, up from just 1.3% in 2012-2016. Aging and increasing populations, developing market expansion, advances in medical treatments, and rising labor costs will drive spending growth. (Source: Deloitte)

MarketsGrowthPeriod
Manufactures$1.85 trillion USD2018
Medical Devices$674.5 billion USD2022
Digital Health$6.5 billion USD
(up 109% from 2016)
2017
IoT Healthcare$14,660 million USD
(up from 5,800 million in 2014)
2022
Home Healthcare$391.41 billion
(up from 228.9 billion in 2015)
2021
(Source: Forbes, Zion, Zion, BCC, )

The healthcare industry is reported to grow faster and add more jobs between 2014 and 2024 than any other sector. (Source: BLS)
Market Characteristics
(Global):
Shift to Smart Healthcare
------------------------------------
“With quality, outcomes, and value being the watchwords for health care in the 21st century, sector stakeholders around the globe are looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to deliver patient-centered, technology-enabled “smart” health care, both inside and outside hospital walls.”  (Source: Deloitte)

 

Innovative Disruptions
------------------------------

  • Value based care: shift from volume to value i.e. move away from the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) system to reform policies, programs promoting operational efficiency, technology use, population health management, wellness, and addressing the social determinants of health.


 

  • Self-aggregation: healthcare shifting from rigid, decades-old payment and provider constructs towards reformed self-contained, efficiently run ecosystems that put the consumer at the center.


 

  • Customer centric: cultural shifts, cost of care and policy adjustments have contributed to a more patient-empowered shift in care over the last century


 

  • De-hospitalization: shift in perspective as hospital transforms from being the access point to becoming one of many access points in the healthcare ecosystem.


 

  • ¼ consumers will be willing to receive healthcare in non-traditional settings


 

  • future of the healthcare will be shaped by new access points that are likely to lead to care that bypasses traditional medical centers altogether.


 

  • Cutting-edge technology:

    • traditional medical technology moving into care provision.

    • non-traditional players such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and IBM will begin to have a tangible implication in the healthcare ecosystem, pushing traditional healthcare companies to break their main business model and make healthcare more accessible, affordable, and consumer-centric.

    • virtual care is replacing traditional notions that a medical diagnosis can only be produced in a person-to-person visit.

    • healthcare electronic technologies, such as 3D printing, wearable biometric devices and GPS tracking, are tested and being introduced for clinical use

    • technology has had a further impact on how healthcare administrators handle resources and manage medical centers




(Source: GWU, Fortune, Frost & Sullivan, PWC, Deloitte)

 

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

Blockchain to disrupt healthcare at faster pace than the financial industry with 16% already adopting as opposed to 15% in Banking and 14% in Finance.
(Source: IBM Report)

(Source: IBM Report on Healthcare respondents’ expectation of when they will have blockchain in production and at scale)

In analyzing the 9 core areas of healthcare business, the results show near unanimity that blockchain benefit can be gained in every aspect of the healthcare in order of highest priority:

  • Clinical trial records (76%)

  • Regulatory compliance (74%)

  • Medical/health records (72%)

  • Medical device data (69%)

  • Medication/treatment (69%)

  • Billing and claims (67%)

  • Adverse event safety (63%)

  • Asset management (62%)

  • Contract management (58%)


(Source: IBM Report)

How DLT will benefit healthcare, some examples:

  • Creates shareable and secure Electronic Health Records (EHRs) which are immutable

  • Facilitates universal and interoperable identity management

  • Enables long data. Shift from disparate pieces of information to a lifetime history of an asset; patient health from GP visits, surgeries to pills taken is recorded accurately and efficiently with every detail time-stamped on the chain.

  • Facilitates patient-centric progress for the industry data is in the hands of the individuals who can access their information across institutions and control which physicians see which information.

  • Provides anonymous and aggregated data to improve research that benefits from overall population health data

  • Improves the benefit of data gathered from medical devices which is very much underutilized at present due to data not being communicated to physicians.

  • Sharing of research results and diagnosis to facilitate new drug and treatment therapies for disease.

  • Improves medication reconciliation making it less time-consuming and free of human error

  • Protects from counterfeit medical products by tracking manufacturing and distribution of medications.

  • Restores trust in clinical trial data by eliminating inaccuracies and manipulation opening up a plethora of benefits of medical/care opportunities.


(Source: IBM Report)

 

theloop & Insurance Consortium | Health Insurance

The Insurance Consortium was established to provide a service which enables automatic payments of health insurance claims such as indemnity insurance payouts to policyholders using blockchain and IoT authentication technology. With theloop as the blockchain technology provider, SK Telecom via the LoRaWAN IoT network is likely to interoperate with system as the IoT authentication technology provider (Source: Ethnews) The consortium named Blockchain-Based Fee-For-Service Health Insurance Automatic Claim Service, backed by the National Information Society Agency under the management of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, is led by Kyobo Life Insurance along with insurtech specialist D. Lemon and hospital medical records service company One. (Source: Business Korea)

The initiative is expected to form an introductory framework for improving the current health insurance landscape:

  • Members, insurance companies, and medical organizations share certified information that is related to insurance via the shared ledger.
  • When members of insurance are hospitalized and receive medical treatment, corresponding medical records are immediately sent to insurance companies through blockchain improving complicated application processes.
  • Policyholders are also able to receive insurance money in real-time with an estimated process time at 10 mins.
    (Source: Naver News)

This system is currently used by three hospitals for small insurance claims that are under $279 (300,000 KRW).
1) Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital
2) Sahmyook Medical Center
3)The Catholic University of Korea St. Vincent’s Hospital
(Source: Etnews)

Partnership Fact Card

NameKyobo Life Insurance Co., Ltd.d. Lemon
Founded19582015
AboutOffers a comprehensive spectrum of life insurance products in South Korea including individual annuity, pure endowment and endowment, death, and group insurance.
(Source: Bloomberg)

- 5 million customers and stakeholders
- 588 branch offices, 59 customer PLAZAs
- 4275 employees
- 17, 870 financial planners
- 12 affiliated companies
- 96.7 trillion KRW in assets
- 5,145 hundred million KRW net income

(Source: Sustainability Report 2016)

South Korea’s third-largest life insurance company, with a market share of 10.2% by premiums in 2016 (2015: 10.8%). (Source: Reuters)

Ranked 1st in Korea Sustainability Index’s life insurance business category for 7 consecutive years. (Source: Sustainability Report 2016)

International Credit Rating: Moody’s A1 | Fitch A+
Domestic Credit Rating: National Information and Credit Evaluation AAA
(Source: Sustainability Report 2016)
An insurance tech startup, d. Lemon (incorporated as DiREMON) operates under the financial platforms arm of Dayli Financial Group (DFG). (Source: DFG)

d.Lemon leads the transformation of Korean insurance industry through its innovative Insurtech services, including an integrated insurance management service ‘Lemon Clip’.

Based on the point that insurers know very well the structure, strength and weaknesses of insurance products, but consumers grapple with the complexity of it all, Lemon Clip seeks to disrupt the seller-centric nature and offer consumer-centered insurance by eliminating the information asymmetry between the seller and the buyer.

The Lemon Bridge Solution (App) developed in 2017 solves for the above issue whereby an integrated insurance inquiry engine checks all 40 insurance companies in Korea and shows the details of the insurance, including the premium, guarantee period, insurance period and payment period. Insurance consumers are able to collect their insurance information and share it with trusted planners to optimize their insurance coverage within the App itself.

The App also maximizes the efficiency of insurance companies by eliminating the existing manual steps through 'Automated Input Analysis of Guarantees', which automatically inputs the assurance contents of the collected insurance into the guarantee analysis system of the insurance company.

The implementation of blockchain and IoT simple authentication technology will enhance the App security enabling transparent information retrieval on the mobile itself.

With the intent of adding value to existing insurance services, d.Lemon is also discussing with SMEs, non-life insurers, IT companies, smart insurance inquiry, AI-based insurance recommendation, insurance claim enhancement and P2P insurance.

(Source: ZDnet, FN Times, Inthenews)

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Health Insurance

A sector involving companies, people and activities surrounding coverage that provides for the payments of benefits as a result of sickness or injury. It includes insurance for losses from accident, medical expense, disability, or accidental death and dismemberment.
Market Size
(Global):
Private Health Insurance
$.16 trillion in 2017
(Source: McKinsey)
Market Growth
(Global):
Private Health Insurance
$3.2 trillion in 2025

Growth forecast private health insurance:
Region20152025% p.a.
North America$886 billion$1757 billion6%
Europe$250 billion$340 billion3%
Asia-Pacific$110 billion$558 billion16%
Africa$1.1 billion$3.5 billion11%
Latin America$33 billion$613 billion30%
Growth in gross written premiums (GWP) and ROE is now substantially higher in health insurance than in other insurance lines due to:

  • Increasing healthcare consumption caused by

    • Global aged population (>65) is increasing at 3.1% yearly; likely to double by 2030.

    • Income growth of global population reaching 58.8% middle class by 2030 with 4.8 billion people

    • Rise of global disease burden as a result of low childhood mortality and increase in chronic conditions such as obesity



  • Government privatization of health insurance

    • As a result of pressure on public finances governments impose healthcare spending cuts or seek out private payors as intermediaries to better manage spending and outcomes.




(Source: McKinsey)
Market Characteristics
(Global):
For the emerging tech enabled landscape, forward-looking insurers are investing across the value chain for achieving improved pricing, enhanced operational efficiency and for developing a strong appetite for innovation.


  • Customer centricity: Increasing number of healthcare providers are offering their own health plans, driving insurers to place greater focus on customer needs, convenience and value-based care system to stay competitive.




  • Real-time data: Wearable devices are gaining popularity with a forecasted $51.6 billion market size by 2022. Health insurers are able to leverage real time data in tandem with advancing analytical capabilities to engage with customers at a personalized level and make better business decisions.




  • Insurtech: From being a stand-alone sector, insurance will evolve to become an integral element of a much larger InsurTech-enabled digital landscape, with InsurTech firms turning into integrators and possible competitors.


 

Driven by Robotic Process Automation (RPA)/ Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and IoT, automation and personalization will be key for the future digital insurance landscape.



  • Value based model: Industry shift from fee-for-service model to value-based model will drive greater collaboration between payers and providers.


(Source: Ernst & Young, Cap Gemini)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

How DLT will benefit health insurance:


Interoperable, comprehensive health records.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Health care records today are fragmented across a multitude of organizations, resulting in siloed and incomplete patient information at the point of care and an inability to track patients in real time.

Blockchain’s ability to bring decentralized entities together while enhancing data security makes possible sharing sensitive medical information among insurers, providers, patients, and other stakeholders.

As such implications for health insurance include:

  • Using the information to help members manage their health and provide wellness rewards.

  • Assist members in deciding optimal insurance plans

  • Identify and close patient care gaps.

  • Gain greater understanding of value-based care arrangements when a patient’s entire episode of care can be accurately reviewed across providers.




Increase process efficiencies with Smart Contracts.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
With many insurers using claims systems built several decades ago, properly acquiring and utilizing information to make timely decisions are difficult and typically prolong over days or weeks.

Increasing cost and resource inefficiencies in maintaining outdated technologies and systems also hinder the adoption of value-based strategies and cost-effective administrative infrastructure.

Blockchain could automatically collect records of agreements, transactions, and other valuable information sets, then link together the information and act on the data using smart contracts.

As such implications for health insurance include:

  • Process customer transactions more quickly

  • Lower overhead costs by increasing speed and efficiency of automated tasks and processes.

  • Repurpose staff resources to non-blockchain enabled roles.

  • Boost security for personally identifiable health information.

  • Potentially use smart contracts to verify visits and procedures.

  • Reduce prior authorization calls and paperwork, smart contracts could verify automatically

  • implementing value-based care strategies based on increased access to risk adjustment data, utilization and spending information for risk-sharing arrangements as well as increase overall efficiency from contracting to payment execution.




Detecting fraud more effectively.
-----------------------------------------------
Health insurance fraud ranges from providers submitting claims for services never rendered to up-coding services to receive higher payments.

Blockchain’s ability to easily and securely pull together different data sources at any point in a transaction and enable data analysis increases insurers’ ability to detect, identify, and mitigate fraudulent activity.



Improving accuracy of Provider Directory.
--------------------------------------------------------

Despite being one of the most used function, the online provider directories are too frequently outdated and inaccurate due to high reliance on providers to update the directories and conflicting information from different resources.

An increasing government scrutiny of insurers to publish accurate directories and honor lists creates a much-needed improvement to the existing system.

Blockchain-based provider directories could:

  • leverage the technology’s decentralized consensus protocols to allow providers and insurers to update listings more quickly and easily

  • Corrections to directory can be automatically accepted or rejected by smart contracts based on other information in the blockchain (e.g., a recently rejected claim).

  • Health plans will be able to keep track of all provider updates and will know which information is most current.

  • Providers, who currently have to maintain multiple directories can consolidate their efforts.

  • Essentially a robust network which could be more useful to all stakeholders.




Other
----------

Streamlining application process, greater insurer/provider relationship dynamic, more accurate reserve calculations for reinsurance are among the many added benefits resulting from the overall integration of blockchain technology in tandem with other insurtech innovations in the healthcare space.

(Source: Deloitte, EY )

 

theloop & ChainToB | Professional & Business Services

 

The strategic alliance between theloop and ChainToB will play an integral role in facilitating access to blockchain technology for the business services sector, particularly in supporting the shift from legacy technology and architecture in the industry. In addition to becoming a distributor of loopchain technology the numerous sectors that fall under the umbrella of business services including commerce, IoT, Medical, Services, etc., theloop and ChainToB will combine its resources to further develop the loopchain engine that powers the ICON Network; invigorating the network through expanding communities as well as technological evolution.

Partnership Fact Card

Partner Overview
Name:ChainToB, Ltd
Founded:2017
Description:ChainToB is a business services platform that aims to link blockchain core technology and business services to meet the needs of the current landscape as various industries start adopting the technology including Commerce, Medical, IoT, Services & Document Management.

The platform has two layers will enable easy development of blockchain based services:

  • bPaaS (Blockchain Platform-as-a-Services)

  • Set of service components


(Source: ChainToB)
Size:A start-up with 9-member leadership team
(Source: ChainToB)
Facts:Provides blockchain solutions to Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute and Pusan National University Research Park.
(Source: Medium)

Developing a new blockchain based social networking service in Japan.
(Source: Medium)

Partner's Networks Fact Card

Strategic Partnerships:
One of 28 participating companies in the Korea Shared Economic Association which was established with the aim of contributing to the economic and social progress of the Republic of Korea. Korea Creative Economy Research Network (KCERN) emphasized that the future of the fourth industrial revolution is a shared platform economy. The KCERN Chairman defines the shared economy as 'activities that create value and reduce costs through sharing of economic factors'. (Source: MK News)

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Professional and Business Services (PBS)

A sector that covers a range of diverse knowledge-intensive industries which provide specialized support services to businesses as opposed to a tangible commodity.
Market Size
(Global):
PBS MarketSize (USD)Source
Legal$645 billion Business Wire, 2018
Accounting$464 billionAlliot Group, 2018
Management Consulting$139 billionGreen Target, 2017
Architectural$288.65 billionGrand View Research, 2018
Scientific Research & Development$257 billionPR Newswire, 2016
Marketing$1 trillionAMA, 2017
Employment $450 billionWEC, 2016
BPaaS$46.4 billionStatista, 2018
Market Growth
(Global):
Professional services market is forecast to register a 5.4% growth rate from 2016 to 2020, reaching almost $5 trillion.

The value was split by design, research, promotional, and consulting services; legal services; and accounting segments in the ratio of 71:17:12.

(Source: Market Research)
Market Characteristics
(Global):
Market Disruptions
---------------------------

Three major trends disrupting the professional and business services industry:

  1. Increasing Client expectations in value, quality, delivery timelines, transparency and accountability of work delivered.

  2. Increasing Competition; up 62% from 201 especially as digital disruptors enter the market

  3. Changing Resourcing Models as companies view leveraging contractors and sub providers as agile solutions to growth for business.

  4. Digital Transformation; traditional model of billing consultants on time and materials basis is challenged by customer expectation for specific business specific outcomes and newer/cheaper digital business models


(Source: Consultancy UK, Digitalist)

 

Market Evolution
------------------------

The sector evolved from shared services (1990), multisourcing (2000), integrated services (2010) to digitally enabled GBS in 2020s and beyond:

  • Services delivered virtually

  • “As-a-Service” for front-, back- and middleoffice integration

  • Big data drives predictive analytics

  • Complex, value-add services that leverage technology

  • People, process and technology aligned to deliver customer experience such as

    • value oriented revenue model

    • modularization of service elements

    • automation of back end services




(Source: KPMG, Market Research)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

How DLT will benefit Professional and Business Services (PBS):

Meet growing client expectations around value, quality, delivery timelines, transparency and accountability of work delivered.

  • Streamlines small and repetitive tasks, increase speed of delivery

  • Improve security of data

  • Increase transactional transparency

  • Minimize human error


(Source: OBT)

Each of the markets that operate under the umbrella of Professional and Business Services sector will benefit from DLT in unique ways that align with their respective business operations.

For example, legal sector benefits from DLT in ways including:

  • with smart contracts, one can decrease the cost and friction of creating, securing, and generating binding legal agreements.

  • protect intellectual property by anchoring it with blockchain

  • progress property rights data management from paper to blockchain

  • application in chain of custody especially for digital evidence.

  • legal documents can be timestamped digitally instead of notary public’s rubber stamp.


(Source: Techradar)

 

DAYLI Intelligence & SBI Ripple Asia | Cross Border Payments

 


DAYLI Intelligence provides blockchain solutions and AI-based technology infrastructure for financial institutions and will work with SBI Ripple Asia to enable instant cross-border payments between customers in Japan and South Korea, as well as other global markets.

Partnership Fact Card

Partner Overview
Name:SBI Ripple Asia Co., Ltd.
Founded:2016
Description:SBI Ripple Asia
---------------------

A joint venture between SBI Holdings, Inc. and Ripple Labs Inc. to provide next-generation settlement platform based on blockchain technology in Japan and the rest of Asia.

Secretariat to the Consortium for Considering Using Blockchain Technology to Centrally Provide Domestic and Foreign Exchange Services. It will begin to consider new types of payment and settlement services that utilize blockchain technology to address:

  1. a trend of 24-hour and real-time settlement resulting from innovative changes occurring in recent years to ICT coupled with changing customer behaviors and way of living in society

  2. increasingly diverse needs for remittance concerning small-value settlements

  3. a borderless trend caused by cross-border ecommerce and Japanese companies’ expansion into Asian countries.


(Source: SBI Group)

Launched RC Cloud, a Japan-originated, cloud-hosted platform and the first in the world to allow banks to make both domestic and cross-border payments on a unified platform by utilizing Ripple’s solution.

(Source: SBI Group)

 

SBI Holdings, Inc.
------------------------

Offers financial services in several categories, including banking, insurance and securities. It has established the first Internet-based financial conglomerate in the world. The company has expanded into biotechnology, including research and development, as well as sales related to health foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

SBI Holdings joined in the consortium led by R3 as the first financial group in the world, whose main channel is the Internet, and has acquired information about DLT and conducted researches regarding the distributed ledger platform.

(Source: SBI Group )

 

Ripple Labs, Inc.
----------------------

Ripple provides global financial settlement solutions to ultimately enable the world to exchange value like it already exchanges information – giving rise to an Internet of Value (IoV).

In addition to being the digital currency forerunner that issues and runs XRP, a digital currency trailing only bitcoin in popularity, Ripple is a developer and provider of Ripple Connect for major foreign financial institutions. This latter product is an innovative next-generation settlement platform utilizing block chain technology.

Ripple sits on the Federal Reserve’s Faster Payments Task Force Steering Committee. It also co-chairs the W3C’s Web Payments Working Group.

(Source: CCN)
Size:Capital: 500 million yen

Shareholders:

  • SBI Group 60.0%

  • Ripple Labs Inc. 40.0%
(Source: Ripple, SBI Group)

Serves China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and ASEAN countries.
(Source: CCN)

Partner's Networks Fact Card

Strategic Partnerships:
Japanese Banks Consortium

  • Led by SBI Ripple Asia

  • 61-member banks comprising over 80% of the country’s banking assets


(Source: CCN)

Japanese Brokerages Consortium

  • Lead by SBI Ripple Asia

  • 18 founding members

  • The consortium is dedicated to driving the adoption of blockchain and other innovative technology.

  • Specifically, the consortium is looking into a shared log-in mechanism for brokerage accounts for customers that uses biometrics and other personal identification information, as well as using artificial intelligence to screen trading activity.


(Source: Asia Nikkei)

Credit Cards Industry Consortium

  • Composed of three major credit card providers including JCB, Sumitomo Mitsui Card and Credit Saison

  • Launching retail consumer payment app “MoneyTap” for instant domestic money transfers built on Ripple blockchain technology enabling users to pay with QR code, phone number or bank account number 24 hours 7 days a week making it more convenient than bank transfers.

  • Japan’s current national payments clearing platform, ‘Zengin’, only allows domestic money transfers between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM in the country, with the added burden of existing banking and/or ATM fees.

  • in addition to virtual currency issue and point management, it is expected to be utilized in various applications such as identity verification, sharing/fraud prevention of illegal transactions and single sign-on.


(Source: Crypto Ninjas)

 

Industry Fact Card

Industry Overview
Industry:Cross Border Payments

A sector that involves individuals, corporations, settlement institutions, central banks or a combination thereof, in at least two different countries in the facilitation of a transaction.
Market Size
(Global):
Overall cross border payments
-----------------------------------------
B2B cross border payments and consumer remittance constitute for 16% (~303 billion) of the $ 1.8 trillion total payments revenue in 2015.


Business cross border payments
-------------------------------------------
$275 billion in 2015
RegionCross Border Payments Revenue (USD)% of all payments revenue in the region
APAC$124 billion16%
EMEA$71 billion20%
North America$55.25 billion13%
Latin America25.35 billion13%


International remittance
--------------------------------
$28 billion in 2015
RegionCross Border Payments Revenue (USD)% of all payments revenue
APAC$7.75 billion 1%
EMEA$7.1 billion2%
North America$12.75 billion3%
Latin America Nil0%
(Source: Next, McKinsey)
Market Growth
(Global):
McKinsey projects cross-border payments revenue growth to be moderate over the course of 2015 - 2020 at 4% compared to 6% for the period 2010 to 2014. This moderation will result from margin pressures as non-banks move more aggressively to gain share in this space.

Boston Consulting Group also projects a moderate growth for wholesale payments revenue from cross-border transactions at an annual CAGR of 6.8% during 2016 - 2026, down from 7.5% in 2010 – 2015. This trend is attributed to slower trade growth and pressure on margins.

Market Characteristics
(Global):
Modernizing Payments Structure
-----------------------------------------

Correspondent banking—in which one financial institution carries out transactions on behalf of another, often because it has no local presence—has been used as the instrument for cross-border payments historically.

However, this traditional model has come under acute pressure due to:

  • Customers: expectations for real-time, digitally enabled cross-border payments are growing as domestic retail payments undergo rapid digitization.

  • Regulators: Regulatory compliance is driving up the cost of cross-border payments systems and forcing banks to review their correspondent relations

  • Competitors: Digital innovators are attracting customers with new solutions and enhanced value propositions that threaten not only to cut banks out of their correspondent banking relationships but also to loosen banks’ ties with end customers, at least where payments-related activities are concerned.


This means lower prices for cross-border payments and lower shares for banks and its forcing them to review their commercial and operational set-up.
(Source: McKinsey)

 
Role of Cross Border eCommerce
------------------------------------------

Enhanced localization, better logistics, and more payment options are making it easier for consumers all over the world to buy goods from other countries.

eMarketer reports that worldwide cross-border ecommerce is expected to reach US$424 billion by 2021, making up 15 percent of the segment. Global ecommerce will grow at twice the rate of domestic e-commerce until 2020.

With the Asia Pacific region leading the way, Forrester foresees cross-border ecommerce outpacing domestic growth, with a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent between 2017 and 2022.

It predicts that cross-border purchases will comprise 20 percent of all worldwide ecommerce in 2022, with sales of $627 billion.


Growth markets:

  • Asia Pacific 54%

  • Western Europe 19%

  • North America 14%

  • Latin America 6%

  • Mid-eastern Europe 4%

  • EMEA 2%


(Source: Forrester, Accenture, Ecommerce Platforms)

Blockchain Impact on Industry Fact Card

Under the current system, in order for a transaction to take place between two banks, SWIFT is required to provide guarantee and confirm message transmission; central banks operate as settlement agents to guarantee payments.

Drawbacks of the current system include:
----------------------------------------------------

  • High Cost - SWIFT charges the bank for processing orders. According to World Bank Report 2017 an overseas transfer costs 8% in fees on average but ranges from 11.2% using banks to 5.3% using FinTech; even when using a FinTech company to transfer funds, banks still handle transactions at both ends.


 

  • Prolonged settlement time- A single transaction has to traverse through certain correspondent banks which involve activities like receiving, collating, netting payment messages before transmitting confirmation/denials to the respective banks; this increases time to settle.


 

  • Trusted third-party – In order to have a unified view, a trusted third party with the power to overturn/overwrite ledger activities is required.


 

  • Central Bank requirements – maintain prescribed liquidity in settlement accounts


 

How DLT will benefit cross-border payments:
-------------------------------------------------------

  • Enabling of trust as the transaction takes place directly between the two parties who have a bilateral agreement and excludes any middlemen, central agencies, or correspondents from the payment processing.


 

  • Reduced transaction cost by 40–80% as the costs mentioned above for services provided by banks, SWFIT are no longer required.


 

  • Reduced time for settlement of transactions as there is no need for central agencies and movement of messages. 4-6 seconds average velocity of money as opposed to 2-3 days via conventional payment systems.


 

  • The intraday liquidity need not be ensured with central banks. The balances in all the banks are duly maintained on the distributed ledger.


 

  • Reliability owing to decentralized network; higher security and protection from cyber-attacks, manipulation, modification of messages etc.


 

  • Enhanced payment transparency as sender and receiver are nodes of the network.


 

  • As no messages are transmitted, global standardization across the different protocols such as SWIFT, EDIFACT and EBICS is minimized.


 

Challenges to overcome:
--------------------------------

  • Data protection and privacy could be addressed to some extent using private/permissioned blockchain.


 

  • Regulatory and compliance issues due to the removal of middleman regulatory agencies. Proposed solutions include an additional data layer along the payment process involving blockchain which will enable extraction of the details for each transaction.


 

  • Exposure to double currency conversion if the sender and the receiver are using different currencies


(Source: World Bank Group, Fintech Fans, Infosys, Deloitte)

 


27 Jan: Network of Networks


Join our Focus Group to stay connected with our ICON updates

Join our ICON focus group for technical discussion.


ICON aims to facilitate the wholesale adoption of a decentralized and trustless society powered by blockchains. The adoption of which is dependent on the connectivity and interoperability of the blockchains powering the various organisations and factions of society. These factors become more and more important as the blockchain ecosystem develops and expands and is the driver behind ICON’s vision to hyperconnect the world – a world powered by a decentralised network that allows independent blockchains to transact fluidly with each other. To create this massive network of blockchains, ICON guarantees independence of governance to each blockchain and constructs mutual connections only when and as they are required.

ICON’s ambition hinges on its ability to bring real world communities/entities onto a shared ledger and extend organic connections between them. “As the number of communities connected through the ICON Network increases, the number of transactions increases exponentially, resulting in maximum utility of the network.” (Whitepaper)

Public, consortium and private blockchains are the three types of blockchains that make up the current landscape and entail varying degrees of private control required by the participating entities such as government bodies and financial institutions. ICON Republic is a protocol that facilitates the individual requirements of different blockchains whilst allowing them to coexist and inter-operate. Similar to how the internet connected computers and local area networks, ICON becomes the underlying infrastructure for the internet of blockchains.

_______________________

Network of Networks

In its endeavour to hyperconnect the world, ICON is forging a connectivity infrastructure not bound by finite limitations or the inherent drawbacks of a centralised system. Bridging the gap between existing societal structures and the trustless function offered by blockchain technology, ICON provides a tether between nuclear communities creating a network of networks effect.

To fully convey the scope and breadth of the network of networks system, we have deconstructed its components, the connections between them and how they operate within the ecosystem.

Communities form the most fundamental layer of the ecosystem. A community within the ICON Network is comparable to a planet. The self-sustaining ecosystem of a planet enables inhabitants with complimentary needs to thrive and coexist within its boundaries. Similarly, the blockchain of a community enables nodes with complimentary characteristics and needs to operate within the bounds of the community ledger. For example, a healthcare community may enable the relevant participants such as hospitals, pharmaceuticals and medical research institutions to benefit from the symbiotic relations established by the shared ledger. When a community’s needs extend beyond its boundaries, it is able to connect to a larger network through the Nexus.

The Nexus of the ICON Network is comparable to a Sun at the center of a Solar system. Similar to how the gravity of the Sun keeps the planets orbiting around it, the Nexus blockchain acts as the core technology that draws multiple communities into coexistence.
Similar to how a galaxy comprises of multiple Solar systems the ICON Republic is made up of multiple networks, whereby ICON’s Nexus blockchain is able to connect to networks external to itself. This interoperability of networks is the fundamental reason for the formation of the Blockchain Interoperability Alliance (BIA) presently comprising of ICON, Aion and Wanchain.

ICON’s underlying infrastructure: loopchain

loopchain, is the proprietary blockchain technology used to build the ICON infrastructure. It is a high-performance blockchain with Smart Contract features that can be customized according to the needs of individual communities; so that they may operate independently and as part of a larger blockchain ecosystem. While loopchain is the native blockchain of the ICON Network, participating blockchain entities have the option to alternatively elect their own governance and consensus mechanisms. This approach is akin to modular architecture, where parts can be taken out, swapped or added; giving great flexibility to those joining the network whilst allowing the inter-chain functionalities to take full advantage of a fully connected ecosystem.

Breakdown of ICON Network Components

Network ElementDescriptionExample
Community
They are made of Community Nodes (C- nodes) and Community Representative node (C-Rep). Communities’ composition and size vary according to their characteristics and requirements. Each community is able to elect its own governance and consensus mechanisms. The organic nature of community formation allows different manifestations. Two such examples are:

1)A community made of several hospitals who operate on the same blockchain

Bob goes to Hospital A and his doctors are able to verify his identity and medical history through the common ledger. Hospital A is also able to see that Hospital B has a certain drug required for Bob at their pharmacy.

2) A community made of several organisations under the umbrella of healthcare, such as hospitals, research institutes and pharmaceuticals.
C-Node
C-Nodes are individuals or organisations that form a Community and can elect:
- consensus algorithm
- C-Rep
- operation of cryptocurrency within the community
In a community made of 6 hospitals, each hospital is a c-node on the blockchain.

C-nodes can be formed from the individuals involved in the Hospital community, doctors, nurses, directors etc. It depends on how the Hospital Community structure is formed and is entirely up to the community.
C- Rep
(Portal)
A C-Rep, is nominated by the Community to participate on the Nexus blockchain as its representative. Depending on the community’s consensus mechanism, the C-Rep can consist of one or more participating nodes or another alternative structure. The C-Rep is able to vote on the governance and verification of transactions that take place on the Nexus. In a community made of 6 hospitals, C-Reps can be

1) one or more of the hospitals

2) a combination of:
- Jane the Director of Hospital C
- John the Director of Hospital A
- David the community administrator for the Hospital Consortium
Nexus
(ICON Republic)
The Nexus, sometimes also referred to as ICON Republic, is a multi-channel blockchain called loopchain; made up of C-Reps and Citizen Nodes. loopchain, through its multi-channel feature groups these nodes and adjusts their voting rights within respective channels to execute various tasks.

The channels that make up the Nexus include:
1. Representation Channel
2. Reserve Channel & Public Treasury (Wallet)
3. Notary Channel
4. Public Channel
On a Nexus blockchain, the following communities might coexist via C-Rep participation:

- Hospitals Community
- Insurance Community
- Universities Community

A medical research department from university (C-Node) in the Universities Community is able to request access to medical records from a hospital (C-Node) in the hospitals community via the Nexus.

Similarly, an insurance company (C-Node) in the insurance community is able to request client record verification from a hospital (C-Node) in the hospitals community via the Nexus.
Representation Channel
A channel through which C-Reps and other nodes with voting rights determine the governance of Nexus. Other nodes with voting rights include nodes that support off-chain transactions (side-chains and transactions that take place within an independent blockchain not participating as a community on the Nexus).

Participating nodes within the Representation Channel manage node policies regarding:
● Node addition and removal in Nexus and Nexus channels
● Voting rights of nodes from different channels
● ICX Transaction fee adjustments

Voting eligibility within the Representation Channel is distributed proportionately according to community size and transaction scale to ensure accurate representation.
Following on from the example of the Nexus above, each of the three participating communities’ (Hospitals, Insurance & Universities) elected C-Reps will make up the Representation Channel.

Node supporting off-chain transactions: Independent Banks Consortium
Reserve Channel
A channel delegated with the authority to generate and distribute ICX in return for bonds issued by participating nodes.

While anyone can participate in the Reserve Channel and exercise their right to issue a bond in return for ICX, the bond limit for each node is determined by the node’s contribution to strengthen the ICON Network.

A scoring system called IISS (ICON Incentives Scoring System) is used to measure a node’s contribution through the following criteria.
1) frozen ICX; ICX deposited by the node in the DEX reserve pool which enables DEX to maintain reserves.
2) C-Rep status
3) ICX exchange volume of the node
4) ICX exchange volume of the whole community if the node belongs to a community.
5) ICX volume traded through DEX if applicable
The ICON Network uses an A.I prediction model to optimise this scoring system on an ongoing basis.

The total amount issued by the Reserve Channel is determined by an A.I analysis model based on total money supply and transaction velocity, accounting for the inflation and exchange rate.
Any node, such as an insurance company, will issue a bond to the reserve channel and receive ICX from the treasury; the obtained ICX can then be utilised by the insurance company to transact with a hospital to request for medical record verification.
Public Treasury of Nexus
Storage for ICX including transaction fees and ICX generated by the Reserve Channel. The ICX storage from which the insurance company will receive its ICX according to the Reserve Channel example.
Notary Channel
The Notary Channel is dedicated to connecting transactions between blockchains linked to the Nexus i.e. Communities. The Blockchain Transfer Protocol (BTP) is the set of guidelines that governs this process on the Nexus. The process has three stages leading up to execution of the transaction.

In the first stage, selected C-Nodes within the Community are given certain Notary Channel voting rights according to the Community’s consensus mechanism. The Community in this context is the blockchain which is initiating the transaction. The voting rights enable the C-Nodes to add signatures to transaction blocks authenticating their data. Once the blocks are authenticated internally they are registered as requests with the notary channel on the Nexus, pending stage two validation.

The second stage takes place on the Nexus, within the Notary Channels. The Notary Channels are made up of Notary nodes which in turn consist of light clients from each blockchain. Light clients are the links between the Communities and the Notary Channels on the Nexus. They validate the signatures on the incoming blocks using the LFT Consensus Algorithm to certify and transmit the transactions to the Receiver Blockchain through a portal. A portal in this context is simply the medium through which a transaction is sent from Notary Channel to the Receiving Blockchain. The LFT Consensus Algorithm requires two-thirds of the block signatures to be verified by the light clients before it is transmitted to the Receiver Blockchain.

Once the block has been transmitted to the Receiver blockchain, the transaction has entered its final (third) stage of verification. The Receiver blockchain will verify the transaction sent by the Notary Channel using the PKI system* to validate the certifications issued by the light clients. Essentially by validating the Notary certifications, the Receiver blockchain confirms and accepts the signatures of the transmitting blockchain, allowing the transaction to be executed.

*The PKI system is beyond the scope of this article.
A research institute from a Research Institute Community wishes to access the historical records of a Hospital that belongs to a Hospitals Community.

The elected C-Nodes within the research Institute Community who have voting rights to the notary channel will authenticate the request before registering it to be processed with the notary channel.


The light clients representing each of the blockchains on the Nexus certify the registered blocks according to the LFT Consensus algorithm. Once two thirds or more of the signatures on the block are verified, the block is transmitted to the Hospitals Community through the portal.


The Hospitals Community blockchain verifies the transaction block according to the PKI system, to validate the certification issued by the light clients. The transaction is processed, and the Hospital records requested by the research institute are released.
Nexus Public Channel
The Public Channel is open to anyone for :
● Executing ICX Transactions
● Creation of DAPPs
● Use of DAPPs

The Public Channel includes light clients and full nodes. Light clients similar to their role in the Notary Channel, are able to register and confirm transactions. Full Nodes elected by the Representation Channel validate these transactions. While all Full Nodes will be incentivised, Light Clients are subject to discretionary incentivisation based on factors such Transaction Size and ICX deposit amount similar to a POS System.
Citizen Node
Anyone can interact with the ICON Network as a citizen node via the Nexus Public Channel. Citizen nodes do not have voting rights and can only create transactions. Examples of Citizen Nodes include:

a) A patient making a payment to the hospital for a surgery is able to execute this transaction through their access to the Public Channel

b) The creator of a medical data exchange DAPP. (See DAPP example b)
Citizen Node (C-Rep)
Citizen Nodes become C-Reps with voting rights subject to approval by the participating citizen nodes of the relevant DAPP community. The provider of the Medical Data Exchange DAPP stakes ICX to gain permission to act as representative for those using his/her DAPP.
DAPPs
Decentralised Applications built on the Public Channel of Nexus are accessible to anyone by downloading it from the DAPP store.

Most DAPPS are available to the general public much like consumer software. However, there may be DAPPs created specifically for consortiums more akin to enterprise software.
Any decentralised application that we see now could be replicated on the ICON network. Cloud computing, identity verification, housing, etc. The numerous applications that exist on Neo and ETH platform could similarly be replicated. ICON foundation will also demo 5 DAPPs at Mainnet Launch on 31st Jan.

Further examples of DAPPs built on the Public Channel of Nexus that take full advantage of the hyper-connected elements of society could include:

Publicly available DAPP:

a) A research lab service provider that offers external lab services to other nodes. In this example, a research institute (either operating as an individual node or as part of a Research Institute Community on the ICON Network) might find this support service useful for outsourcing some of their lab work; in which case, they will download the DAPP from the DAPP store to use their services in exchange for a service fee.

Consortium specific DAPP:

b) A medical data exchange DAPP that facilitates exchange of information among medical professionals belonging to hospital consortiums through real-time updates on the blockchain. For example, a Doctor prescribing medication for a specific diagnosis will be able to access alternative medications prescribed for the same illness and view how effective the alternative methods were. Through the DAPP, a medical professional anywhere in the world is able to have equal access to information better informing their decisions while data privacy is protected from public access.

DEX
The DEX is a DAPP directly implemented into the native ICON wallet giving "ICONex” its name. It is a decentralised exchange that allows transaction between different cryptocurrencies through the ICON Network. DEX creates a link between ICX and the exchange cryptocurrency by forging a Reserve Smart Contract based on the Bancor Protocol to determine the rate of exchange. For example, if ETH is being exchanged for ICX, the ETH/ICX DEX would comprise of nodes from Ethereum and ICON with voting rights to the Reserve Smart Contract.

The Bancor protocol in simple terms helps DEX establish the price of ICX in exchange for various cryptocurrencies. The exchange rate will vary for different cryptocurrency/ICX pairs depending on a number of factors which is beyond the scope of this article.
With reference to Citizen Node example (A), a patient holding ETH may require ICX to make the payment to the hospital. In this scenario, the DEX is able to automatically exchange the patient’s ETH for ICX. The DEX and its respective reserve dedicated to facilitating the exchange of ETH/ICX determines the rate at which it will exchange the two currencies. This enables the patient to receive ICX and execute the hospital payment transaction without resorting to external or centralised mediums.

If alternatively, the patient possesses a different coin, XYZ, but requires ICX, the DEX dedicated XYZ/ICX will automatically carry out this exchange. The DEX facilitating this specific pair will have its own exchange rate determined by the Bancor Protocol.

Conclusion

Blockchain technology’s potential to truly transform the world as we know it into a completely decentralised ecosystem, built on peer to peer value exchange networks depends greatly on the speed and strength of mainstream adoption. ICON recognises the challenges of such large-scale adoption where not all entities that make up the social, economic and political constructs of our society are able to transact on public ledgers. Every entity has its own requirements whereby a one size fits all model will not be effective. ICON’s network of networks ecosystem and its native blockchain technology the loopchain resolve these issues by building in flexibilities that provide the stepping stones for society to ultimately operate on a decentralized system. By facilitating public, private and consortium blockchains to be part of one ecosystem ICON creates a conducive infrastructure for the various layers of society (individuals, enterprises, organisations, government bodies etc.) to comfortably move onto the blockchain and interact with one another.

In closing, much like we take the internet for granted, the realization of ICON’s ambitions will see an end user unwittingly interact with a society that runs on blockchain technology, taking for granted all its benefits.

23 Dec: ICON Network & Partnerships 


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ICON Network & Partnerships

We’ve previously written about the distinguishing features of ICON and why it stands out in an increasingly crowded landscape; we wanted to do a deeper dive on it’s partnerships to further clarify one of its key strengths.

_______________________

‘theloop’ as Enterprise blockchain provider & ICON as it’s public ledger manifestation

The strength of its real-world partnerships places the ICON project in a truly rarified sphere within the blockchain landscape. The breadth and scope of the ICON network can be a little difficult to grasp to begin with. It may be useful to define some of the central players first. ICON itself may best be thought of as the public ledger iteration of loopchain (a proprietary blockchain technology developed by “theloop”) and is stewarded by The ICON foundation established in Switzerland. There are two chief technology partners for ICON – “theloop” which provides the blockchain technology and “DAVinci” which will leverage artificial intelligence tech and big data analysis to optimise the function of the ICON network. Both theloop and DAVinci sit under the umbrella of DAYLI Financial Group.

theloop is already working with a multitude of real world partners (including securities firms, hospitals, universities and more) and is well positioned to meet the blockchain tech demands of ICON. DAVinci which is an industry leader in the application of Artificial Intelligence  (partnering with the likes of Hyundai Capital, AXA Direct and Samsung Card) also brings invaluable expertise to the ICON project. DAVinci adds an interesting dimension to the ICON framework; it leverages big data analysis and AI algorithms to optimise ICX coin distribution, rewards and incentive policies on the ICON network. This added layer enables ICON to be responsive to different market conditions unlike the rigid operation of most existing blockchain networks. We believe that in trying to grasp the value of ICON’s network it is useful to think of ICON, theloop, DAYLI Intelligence, DAVinci and DFG as intimately related; the intertwined nature of the entities is revealed to anyone who looks at the overlap in business leadership. ICON, in acting as the public ledger manifestation of loopchain, theloop in building private blockchain for enterprise, and DAVinci in leveraging AI and big data to optimise network function form the foundations of a radical vision to first connect Korea, then the world.

The ICON project is underpinned by the philosophy that the value of a blockchain is inherently related to the value/size of the network it connects; this philosophy manifests itself in a visible pursuit of high calibre technology providers’ (theloop, DAVinci) and the continued pursuit of tangible industry partnerships. Enterprise blockchain technology is still in its infancy and as with any new technology, enterprise level adoption can be slow. By sending out their own development teams to work with various industry groups and develop tailored blockchain applications, theloop has not only accelerated the pace of Blockchain adoption but cemented its technology at the heart of that adoption. The path to success and critical mass will be defined by the ability to build strategic partnerships and coalitions with consortium groups and enterprise initiatives. ICON as the first public ledger iteration of theloop is best positioned to inherit and enhance the network effect of these enterprise chains, particularly given its focus on interoperabiliy.

“A lot of blockchain companies talk about “working relationship”, what differentiates us is that we have “contractual relationship” with real world companies such as banks, securities firms, hospitals, universities, insurance companies and so on. “ – Min Kim interview with Bite Size Bitcoin

_______________________

Cheat Sheet 

 

Parent Company
DAYLI Financial Group: Founded in 2015, one of Korea’s leading fintech firms.

Operational Unit of DFG
DAYLI Intelligence: An operational unit of DFG (see below) that

Child Entities Of DAYLI Intelligence
theloop: A Korean business that sits under DAYLI Intelligence and has helped to develop loopchain; theloop is already working with real world partners including hospitals, universities and securities firms to provide blockchain solutions. theloop will be one of the chief technology providers to ICON.
DAVinci: An artificial intelligence tech company that also sits under DAYLI Intelligence; it will provide big data analysis to optimise the function of the ICON network.

Blockchain Technology Implementations
loopchain: A proprietary blockchain developed by ‘theloop’.
ICON: The public ledger manifestation of loopchain; stewarded by the ICON foundation which is registered in switzerland.

_______________________

Strategic Vision to Build a High Value Network of Blockchains

The network of partnerships for ICON is anchored in its strong ties to theloop and DAVinci which both sit under DAYLI Financial Group (DFG). DFG founded in Feb 2015 and headquartered in Seoul was Previously known as the Yello Financial Group and is a subsidiary of Yello Mobile. In the two years since it was formed, it has gone on to become Korea’s leading fintech player and one of the largest fintech companies in Asia. Upon establishment, the DFG raised 600 million KRW (approx. 550,000 USD) in seed capital and went on to raise an additional 105.8 billion KRW (approx 97.3 million USD) in funding in 2015/16. The holding company has about 16+ companies under its umbrella with a total of 600 employees and has launched more than 30 fintech products and services.

DFG’s operational arm DAYLI Intelligence and its subsidiary company theloop have taken the spotlight when it comes to blockchain leadership. theloop is the sole technology provider to the capital markets blockchain consortium led by the Korean Financial Investment Association (KOFIA). Additionally, theloop was selected as the blockchain tech provider by the Ministry of Science and Technology in April 2017 to develop U-Coin, a simple payment and remittance system for private universities and nearby merchants. The pilot testing for U-Coin is now underway.

More recent developments for DAYLI Intelligence and theloop include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Samsung Securities in June 2017, partnership with Woori Bank also in June 2017 and the partnership agreement with Japan’s SBI Ripple in September 2017. The consistency with which the team has been able to deliver real world applications certainly bodes well for ICON.

Woori Bank

Woori Bank is a subsidiary of Woori Financial Group, one of the largest commercial South Korean banks (15 000 employees; 9.7 Billion USD market cap). It is working closely with DAYLI Intelligence & theloop to test and commercialize Korea’s digital currency, WeeBee coin, with universities and local governments.

SBI Ripple

SBI Ripple Asia manages a consortium of more than 61 Japanese banks including mega-banks Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), MUFG and Mizuho who leverage Ripple’s enterprise blockchain technology for instant payments and settlement. The new partnership is a collaborative effort to bring Ripple’s enterprise blockchain solution for cross border payment to South Korea.

Consortium Blockchains that Focus On Various Industry Segments

theloop has demonstrated its ability to bring its vision to market effectively, here we look at four projects that are well underway.

  1.       Capital Markets

The capital markets consortium is made up of 27 securities firms helmed by KOFIA. The consortium launched a first of its kind blockchain based personal authentication service called “Chain ID”. It enables direct authentication and generation/verification of digital signatures without third parties, reduces authentication cost by as much as 9/10ths, provides higher protection against data falsification and is valid for 3 years instead of the previous yearly renewal. The consortium also plans to expand its services to capital market processes, including clearing and settlement automation in 2018/2019 and over-the-counter trading of bonds and derivatives in 2020.

  1.       Insurance

Backed by a government grant from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning the Insurance consortium is aiming to automate the entire insurance claiming process on theloop’s blockchain technology. The benefit of consumer experience, transaction processing efficiency and subsequent cost reduction provides a lucrative business model for all parties in the insurance sector. Prototype testing is underway.

  1.       University

With a grant from the Ministry of Creation and Science, three top tier Korean universities have signed Memorandum of Understanding in a joint venture with theloop to create “U-Coin”, that can be used for student services and around campus. Quoting the whitepaper, “U-Coin will expand its ecosystem by creating other cryptocurrency-based services that can be used in nearby communities and towns”. The introduction of blockchain technology into the day to day lives of students may accelerate the normalisation of the tech as it taps into a user base that is inherently tech-forward and open to early adoption.

  1.       Healthcare

Made up of major domestic hospitals, the Healthcare blockchain consortium plans to build a secured precision medical data sharing network. The consortium endeavors to provide interoperability between different hospital systems and manage the access rights of data records reliably, amongst other things.

Interchain Operability Alliance

On top of normalizing blockchain technology and permeating a wide spectrum of industries and verticals through theloop; ICONs position as a leader in interoperability is further enhanced as it joins forces with Canada’s AION and China’s Wanchain to form the “Blockchain Interoperability Alliance”. Announced at the Consensus: Invest in New York City in Nov 2017, the alliance boasts three projects building core protocol level solutions for cross-chain interoperability. While each project has its own initial focus and design, all are working towards a common goal. The Alliance’s first collaboration is scheduled for as early as Q1, 2018. Min Kim, ICON Foundation Council member, together with Aion Founder Matthew Spoke and Wanchain President Dustin Byington recognize the “shared vision for interoperability” as the binding factor for the Alliance.
___________

It quickly becomes apparent that that the focus on building a robust network go far beyond the realm of rhetoric. By building strong real-world connections the ICON project has differentiated itself within the space and positioned itself as one of the early leaders of blockchain and interchain operability.

ICON Connections Summary

Click on image for higher resolution.

ICON FOUNDATION

The underlying associations and technology that make up the ICON foundation.
OrganisationInfoDescriptionPartners/Associates
DAYLI Financial Group (DFG)

DFG, previously known as Yello Financial Group, is a sister company of South Korea’s $4b unicorn Yello Mobile.

Raised >$96M in less than 2 yrs of founding.

Launched over 30 fintech products and onboarded dozens of marquee clients including AXA, SK Securities, and ING.

DFG also has 16+ subsidiaries under its umbrella. (Source: DAYLI Financial Group)

500 - 600 Employees
DFG was founded in Feb 2015 and headquartered in Seoul, Korea. Over the next two years, it went onto become Korea’s leading fintech player and one of the largest fintech companies in Asia specializing in innovative financial solutions built on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain Technology. It achieved this mainly through its core divisions – DAYLI Intelligence(DI), Quarterback, DAYLI Marketplace(DMP) and CoinOne. Parent company of DAYLI Intelligence, theloop and DAVinci

ICON Foundation council member from DAYLI Financial Group:

Min Kim – CSO of DAYLI Financial Group


DAYLI Intelligence
(Operational Unit of DFG)

6 companies under its operation including Solidware (DAVinci), Leevi, Heenam, theloop, Nomad Connection, Neuro Associates+Builds financial infrastructure through artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology.Provider of theloop and DAVinci

ICON Foundation council member from DAYLI Intelligence:

KJ Eee - CEO of DAYLI Intelligence
Hoon Lee - CSO of DAYLI Intelligence
Min Kim - CGO of the DAYLI Intelligence
theloop
(Subsidiary under DAYLI Intelligence)

Works with multitude of partners 35 and up including renown securities firms, universities and software development firms. See Tier 1 below for more details. A leading provider of private blockchain solutions facilitating the development and advancement of various interconnectivity infrastructures from financial transactions and digital money to IoT in pursuit of a smart hyper-connected society. Provider of loopchain, the underlying enterprise blockchain technology for ICON network; boasting high performance and Smart Contract features that can be customized according to operational needs and linked with other distributed ledger networks.

ICON Foundation council member from theloop:

JH Kim - CEO of theloop
Jay Kim - CFO of theloop
DAVinCI
(Brand of DAYLI Intelligence)

Consists of four solutions including DAVinCI Labs, DAVinCI Analyst, DAVinCI Bot and DAVinCI BigData DAVinCI is a leading artificial intelligence. brand providing machine learning, analytics, scraping, and bot services.Provider of the underlying AI algorithm and big data analysis technology for ICON Network’s ICX distribution, reward and incentive policies enabling ICON to be responsive to different market conditions unlike the rigid operation of most existing blockchain networks.

TIER 1 PARTNERSHIPS

Tier 1 are direct partners of theloop and/or DAVinci.
theloop is the underlying blockchain technology provider for the Capital Markets, Insurance, Universities & Hospitals Consortiums.
DAVinci is the provider of AI technology for ICON Foundation.
OrganisationInfoDescriptionPartners/Associates
Korea University

Established in 1905
Academic staff , 5225 (2016)
Students, 28 431 (2016)
Research university in
Seoul, South Korea, it is one of the nation's oldest and most prominent institutions.
MOU to develop U-coin, a cryptocurrency for university students.
(Source: ICON Blog)
Sogang University

Established in 1960
Academic Staff; 432 full-time & 800 supplementary
Students, 12000
Leading research and liberal arts university in Seoul, South Korea.MOU to develop U-coin, a cryptocurrency for university students.
(Source: ICON Blog)
Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

Established in 1986
Academic Staff, 403 (2015)
Students, 3555 (2015)
Research university in Pohang, South Korea dedicated to research and education in science and technology.MOU to develop U-coin, a cryptocurrency for university students.
(Source: ICON Blog)
Woori Bank

Market Cap: 9.7 Billion USD
(Source: Wall Street Journal)

10,001+ employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Woori Bank together with its subsidiaries, provides commercial banking products and services to individuals, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and large corporations in South Korea. It operates through six segments: Consumer Banking, Corporate Banking, Investment Banking, Capital Markets, Credit Card, and Other Operations.Woori Bank announced on August 16th that it has signed a business agreement with fintech companies, DAYLI Intelligence and theloop, for cooperation in the blockchain and digital money business. (Source: ICON Blog)

It is also a partner of DAYLI Intelligence DAVinci.
Korea Financial Investment Association
(KOFIA) - Govt.


KOFIA is the sole self-regulatory organization (SRO) of the Korean financial industry.Leads the Korea Financial Investment Blockchain Consortium to which theloop is the sole technology partner. (Source: CoinDesk)
Daishin Securities

Market Cap: 687 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

1001 - 5000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Daishin Securities Co., Ltd. provides various financial services in South Korea and internationally including dealing, brokerage, underwriting, investment trust, asset management, etc.

Daishin is also the cryptocurrency leader (Source: Forbes) for the securities consortium.
Partner of theloop and the cryptocurrency leader (Source: Forbes) for the Capital Markets Consortium.
Hana Financial Group

Market Cap:12.5 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

12,380 employees
(Source: Wikipedia)
Hana Financial Group Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides banking and financial products and services. The company engages in commercial banking, investment trusts, foreign currency exchanges, and other related operations. Partner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: CrushCrypto)
Samsung Securities

Market Cap:3.0 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

1,001-5,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Samsung Securities Co.,Ltd provides personalized asset management services. The company provides brokerage, investment trust, underwriting services in addition to cyber trading, mutual funds, asset backed securities issuing, and municipal bonds trading services.Partner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: CrushCrypto)
Korea Investment & Securities

Korea Investment & Securities is a subsidiary under Korea Investment Holdings which has a market cap 3.48 Billion (Source: Bloomberg)

1,001-5,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Korea Investment & Securities Co., Ltd. provides financial and merchant banking services in South Korea and internationally. The company offers brokerage services for domestic stocks and futures/options to foreign institutional investors; and brokerage services for Korean investors to invest overseas, including overseas stocks and bonds.Partner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: CrushCrypto)
Yuanta Securities

Market Cap: 631 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

5001 - 10, 000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Yuanta Securities Korea Co., Ltd. provides various financial services in South Korea and internationally. The company offers various investment banking services for stock, stock-related bonds, paid-in capital increase, IPO, M&A, PE, etcPartner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: CoinDesk)
Dongbu Securities

Market Cap:150 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)
Dongbu Securities Co.,Ltd. provides various financial products and services in South Korea. It engages in the provision of investment trading, including securities acquisition, and derivatives trading; investment brokerage of securities, intangible derivatives, and OTC derivatives; investment advisory and investment businesses.Partner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: CoinDesk)
Kiwoom Securities
Market Cap:1.7 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)
Kiwoom Securities Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, provides online brokerage services in South Korea and internationally. The company offers home trading system to trade in foreign stock, local and overseas futures, F/X, and margin trading, as well as equity, futures, and option deals.Partner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: CoinDesk)
Meritz Securities

Market Cap:2.54 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

501-1,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Meritz Securities Co., Ltd. provides securities and financial services to institutional and corporate customers in South Korea and internationally.Partner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: BusinessKorea)
Hyundai Motor Investment & Securities

Hyundai Motor Investment & Securities Co., Ltd is an arm of the Hyundai Motor Group which has a market cap of 31.5 Billion USD.
(Source: Bloomberg)
Hyundai Motor Investment & Securities Co., Ltd. is the investment banking arm of the Hyundai Motor Group. It is a Korea-based company specialized in the provision of securities and financial services.Partner of theloop
KTB Securities

Market Cap:196 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)
KTB Investment & Securities Co., Ltd. provides investment and financial services in South Korea.Partner of theloop
Hanwha Investment

Market Cap:455 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)
Hanwha Investment & Securities is Korea’s top-tier asset management services provider, offering a full spectrum of financial services and products, including brokerage and equities acquisition, bonds, and derivativesPartner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: BusinessKorea)

Also partner of DAVinci
KB Securities

KB Securities is a subsidiary of KB Financial Group Inc which has a market cap of 21.6 billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

1,001-5,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
KB Securities Co., Ltd., an investment bank, provides various financial solutions in South Korea and internationally. It offers services in dealing, brokerage, underwriting, and investment trust. KB Securities Co., Ltd. is a subsidiary of KB Financial Group Inc.Partner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: BusinessKorea)
Eugene Investment & Securities

Market Cap: 288 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)
Eugene Investment & Securities Co., Ltd., through its subsidiaries, provides securities brokerage services in South Korea. The company is also involved in the investment banking, trading and direct investment, investment trust management, and derivatives brokerage activities. It is a subsidiary of the Eugene Group.Partner of theloop and member of the Capital Markets Consortium
(Source: BusinessKorea)
Cape Investment & Securities

CAPE Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. provides security brokerage services. The Company buys and sells securities, commodities contracts, and options.Partner of theloop
Bookook Securities

Market Cap:252 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

11-50 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Bookook Securities Co.is engaged in provision of financial services including retail brokerage, institutional brokerage, financial product sales,
corporate finance (IPO, corporate bond, etc.),
project financing and structured financing business.
Partner of theloop
Hanyang Securities

Market Cap:92 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)
Hanyang Securities Co. Ltd. provides investment brokerage, trading, and consulting services. Partner of theloop
Mirae Asset

Market Cap:6.39 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

1,001-5,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Daewoo Securities is the largest stock brokerage and investment banking firm by market capitalization in Korea.Partner of theloop
Eugene Investment & Futures

Market Cap:321 Million USD
(Source: Morningstar)
Eugene Investment & Futures Co., Ltd. provides futures and options brokerage services in South Korea and internationally.The company offers clearing and settlement services related to futures trading; information vendor services related to futures trading; risk management and investment consulting services; over-the-counter transactions brokerage services; and foreign exchange transactions related to futures trading. It is a subsidiary of the Eugene Group.Partner of theloop
Shinyoung Securities

Market Cap:487.2 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

501-1,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Shinyoung Securities Co., Ltd. provides brokerage, wealth management, investment banking, and capital market services in South Korea.Partner of theloop
SK Securities

Market Cap:352.1 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

501-1,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
SK Securities Co., Ltd., a financial investment company that services both individual and corporate clients. The company develops mobile stock trading systems; and issues various ABCP and OTC derivatives, as well as other financial products in addition to asset and wealth management services.Partner of theloop
NH Investment & Securities

Market Cap:3.65 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

501-1,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)

121 domestic & overseas branches
(Source: Wikipedia)
NH Investment & Securities Co., Ltd. provides wealth management (WM), investment banking, and institutional client services in South Korea. Partner of theloop
EBEST Investment & Securities

Market Cap:405.8 Million USD
(Source: MarketWatch)
EBEST Investment & Securities Co., Ltd. engages in institutional sales, investment banking, and proprietary trading businesses in South Korea.Partner of theloop
Shinhan Investment Corp.

Shinhan Investment Corp. is a subsidiary of Shinhan Financial Group which has a market cap of 21.6 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

1,001-5,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Shinhan Investment Corporation operates as a securities brokerage and investment banking company. The Company provides securities trading, wealth management, and investment banking services, as well as offers merger and acquisition, investment trust, and corporate financing services. Shinhan Investment serves clients worldwide.Partner of theloop
Kyobo Life Insurance

5 Million Customers
(Source: Kyobo Website)
Kyobo Life Insurance Co., Ltd. engages in life insurance business and related reinsurance contracts in South Korea. The company’s insurance products comprise individual annuity, pure endowment and endowment, death, and group insurance.Partner of theloop

Leads the Kyobo Life Consortium, (Insurance consortium) consisting of insurtech specialist D. Lemon and Won.
(Source: CoinTelegraph)
D.lemon

D.lemon is an Insurance Tech provider that compares products sold by insurance companies enabling consumers to directly compare premiums by company or product.Partner of theloop and member of the insurance consortium.
(Source: CoinTelegraph)
Won

Insurance Tech company.Partner of theloop and member of the insurance consortium.
(Source: CoinTelegraph)
Hyundai Card

Hyundai Card Co., Ltd. is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company which has a market cap of 31.3 Billion USD.
(Source: Bloomberg)

5001-10,000 employees
(Source : LinkedIn)
Hyundai Card Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the credit card business in South Korea. Its activities also include installment financing, leasing, etc. The company is based in Seoul, South Korea.Partner of DAVinci
Hyundai Capital

Hyundai Capital Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company which has a market cap of 31.3 Billion USD.
(Source: Bloomberg)
Hyundai Capital Services, Inc. engages in the loan business. It provides installment, lease, housing, and automobile financing services, as well as personal credit loans. Partner of DAVinci
AXA Direct Korea

1,001-5,000 Employees
103 million customers worldwide, in 59 countries
(Source: LinkedIn)

AXA Direct Korea operates as a subsidiary of AXA SA which has a market cap of 73 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)
AXA Direct Korea sells direct insurance online and on phone. The company was founded in 2001 and is based in Seoul, South Korea. Partner of DAVinci
Welcome Financial Group

Welcome Savings Bank has
250K Customers
559 Employees
(Source: Official Website)


Consumer Finance Company
200K+ Customers
400+ Employees
(Source: Official Website)
Total retail financial company that provides a broad range of financial services. Business areas include Welcome savings bank, Consumer Finance Company, Welrix F&I Corporation, Welcome Credit Holdings etc.Partner of DAVinci
Samsung Card

Market Cap: 4.4 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

Employees : 2782
(Source: Forbes, 2015)
Samsung Card Co.,Ltd provides financial services in South Korea. it offers card payment services, personal loans, installment finance and lease/rental finance, Insurance amongst others. Partner of DAVinci
Quarterback Investments

Quarterback Investments is robo-advisor based asset management firm that offers global asset management portfolio based on financial bigdata and automated algorithms.It is a subsidiary of DFG’s operational unit Quarterback Group.Partner of DAVinci
BNK Savings Bank

BNK Savings Banks is a subsidiary of BNK Financial Group which has a market cap of 2.9 Billion USD..
(Source: Bloomberg)
A leading savings bank of Korea providing services across financial products, lending, banking etc.Partner of DAVinci
Korean Capital

KB Capital Co., is a subsidiary of KB Financial Group Inc which has a market cap of 21.6 billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)
KB Capital Co., Ltd. provides consumer finance services to retail customers in South Korea. It offers leasing and installment finance services for various products, including automobiles, heavy machineries, and medical equipment, as well as micro lending services.Partner of DAVinci
Shinhan Bank

Shinhan Bank is a subsidiary of Shinhan Financial Group which has a market cap of 21.6 Billion USD. (Source: Bloomberg)Shinhan Bank, together with its subsidiaries, provides a range of commercial and other banking services to retail and corporate customers. It operates through Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, International Banking, and Other Banking segments.Partner of DAVinci
SBI Savings Bank

SBI Savings Bank Inc. is a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, Inc.which has a market cap of 505 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)
SBI Savings Bank Inc. operates as a financial institution in South Korea offering a wide range of services across commercial banking, loans and insurance. Partner of DAVinci
Korea Federation of Savings Banks

4+ Million Customers
(Source: FSB Website, 2013)
Korea Federation Of Savings Banks operates as a central bank that helps savings banks achieve development and protects consumers. The company’s functions include providing support for the promotion and development of savings banks; delivering financial and IT assistance; and conducting public functions as central management organization, as well as assistance in the areas of planning and research, administrative support, general affairs, training, office audit, and legal affairs. Partner of DAVinci
e-Credible

Market Cap: 171 Million USD
(Source:Bloomberg)
e-Credible Co., Ltd. is a Korea-based company mainly engaged in the provision of credit authentication services for electronic commerce industry. Along with its subsidiaries, the Company provides credit authentication services, including digital networking authentication (DNA) service, electronic credit certificate service amongst othersPartner of DAVinci
Kwangju Bank

Market Cap: 583 Million USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

1500+ Employees
(Source: Relbanks)
Kwangju Bank Co., Ltd. provides various banking products and services in South Korea including deposit, loan, and payment guarantee services; and foreign exchange, credit card, beneficiary certificates agency, and other electronic financial services. Partner of DAVinci

TIER 2 PARTNERSHIPS

Tier 2 are strategic partnerships with DAILY Intelligence and theloop.
OrganisationInfoDescriptionPartners/Associates
SBI Ripple Asia

Ripple Labs:

XRP: 8.9 Billion USD
(Source: CoinMarketCap)

51-200 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)

SBI Holdings:

3.29 Billion USD
(Source: Bloomberg)

1,001-5,000 employees
(Source: LinkedIn)
Ripple, a global provider of financial settlement solutions, and SBI Holdings, Inc.,a global financial services company came together to create SBI Ripple Asia.

Their mission statement:
“By fusing the knowledge and technology of the SBI group and Ripple (ripple), we aim to realize "Internet of value" in Japan and Asia.”

The SBI Ripple Asia Bank Consortium includes 60 Japanese banks, representing over 80% of all Japanese assets.
SBI Ripple Asia has a partnership agreement with DAYLI Intelligence, an operational unit under DAYLI Financial Group, to bring Ripple’s enterprise blockchain solutions for cross-border payments to the South Korean market. (Source: Ripple)
ChainToB

Startup founded in Nov 2017ChainToB is a Korean blockchain startup that provides blockchain solutions to Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute and Pusan National University Research Park. It aims to link blockchain technology to business services. A strategic partnership in the nascent stage, with theloop as an investor.(Source: ChainToB)

TIER 3 PARTNERSHIPS

Tier 3 are relevant strong partnerships / connections formed by the parent company DAYLI Financial Group.
OrganisationInfoDescriptionPartners/Associates
Coinone

Coinone Exchange:
24 Hour Volume 16-12-2017: $500,000,000+ (USD)

Often sits in the top 10 Cryptocurrency exchanges in terms of 24 hour volume

Coinone exchange has the second largest 24 hour volume amongst all the Korean Cryptocurrency exchanges, trading over 709 million USD a day (23 December 2017). It also often sits in the top largest exchanges for cryptocurrency

(Source: CoinMarketCap)
Coinone provides various blockchain and cryptocurrency related services, including cryptocurrency exchange center and foreign remittance service ‘Cross’.Coinone is a subsidiary of DAYLI Financial Group.

BLOCKCHAIN INTEROPERABILITY ALLIANCE

Blockchain Interoperability Alliance, co-founded by ICON, Aion, and Wanchain shares the vision of promoting interconnectivity between disparate blockchain networks. The Alliance will collaborate on research on interchain transactions and communication whilst developing industry standards, sharing research & protocol architecture.
OrganisationInfoDescriptionPartners/Associates
Wanchain

In October 2017 raised USD 34,500,000 USD in its Initial Coin Offering. (ETH price at USD 300).

The sale was open to Gold whitelisters for 24 hours with 6.8ETH hard cap and sold out within 10 minutes to Silver whitelisters on the following day.
Wanchain is a distributed financial platform that enables private, cross-blockchain smart contract execution.Co-formed the Blockchain Interoperability Alliance with ICON Foundation
AION

AION raised an initial amount of $ 23,010,994 USD in their private and pre-sale periods. A multi-tier blockchain system designed to address unsolved questions of scalability, privacy, and interoperability in blockchain networks.Co-formed the Blockchain Interoperability Alliance with ICON Foundation

ADVISORS

AdvisorEducationWorkAbout

Don Tapscott

Media theorist, Author

Location: Canada

E: info@dontapscott.com

W: dontapscott.com/
W: blockchainresearchinstitute.org/
W: gsnetworks.org/
W: macrowikinomics.com/

Twitter: @dtapscott ( 90.2K Followers )
YouTube: dontapscottgroup ( 572 Subs )
FB: don.tapscottt ( 28,215 Followers )
in: Don Tapscott ( 556, 030 Followers )
C.M., BA, BSc, MEd, LLD

University of Alberta - Masters, Education Specialising in Research Methodology

Trent University - Bachelor, Science in Psychology & Statistics
CEO, The Tapscott Group Inc.

Senior Advisor, World Economic Forum

Chancellor, Trent University
Founder and Executive Chairman, Blockchain Research Institute
> Leading authority (author, speaker) on the impact of technology on business and society.

> Advanced groundbreaking concepts for over 3 decades. His 1992 bestseller, Paradigm Shift, helped coin this seminal management concept

> Latest book, BLOCKCHAIN REVOLUTION: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World is co-authored by his son Alex Tapscott.

> In 2017, Don and Alex co-founded the Blockchain Research Institute whose 70+ projects are the definitive investigation into blockchain strategy, use-cases, implementation challenges and organizational transformations.

>Member of the Order of Canada (2nd highest honor of merit , second to only Order of Merit which is a personal gift of Canada's Monarch)

> Ranked the 4th most influential management thinker in the world by Thinkers50 (the world's most reliable resource for identifying, ranking, and sharing the leading management ideas of our age)

Jason Best

Advisor, Fintech venture investor

Location: USA

W: kinnser.com (current client)
W: startupexemption.com
W: crowdfundcapitaladvisors.com

Twitter: @CrowdCapAdvisor ( 22.3K Followers)
in: Jason Best ( 3703 followers )
Thunderbird School of Global Management - M.B.A

William Jewel College - BS Business Management
Principal of Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA), CCA is a Key Partner of the U.S. State Department's Global Entrepreneurship Program that works to further diplomacy and stability through building effective entrepreneurial and early-stage funding ecosystems.

An Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UC Berkeley's Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and co-founded the UC Berkeley Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance to study crowdfunding globally.

Co-founded the two leading global crowdfunding associations: the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA) and the CrowdFunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates(CFIRA).

Recently, he was on the executive leadership team of Kinnser Software, ranked by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in the US for 1300% revenue growth.
> Named 2017's Crowdfunding Person of the Year and selected as one of the 10 most influential people in crowdfunding by Forbes.com

> Jason has spoken at The White House, South by Southwest, TEDx, the World Bank’s Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship and the Angel Capital Association. He is co-author of the Crowdfund Investing for Dummies book (published by Wiley), a contributor to TechCrunch and Venture Beat and has appeared in Fast Company, Bloomberg Markets and on CNN.

> Founding member of Startup Exemption, was one of the three people responsible for creating the CrowdFund Investment Framework used by the President in the Jobs Act, that helped change the laws making crowdfund investing legal in the US

> Attended the Rose Garden Ceremony at the White House on April 5, 2012 to watch President Obama sign crowdfunding legislation.

> Prior to his work in crowdfund investing, Jason was a successful healthcare technology entrepreneur with 2 companies in San Francisco, California.

Yiseul Cho

Blockchain Engineer, Data science

Location: London

Twitter: @yiseulcho ( 400 Followers )
GitHib: github.com/yiseul ( 3 Followers )
FB: Yiseul Cho
in: Yiseul Cho ( 4051 Followers )
MIT - Master, information synthesis, predictive analysis, text mining

Ecole Nationale superieure des Mines de Paris - MS Energy market and strategy, energy efficiency, market transformation

Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology - Bachelor of Science, Computer Science
Blockchain Specialist at HSBC

Blockchain Developer (self-employed), to experiment and explore the potential applications of blockchain and bring data analytics to blockchain, set up a Blockchain R&D agency.

Founder of Hyperledger London Meetup (1780 members) The group focuses on exploring Blockchain technology implementation in financial industry, and the event has been sponsored by Sapient Global Markets, HSBC, RBS, BNY Mellon and Barclays.

Works as partner at Blockchain angel investor group in Korea and specialized ICO marketing company for Korean market.
> Project Manager at Facebook

> Co-Founder & CEO at Roomtomoney (RTM) helps short term rental of unused space in Seoul through a full service management, raised 300K to setup business.

Ismail Malik

Blockchain R&D + ICO Strategist

Location: London

W: blockchainlab.com
W: icocrowd.com

Twitter: @DisrupTiv ( 14.2k Followers )
in: Ismail Malik ( 23, 959 Followers )
Google+: +IsmailMalik ( 1,391 Followers )
Birbek, University of London - International Relations, History of London

School of Advanced Study , University of London - Commonwealth Networking, England Studies

UC Institute of Education - Degree
Editor in Chief for ICO CROWD; World's first publication for the ICO industry
Founder & CEO at Blockchain Lab; world’s first Blockchain Lab and first ‘DLT’ company within Level 39 in Canary Wharf (world’s largest Fintech accelerator)
> Over 20 years experience in Technology related startups and entrepreneurship covering Asset Management, Cryptocurrencies, Mobile Payments in the City of London and Emerging Markets working with leading firms such as Vodafone, Cellnet and News International.

> He previously worked at Smartledger which develops smart contracts for Smart Cities.

> Editor-in-Chief of Bitcoin Entrepreneurs Investment Fund Quarterly Review, Cofounder at CoinViral, Coinflow Architect at Blockchain Lab, Cofounder at CoinDesk, Director at SqFt Crowd, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Crypto Devs, and General Secretary at Olympic Cricket Campaign.

> Ismail Malik is ranked 75 of the top 100 most influential Blockchain people according to Rise Global.

Simon Seojoon Kim

Blockchain Investor, Evangelist

Location: Korea

Twitter: @seojoonkim ( 278 Followers )
FB: kimseojoon
in: Simon Seojoon Kim ( 500+ Followers )
Pohang University of Science & Technology - Bachelor Computer Science & EngineeringChief product officer & cofounder at Knowre, an education technology company that develops adaptive learning applications for the web, tablets.> Co-founder of the top 10 innovative AI. math education company, "Fast Company"

Eddy Travia

Pioneer Investor in Blockchain & Bitcoin startups, Venture Builder & Accelerator

Location: China/Hong Kong , London, France

W: coinsilium.com
W: blockchain.space
Twitter: @startupeddy ( 4675 Followers )
FB: startupeddy
in: Eddy Travia ( 11,483 Followers )
Stanford University - Graduate Cert in Financial Engineering

International University of Monaco - Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Finance Major
CEO at Coinsilium , an investment company focused on blockchain technology, harnessing growth through investment, acceleration and development. The company is listed on London’s NEX Exchange Growth Market under ticker symbol COIN.

Co Founder & Chief Startup Officer at Blockchain Space, startup accelerator for talented visionaries creating innovative solutions using blockchain technology - popular blockchain workshops in Europe in June 2015 and acceleration program in 2016.

Co Founder & Chief Startup Officer at Seedcoin, world's first seed-stage digital currency startup virtual incubator.

Advisor
1) DomRaider, French startup for open-source solution dedicated to real-time management of auctions based on blockchain technology.
( https://www.domraider.io/en/)

2) CoinDash, world's first social trading platform for cryptocurrency investors
(www.coindash.io)

3) Indorse - Decentralised Professional Social Network, aim to revolutionise social networking among professionals using new models of tokenization and decentralisation
(Indorse.io)

4) Gimli - real time live games betting platform (gimli.io)
> Eddy has led investments in 17 blockchain companies around the world, including Factom, RSK, SatoshiPay, Minebox, CoinDash and Indorse.

> Living and working in China/Hong Kong for about ten years, he managed private equity investment funds focusing on Greater China. Previously, he was the Director of Admissions of a technology MBA (Theseus MBA) in Sophia Antipolis (France) now part of EDHEC business school.

> As an early advocate of blockchain technologies, Eddy advises sovereign funds, private equity funds, government agencies and corporate leaders on blockchain strategy and how to harness the transformative power of these technologies.

> Following founding Seedcoin, Eddy was ranked ‘Top 3 Most Influential Investors’ in Blockchain along with Marc Andreessen and Roger Ver at the Blockchain Awards 2014 in Amsterdam.

> Eddy is a regular keynote speaker at events worldwide such as the Shanghai Lujiazui Fintech Summit, the CFA Institute blockchain events in Scandinavia, Fintech Storm in London, and booked to speak at Crowdsourcing Week this Fall and Dublin Tech Summit in Feb. 2017. Eddy delivered a speech about the blockchain revolution at TEDx IE Madrid in June 2016.

Jehan Chu

Advisor, Blockchain

Location: Hong Kong

W: kenetic.capital

Twitter: @collectionist ( 807 Followers)
WeChat: Jehan Chu 朱沛宗
in: Jehan Chu ( 3850 Followers )
The Johns Hopkins University - BA International RelationCo founder and managing partner of Kenetic Capital, one of the first Blockchain Venture Capital and Cryptocurrency Funds as well as Token Sale Consulting in Asia.

Founder of Ethereum Hong Kong, 1100 members, personally hosted over 60 Blockchain events including Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin 7 times.

Founding Member of Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong

Founder of Hyperledger HK Community

Co-chairman (volunteer) for Blockchain Committee, Fintech Association of Hong Kong

He was a partner with the HKMA (HK Monetary Authority) on the Blockchain: Surge event, and a Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) Council Member.
> Jehan is a former front-end developer with ten years’ experience in web and enterprise application development.

> Jehan has been a cryptocurrency investor since 2013, with successful investments including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Melonport and acts as Advisor to the Melonport, QTUM and OpenANX.

Paul Veradittakit

Advisor, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Investor

Location: USA

W: veradittakit.com

Twitter: @veradittakit ( 1969 Followers )
In: Paul Veradittakit ( 8942 Followers )
University of California, Berkeley, B.A. in Psychology and B.A. in Political SciencePaul is Partner at Pantera Capital leading blockchain investments.

Prior to joining Pantera, he worked at Strive Capital as an Associate focusing on investments in the mobile space.

Previously, he was at Hatch Consulting and LECG and performed business development and marketing for Urban Spoils, an early stage startup in the daily deal aggregation space.
> Paul is an enthusiastic about blockchain and venture capital space having worked in the space for 6 years. He mentors at Boost VC, Golden Gate, The House Fund and Alchemist Accelerator.

> Paul on top of ICON is an advisor to Cofound.it, Enigma MPC, Blockchain Education Network and Orchid Labs

> In his career he has secured over 30 venture investments and key partnerships for portfolio companies around the world.

 


13Dec: Price Speculation & Hype Roundup

With the ICON team confirming that Token unlock checks are underway and that exchange talks are taking place this is an opportune time for some lighthearted price speculation and a pulse check on hype. 

Price Check

The rapid price appreciation in the crypto space over the last few months means that the value per ICX in USD terms will need to be marked at almost 2.5x pre-sale price just to keep pace with Ethereum price appreciation (ETH has gone from ~USD300 -> ~USD680). We will assume ETH price is USD680 (current at time of writing for below calculations).

Price at Pre Sale
1 ICX = 0.0004 ETH = ~USD0.12 (based on ETH price of ~USD300 at time of Pre Sale)

Price Now (If ICX trades at the same ETH ratio that it sold for at pre-sale)
1 ICX = 0.0004 ETH = ~USD0.27 (based on ETH price of ~USD680.0 at time of writing)

HitBTC IOUs (though this is notoriously inaccurate; see below)
1 ICX = 0.0032 ETH = ~2.2USD

What does 1x, 2x, 3x, 10x look like? (Multiples of Original ETH price VS Current USD price)

MultipleETHUSD Value
1X0.0004$0.27
2X0.0008$0.54
3X0.0016$0.81
4X0.0020$1.08
5X0.0024$1.36
10x0.0040$2.72

Pulse Check on Hype

The entire crypto space has undergone a meteoric rise since the time of ICON’s presale; many early ICON investors are wondering what price ICX will commence trading at. While some anxiety exists as to whether the opening price will commensurately reward early risk takers for the opportunity cost of tying up their ETHfor the last few months, the overwhelming feeling in the community is that ICX is a “long hold”. We hear whispers of $2, $5, $10 and even $100 depending on the time horizon as moontalk runs wild. There is no way to know for certain how ICX will perform but let’s indulge for a moment and look at the most compelling narrative elements that ICON has going for it.

Protocol Level + Interoperability: We have seen that the biggest winners in Crypto are those that provide infrastructure level solutions, the idea is that “fat protocols” will accrue the bulk of wealth in the near to medium term. ICON is not only a smart contract protocol in the vein of Ethereum it is also solving for interoperability. Interoperability is possibly the most underpriced infrastructure level element in the crypto space. It is an inevitable development that the blockchain ecosystem needs to develop on its way to maturity, Siloed projects need to be able to communicate for a truly decentralised ecosystem to manifest. However the interoperability space is only now beginning to build serious momentum (yes, this is still very early) and ICON is one of the earliest movers. SpecR subscribes to the view that interoperability will be the next big boom in crypto and ICON has its hat firmly in the ring.

Homegrown Korean Blockchain: Korea is the epicentre of crypto trading. The country is ranked 11th in GDP and 29th in GDP per capita, but is 2nd in gross crypto trading volume and 1st in trading volume per capita. ‘Loopchain’ (the technology used for ICON) is Korea’s first blockchain to be researched and developed from the ground up. ‘theloop’, the company behind the technology is one of the very few companies publicly funded by the Korean government to create an open source project. It has gained support and some grade of affiliation with multiple Korean government factions such as Korean Financial Investment Association (KOFIA), Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) and Ministry of Future, Creation and Science (MFCS). Korea seems to have the midas touch when it comes to crypto; a listing on one of the major Korean exchanges seems to be enough to manifest meteoric price action recently (those watching the space will remember the tremendous gains IOTA achieved shortly after listing on Coinone). ICON will be one of the first Korean homegrown projects and if the Korean community takes to it even half as well as they’ve taken to foreign technology we are in for some dramatic price action.

CoinOne Cryptocurrency Exchange:  One of Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges is owned by ICON’s parent company Dayli Financial Group (DFG), CoinOne ranks in the top exchanges in the world in terms of daily trading volumes with $992,998,300 24H volume at time of writing. CoinOne was the first exchange to introduce Ethereum (ETH) trading and Ripple (XRP) trading in Korea and provided the close relationship to ICON via DFG, it is popularly speculated (though not confirmed) to be one of the first exchanges to list ICX.

Dayli Financial Group (DFG): DFG is the parent company of theloop, DAVinci and ICON, it is one of the largest fintech companies in Asia with 16+ companies under its corporate umbrella. It sheer size and influence in Korea and Asia plays a critical role in backing up ICON’s partnerships development in the blockchain space. This already places ICON in a rarified space within the cryptoverse, where even projects with no significant real world affiliation are capable of achieving valuations in the hundreds of millions.

Real World Partnerships: With more than 30 highly reputable real-world affiliations across universities, securities firms, banks, hospitals and insurance companies, ICON leads its school of thought that the value of blockchain is not only in its technology but in its network (perhaps moreso). We will publish more on this in the coming week as we do a deep dive on ICONs connections.

Impressive Team: From the onset ICON boasts 8 advisors, 6 Foundation Council Members, a staggering 15 staff blockchain department, 5 AI specialists and 5 other functions support staff, the team has continued to grow to be one of the largest teams in the ICO space. The exact size of the team seems to be much larger now but we are still confirming the details (tentatively we believe it to be >50 individuals working primarily on ICON).

 


12Dec: ICONnect Meetup #2

ICONnect meetup #2 took place on the 12th December; The initial community reaction was mixed as investors expressed frustration on the lack of clarity about 1) Mainnet launch date 2) Token unlock; particularly with the ongoing boom in the cryptoverse and the high opportunity cost of illiquidity. However a closer inspection of the facts reveals a largely positive December for ICON.

Reviewing the Facts
We received clarification on the
official blog that:
1) Testnet is operational and Quality Assurance tests are underway.
2) The goal for mainnet launch is still December (though the official launch party will be in January).
2) ICONex Wallet was demoed at the meetup and the one slide we see of it looks pretty slick.
3) Token unlock will take place “within a couple of days” of unlock list verification.

Reasons for Excitement
Looking at the Telegram Channel we see further confirmation that December is still the goal for Mainnet launch/Token Unlock/Exchange Listings. Perhaps most excitingly Min Kim (ICON Foundation member) talks about exchange partners and the ERC20 token release. From the wording we can extrapolate that the token release will coincide with one or more exchange listings; which we think is the absolute best approach (tradable tokens without a venue for safe, high volume trading typically results in poor early price action).



Dates Technical Roadmap provided at ICONnect:

Quarter 4 2017
-Nexus Testnet Launch

Quarter 1 2018:
-Nexus Mainnet Launch
-Reserve Channel open
-IISS implementation
-DEX (Ethereum/ ICX) launch
-Wallet – web / IOS / Android

Quarter 2 2018:
-Representation Channel open
-Public Channel open
-A.I. Advisor Launch


22Nov: HitBTC Futures | Accurate Price Prediction?

HitBTC Price: ~USD1.08 (9x from ICO price at time of writing).

In the weeks and months since the ICON pre-sale, early investors have had their ICX tokens locked up while the ICON foundation conducts KYC and AML checks. One of the most common questions asked in communication channels is: “are the HitBTC ICX prices real?”. Existing and new investors want to understand if these are actual ICX tokens or in any way indicative of the “real” value of ICX tokens.

What are the ICX tokens on HitBTC?
They are not ICX tokens. They are IOUs (a promise by HitBTC to swap the ICX-IOU for actual ICX tokens once ICON foundation unlocks the real tokens). It is likely that HitBTC or its partners purchased ICX at the pre-sale and they are simply allowing users to buy and sell a claim on those purchased tokens before the real stuff becomes tradable.

If i buy ICX-IOUs from HitBTC will i receive real ICX?
Yes, according to HitBTC – upon availability of real tokens, the IOUs will be exchanged for actual ICX.

Is the price on HitBTC in any way indicative of the real value of ICX?
Not really. HitBTC IOU prices are notorious for being wildly inaccurate at predicting future price. It is our view that the HitBTC prices are inflated (overvalued) as they do not reflect the actual supply and demand dynamics of the market. The value of ICX or any asset is a function of supply and demand (economics101). The price of an asset is the equilibrium point where supply meets demand. Broadly:

Decrease in supply (less tokens) AND/OR an increase in demand (more buyers) = Higher Price
Increase in supply (more tokens) AND/OR a decrease in demand (less buyers) = Lower Price

What is the demand for HitBTC ICX IOUs?
Theoretically infinite; depending on how many investors want to buy ICX-IOUs. Realistically the volumes on HitBTC IOUs are tiny (just 53k USD worth of trading in the last 24hours; at time of writing) and most users are unaware of the HitBTC IOUs or unwilling to touch them. Any new investors in the space that FOMO at the idea of having missed the ICO will contribute to demand, the rest of the demand is coming from IOU price speculators.

What is the supply of HitBTC ICX IOUs?
Severely limited; looking at the orderbook (at time of writing) there are a mere 260,700 ICX-IOUs available for sale. This is tiny. It is the equivalent of ~105 Ether worth of ICX purchased in the pre-sale. If just 4 users who filled their pre-sale cap of 30 ether each pooled together, they would be able to flood this market with an additional 300,000ICX and more than double the existing supply. In reality… they cannot flood the market or  express a negative view on the price. For example if John who bought 75,000ICX at the pre-sale thought USD1.08 (9x what john paid) is a very tidy profit, he would not be able to realise said profit as he cannot sell his ICX for the ICX IOU price. The only people who can sell ICX IOUs are those who bought ICX IOUs through HitBTC (and there isn’t much point buying at USD1.08 now just to sell it is there?). In other words there is VERY little supply pressure.

What will happen when tokens become transferrable?
Once tokens become transferable and exchange listings take place, we will see a surge in volume as trading commences. Unmet demand will be present, given the 30Ether per user cap at pre-sale not to mention demand from investors who missed out on the pre-sale. However supply will also surge as 400,230,000 ICX tokens enter the circulating supply. If we conservatively assume that ONLY 10% of token holders will be looking to sell or day-trade we will see 40,023,000 ICX hit orderbooks; this is tantamount to ~153x increase in supply pressure (as compared to HitBTC IOU orderbook).

So where will ICX open?
We will not know for sure until trading commences and market forces allow an equilibrium to be realised. While it is unlikely that trading commences at the HitBTC IOU price (~9x from pre-sale price), the hype, ambition, long lock-up period mean that ICX is likely to open higher than the pre-sale price.


21Nov: ICON (ICX) – The Story So Far

Required Reading for this article:
Forbes – Could this Blockchain in Korea be the First to Connect an Entire Country
CrushCrypto.com ICO Analysis Verdict: Neutral Short Term/Good Long Term
Globalhalo ICO Analysis Investment Grade: 95%
Korea’s ICO Regulation Update – ICON Blog Post

In Depth Reading:
Whitepaper

The Metrics:
Total Supply: 800,460,000 ICX
Token Sale: 400,230,000 ICX
Circulating Supply: 400,230,000 ICX (What you see on coinmarketcap.com)
Conversion rate: 1 Eth = 2500 ICX
Price: 0.0004 ETH or ~USD 0.12 (based on Ether price of $300 at time of ICO).
Circulating Market Cap in USD: $48,027,600 (rank #92 on coinmarketcap, based on 1 ICX = USD0.12)

Token Distribution: ERC20 tokens to be transferrable after KYC is finalized and Anti Money laundering checks are completed. This is estimated to be late November/early December. ERC20 Tokens can be exchanged for actual ICX coins upon Q4 Main Net Launch of ICON.

Whats the thinking here?

ICON is a project out of South Korea that arrives on the scene at a time when crypto is at an all-time high in terms of popularity and market-cap. Bitcoin (~USD8200) is pressing ever-higher and Ethereum (~USD370) is grinding slowly towards its all time high. However there is a lot of ground left to cover as the blockchain space strides towards maturity. Issues of scalability, consensus generation and maintaining low transaction fees are just a few of the issues that continue to plague existing and emerging technologies.

ICON is a smart contract protocol following in the vein of Ethereum; early investors are hoping for a bull-run akin to other smart-contract protocols (NEO, STRATIS etc.) with  the phrase “Ethereum/Neo of Korea” being thrown about. Like other protocols, ICON too hopes to solve for scalability and speed however the stand-out premise of ICON is its ambition to solve the issue of interchain operability. The current state of blockchain technology sees disparate projects operating in silos. As blockchain technologies mature and gain widespread adoption, a critical requirement will be the ability of various chains to communicate with each other to allow greater integration, utility, and real-world application. ICON is one of the first movers in this space in the sense that it will launch its main-net earlier than many of its interchain peers. Further to this, ICON boasts a stellar wrap-sheet of real-world connections and advisors which will help to cement its place in the upper echelon of the blockchain space and at the very forefront of the interchain-operability boom that is to come.

Pulse Check on Hype

Despite its ambition, team and wealth of real-world connections (which far outstrips many existing projects) ICON has been flying a little under the radar in the cryptoverse. It is far from a secret but has yet to garner the type of attention which warrants a moonshot; we do not see daily posts about it in /r/cryptocurrency, the community subreddit /r/helloicon is relatively inactive (608 subscribers) and indicates far less activity than even moderately successful projects. The bulk of activity for now takes place in the official ICON telegram channel (4.7k members) and the KakaoTalk channel (998 users; mostly Korean language speakers). The lockup period since the pre-sale has been extensive with KYC and AML checks underway, we anticipate that upon the commencement of trading activity – hype related to ICON will increase rapidly.

  • >4.7k Telegram members (>5.3k in the announcement channel)
  • >1.0k KakaoTalk members (Korean community)
  • >7.0k Slack subscribers (ICON team closed slack as there were many attempts at phishing and impersonating team members)
  • >2.5k Followers on FB
  • >5.8k Twitter Followers

Future Exchange Listing

We have confirmation that upon launch of the ICON main-net in q4 2017 there will be a decentralised exchange (DEX) not unlike that described in the Bancor protocol, which will allow users to exchange Ethereum for ICX.

As for centralised exchanges, the team is unable to confirm any exchanges listing as yet, however there is strong speculation that Coinone may list ICX. Coinone is one of Korea’s largest exchanges and is a subsidiary of Dayli Financial Group (DFG) which also owns “the loop” (primary technology provider to ICON). With Coinone in the top20 exchanges worldwide for bitcoin volume, and being the second largest crypto exchange in South Korea, a listing could trigger positive price performance.

MarketCap of The Competition:

Note that these comparisons are only to gauge the potential of ICON in the current crypto market. These blockchains are competitors to ICON but could co-exist given the different markets that they could exist within and the variety of functions the chains offer.

Chain Market Cap vs ICON Purpose Comments
ICON 48 mio USD N/A Protocol and Interoperability
ETH 35 bil USD 730x Protocol
ARK 300 mio USD 6.0x Interchain / Interoperability
Polkadot 143 mio 3.0x Interchain / Interoperability Marketcap based on ICO price
Wanchain 36 mio USD 0.75x Protocol and Interoperability Marketcap based on ICO price
Cosmos 101 mio USD 2.1x Interchain / Interoperability Marketcap based on ICO price

 

Verdict:

Participate with an eye to the future. With its stellar partnerships/connections and having positioned itself as one of the forerunners in the interchain connectivity race, ICON could really surprise. With blockchain technology still in its infancy, the bulk of wealth will continue to accrue to projects that address the infrastructure level technologies required for blockchain efficiencies to be realised in the real world. ICON is solving for the existing issues of smart-contract protocols but it is its interchain operability ambitions that elevate it to a rarified group of projects. If it succeeds in what it has set out to do, the sky… or rather the moon is the limit.