We just lately linked with Markus Jun, the founder and CEO of ICON Hyperconnect Public Consultant, a number one block validator for the ICON network with $20 million in whole staked worth, and Hyperconnector, an official accelerator accomplice of the ICON Basis & ICX Station Seoul.
Markus was the previous Head of Analysis at ICON’s first enterprise capital agency, Deblock, and an invited visitor speaker at Samsung Electronics, the place he spoke about ICON, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain know-how. He’s additionally an advisor for BlockArrow Capital.
Crowdfund Insider: What are your ideas on the presently surging cryptocurrency market? What would you say has modified over time because you first joined?
Markus Jun: The cryptocurrency market has been heating up. Curiosity and buying and selling volumes have surpassed earlier peaks. We’re seeing Bitcoin and several other initiatives smash their all-time highs on a weekly foundation. Nonetheless, as somebody who’s been investing in cryptocurrencies since 2016 and seen a number of cycles, even within the midst of this seemingly extreme elation, I’ve by no means been extra assured on this trade. Costs might retrace and funky down, however the fundamentals are rock stable and crypto has introduced itself as a challenger to conventional finance.
In 2017, on the absolute peak of the market, though costs had been at their highest ever, I knew that the euphoria was unsustainable. We had too many ICOs with empty guarantees and baseless token economics launch only for the sake of fundraising and it was a query of when, not if the market would crash.
Nonetheless at present issues are fully completely different. Now we have actual decentralized use instances and the know-how has advanced tremendously. Since I’ll be going over ICON later, I’ll first dive into the opposite common developments within the trade.
Now we have developments reminiscent of Uniswap, primarily a decentralized change constructed fully on Ethereum rivaling buying and selling volumes of centralized exchanges, one thing fully unthinkable in 2017. Such automated market makers have resulted in huge income and worth for its token holders.
Now we have revenue-generating vaults/sensible contracts in which you’ll stake crypto that function complicated yield incomes methods, which then distribute income evenly to token holders through truthful launches by initiatives reminiscent of Yearn Finance and Badger DAO.
Now we have initiatives reminiscent of Synthethix and Mirror Protocol which might be bringing monetary securities buying and selling to the blockchain. Think about having the ability to click on “Connect with Pockets” on an internet site and start buying and selling the S&P 500, KOSPI, FTSE 100 with no KYC verify or registration on a single borderless platform with zero downtime, 24/7. While you perceive that monetary securities that may be wrapped (tokenized) entail far more than simply shares, you notice how infinitely massive the artificial belongings area (a department of DeFi) can develop.
Interoperability protocols reminiscent of ICON, Polkadot, Cosmos, is not going to solely be internet hosting their very own native functions however considerably amplify the worth and attain of functions throughout all blockchain platforms as customers shall be offered the liberty to swap and entry protocols based mostly on their wants.
Many of those developments are already in movement, however mass adoption is but to reach. The most important distinction is that in 2021, in contrast to 2017, we’re prepared. The use instances are actual, decentralized and revenue-generating. There’s little question in my thoughts that crypto will massively disrupt conventional methods, and we’re nonetheless so early within the recreation.
Crowdfund Insider: The ICON community worth has grown extraordinarily quickly, just lately surpassing $1 billion in market capitalization. What are your important areas of focus this 12 months within the ICON ecosystem?
Markus Jun: There are lots of facets of the ICON ecosystem that we’re targeted on. There are too many for me to spotlight all of them, however the greatest focus within the coming months could be the launch of ICON 2.0, the Contribution Proposal System, and a bunch of decentralized finance functions.
Let’s begin with ICON 2.0. In layman’s phrases, it’s an entire redesign/improve of ICON’s core blockchain engine rewritten within the Go Programming Language. This overhaul of the core software program structure leads to a a lot quicker, safer and environment friendly ICON community with a number of extra options together with interoperability (between completely different blockchain networks reminiscent of Ethereum), extra decentralization, and friendlier developer environments.
In brief, it’s an entire improve/rehaul of the community that brings radical pace, safety, usability, and scalability.
A few of ICONLOOP’s enterprise purchasers such because the Seoul Authorities are making ready to make use of it and ICON 2.0 plans to launch in 2021 July. A few of its options reminiscent of its consensus algorithm LFT2 has already been audited and hailed as an trade innovation by prime analysis groups in respected universities reminiscent of KAIST college.
The Contribution Proposal System (CPS) is one other large growth that’s launching within the coming weeks. It’s primarily a decentralized tremendous fund of ICON (ICX) value tens of millions of USD which is able to frequently be refinanced by block rewards, funding the perfect initiatives and groups that construct on the ICON community.
This fund shall be used to finance new ICON initiatives, accelerating progress. The important thing level concerning the CPS is that it operates on-chain, and is totally decentralized as the highest 22 Public Representatives (block validators) management the allocation of funds by voting on initiatives that will obtain funding. Any crew on the planet with a stable marketing strategy and sufficient votes shall be free to use and safe funding.
Lastly we’ve a set of decentralized finance (DeFi) functions launching on ICON within the coming months. There are a number of initiatives which might be about to launch together with Balanced, Open Money Market, Optimus, and extra. These initiatives have been constructing steadily, testing and auditing their sensible contracts for a number of months.
Balanced by ICX Station may be thought-about just like Maker DAO that brings decentralized stablecoins to the ICON community and an automatic market maker which is able to considerably open up potentialities for extra tokens on the ICON community, as itemizing of tokens (and liquidity) have at all times been tough for protocols that aren’t Ethereum.
Open Cash Market, additionally run by ICX Station will open up the potential of decentralized lending and borrowing to ICON, permitting customers to earn curiosity, just like Compound of Ethereum.
Optimus is a yield aggregator by ICON DAO that seeks the perfect rate of interest between funding swimming pools and routinely switches person funds to maximise profitability.
There are a number of extra initiatives, however these may be thought-about the foundations of DeFi and can seemingly open up for a brand new wave of DeFi protocols sooner or later through composability and open sourced sensible contracts.
This, together with the launch of ICON 2.0’s interoperability is particularly highly effective because it allows cross chain defi functions with disparate blockchains reminiscent of Ethereum (presently internet hosting the vast majority of defi functions) which brings vital potential utility. As somebody who’s satisfied decentralized finance goes to massively disrupt conventional finance, I discover this significantly thrilling.
Crowdfund Insider: South Korea has one of many world’s largest economies. The Asian nation can be house to one of many largest international cryptocurrency communities and customers. How have digital belongings and blockchain been utilized in South Korea?
Markus Jun: There are a number of initiatives that ICON is working however let’s concentrate on a area that’s on the core of each interplay we’ve: id. One of many ICON ecosystem’s flagship initiatives is the MyID Alliance, operated by ICON’s important technical accomplice, ICONLOOP.
Decentralized ID as a common know-how, has been praised by the Korean Authorities and a Korean Authorities Digital Innovation Report in 2019 famous, “Decentralized ID (DID) tremendously reduces infringement considerations of privateness rights.”
At the moment, ICONLOOP’s MyID is the one decentralized id consortium in Korea to be accepted by the Korean Monetary Securities Fee (the Korean equal of the U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee) and in 2021 January, MyID acquired an approval extension for one more 2 years. For the reason that abolishment of Korea’s Accredited Certification in Could of 2020, the media has been touting a blockchain-based decentralized id answer as a robust contender to interchange it.
The MyID Alliance is an alliance of companions (corporations) which have pledged to make the most of ICONLOOP’s decentralized ID tech stack. Members of this alliance embrace Samsung, Shinhan Financial institution (Korea’s largest financial institution), Bithumb, and 80+ a number of trade leaders throughout varied fields.
Shinhan Financial institution made an enormous splash in August 2020 after they introduced that ICONLOOP’s MyID tech stack could be used of their important Shinhan Financial institution app, SOL, for logins and OTPs and that each one of their subsidiaries together with Shinhan Card, Shinhan Insurance coverage, Jeju Financial institution, and many others. would additionally quickly combine MyID.
ICONLOOP’s MyID makes use of the ICON public blockchain and ICX by making a community transaction each time somebody registers their ID via a creation of a verifiable credential on the community. It needs to be famous that Shinhan Financial institution is one member of the MyID alliance and several other different members, together with the remainder of Korea’s largest banks (Nonghyub, IBK, and many others.) need to combine MyID.
That is simply one of many ways in which blockchain know-how is being and shall be built-in into on a regular basis lives in Korea with out most of us even realizing it.
Crowdfund Insider: Do you imagine it’s vital for crypto startups to collaborate on initiatives with conventional companies and authorities entities? What sort of growth is presently happening in South Korea with reference to these?
Markus Jun: I do, and imagine it’s vital to take action. The tip aim of crypto needs to be mass adoption and probably the most frictionless path to mass adoption is collaboration with conventional entities that have already got massive present person bases. One among ICON’s best strengths has at all times been its intensive community of enterprise companions and authorities entities such because the Seoul Authorities, as ICONLOOP has offered customized personal blockchain options for a number of years now.
Lately although, there was a surge in demand for public blockchain integration amongst these purchasers, and we’ve begun seeing these materialize (as described above concerning the MyID utilization by Shinhan Financial institution). With ICON’s interoperability options enabling communication not solely between disparate public blockchains but in addition between personal blockchains, ICON 2.0 will open up extra of those use instances.
Along with personal chain community results spilling over to the general public chain, ICON has additionally had a number of partnerships straight with reference to its public chain with main corporations reminiscent of LINE, Saramin, Danal, and extra.
We’ve additionally had authorities entities pushing to undertake public blockchain options with the Jeju Authorities making it obligatory for all guests of Jeju Island to make use of MyID for contract tracing of COVID-19. ICONLOOP is presently in talks with different native governments concerning deployment.
I additionally imagine that the latest information of Elon Musk buying Bitcoin, not personally, however via his flagship firm, Tesla, will create a series response the place it’s a matter of time earlier than CFOs of a number of main companies will (on the very least) discover the thought critically. Musk’s affect is worldwide, and I count on to see even Korean corporations following in his footsteps.
An attention-grabbing growth that we just lately had was that of Danal, the most important cellular funds processor firm in Korea with over $5 billion in market share, saying that they might assist Bitcoin funds to their 60,000+ retailers. Apparently, Danal is an ICON public consultant and block producer and has additionally introduced integration of ICON and Ethereum as a fee choice along with Bitcoin.