More than 170 token sales kick off each month. Every blockchain project has its own ‘innovative’ idea and marketing scheme to stand out from all the rest. But what is so often overlooked – by blockchain investors, news junkies and even the companies themselves – is that the token sale is not the finish line, but the starting block.
A token sale is a promise between A) the investors who see a project’s potential and B) the developers brave enough to create something new and valuable. And promises are made to be kept.
Since its token sale closed last September and the mainnet launched in January, ICON has been busy keeping its promise to build a real business, rather than working to “moon” its token price.
Min Kim, ICON Foundation Council Member explains: “Our goal was to go out there and best position ourselves for success, which means that we continue to build the technology, recruit the best people and go out there and win deals.”
Hyperconnecting the world
ICON made its promise almost exactly one year ago to build a community. ICON depicts a world full of connections. Real-time transactions enable truly free collaborations among diverse fields such as finance, public service, logistics, healthcare, IoT, energy, manufacturing and e-commerce. Any community can start improving its work efficiency internally and then expand the network by increasing transactions with other communities. A hyperconnected society beyond boundaries with infinite scalability – this was what ICON promised to deliver to us.
“We look at ourselves as a part of the greater blockchain community,” Kim told me in a phone interview in early August. “There is nothing that excites us more than being a part of this broader community. It stretches beyond just ICON.”
Based on their belief in the community, ICON is paying close attention to making real progress.
“Right now we want to create a platform where DAPP companies from Korea, Japan and the US can help each other to fundraise and to explore and share ideas and sort of create an ecosystem where we can have products and test or sell to each other. You know, we just want to make it easy for entrepreneurs to build on top of ICON.”
The foundational work of building out the technology and the team is an obvious prerequisite to reaching ICON’s long-term goal.
Organic growth over immediate revenue
In the real world however, people pay attention to token prices, and investors doubly so. The ICX price chart has been full of ups and downs. And recently there’ve been a lot of downs. The initial coin offering price was $0.11. It soared up to $13, and now it’s less than a dollar.
Despite the recent bear market, ICON has never lost its dedication to keep building the ecosystem. Neither have its partners.
“The DAPP developers that we talk to want to see our code and our open libraries. And a lot of these things that we are still in the process of creating and developing and opening. I think that the actual code and the development framework or development environment is more important to DAPPs.”
The ICON community is growing steadily and confidently based on the common faith in the community itself. Reflecting this faith, theloop, ICON Foundation’s main technology partner, announced that it would rebrand itself to ICONLOOP.
“Our team is fully committed to contributing to the ICON project and servicing the ICON Foundation,” said JH Kim, CEO of ICONLOOP in the announcement via Medium.
Clearly the project is still in the building stage, but with an eye toward long-term goals, short-term losses are not as important as they would be to a group of blockchain founders without solid business plans and partnerships.
“I think there are a lot of things that we need to do, like bringing more organic growth,” asserted Kim. “We need to have more DAPPs built on top of ICON, we need to have more organic demand that is created for ICX, real use cases for ICX so people are not just getting involved for speculative reasons.” This is one of the reasons why the ICON Foundation is launching its first ICX repurchase program. Showing the confidence and commitment within the project, ICON continues to create value proactively over the long term.
“We think these are healthier ways to impact the appreciation of ICX in the long run. We focus on what is in front of us, and to grow our network. Our long term philosophy and strategy is to grow out the network, continue building and continue working with our partners, and then everything else will fall into place.”
Working with the big names
In the same context, to make the network more accessible and more reliable, ICON has taken the higher yet rockier road: joint venture and partnership with ‘traditional’ IT corporations and government organizations.
Adoption of blockchain is actually one of the hottest issues in the industry. However, Implementing the technology into existing mainstream systems is quite tricky, not only regarding the technology but also business procedures and regulations.
“It’s not easy to just integrate your solutions into a larger conglomerate or company. There are steps and protocols that you need to follow when you are working with these larger enterprises and I don’t think a lot of people understand how truly difficult it is to work within their processes,” said Kim.
In spite of all the hardships, ICON has been hard at work trying to convince market-dominating tech giants to take a risk.
“You pretty much have to put forward all your resources to prove to a multi-billion dollar company that you are capable of delivering a blockchain project that’s going to be worthy for them to set up a joint venture with you.”
Why is this worthwhile? Simply put, they can help the ICON network improve. “A lot of our consultants and engineers are pulling their hair out now working trying to make it better and better.”
This is the road ICON has chosen to build actually usable, scalable, and reliable connections.
ICON was not built in a day
What ICON has promised is certainly not something to be achieved in a month, or even in a year. ICON is establishing a profoundly important platform, which requires effort, time, and of course, dedication.
“I think our business philosophy is very different compared to some other projects. I don’t want to take anything away from how other people run their operations, but my experience has taught me that you don’t just build and ship technology or build and expect people to use things, because sometimes you create things that people don’t use. What you want to do is work closely with the clients. We work closely with the person who is going to want to use your product, and create a small use-case and then you start building your technology and your product from there,” Kim said.
ICX is definitely more than mere utility tokens. It’s a currency communities can grow on.
Kim added, “I think interchain technology is one of many parts that makes us different, but I think that’s really just one of many parts. I think that just from the very roots, there are a lot of very philosophical differences, growth strategy differences, how we view ourselves, and how we feel that we need to bring some professionalism into the industry.”
ICON is all about connections. Community is the base element, core value, and the ultimate goal. Looking at the project over the long term, this will be clear.