“We’re really confident because this is proof that there are people who really believe in our concept and I think this will give our team a bit of a push to roll out this product faster.”
Daniel Jee, head of Strategic Partnerships at blockchain-based decentralized virtual data center project OWDIN Network, smiled as he held the oversized check for KRW 3 million won ($2650), the prize for winning October’s New Kids On the Blockchain, Korea’s largest demo day event for blockchain DApps.
Held Friday evening at D.CAMP in Seoul’s Gangnam district, the competition – hosted by blockchain-based advertising network weBloc, ICON Seoul’s accelerator Deblock and former D.CAMP director Yang Seokwon – not only gave project teams an opportunity to show off their DApp ideas and possibly earn a bit of coin and professional support in the process, but also provided ICON a chance to educate the public about itself and blockchain more generally.
Listen and learn, show and tell
Competing this evening were teams representing three projects. Each team had 10 minutes to present their DApps; presentations included a video demonstration of the DApp in action. Questions and sometimes pointed comments from the panel followed each presentation. New Kids on the Blockchain always boasts a strong panel featuring top figures in Korea’s blockchain space, and this month was no different with JH Kim, CEO of ICONLOOP; Hyun Oh, managing partner of Deblock; and Yukjoo Bang, crypto fund principal at Unblock taking part as judges.
In addition to KRW 3 million – paid in ICX, of course – the evening’s winner can also receive support from ICON if they ultimately choose to build on the ICON platform, including the option to take part in Deblock’s acceleration program.
The first team to go was DAIOS, which describes itself as “a fourth-generation AI blockchain platform designed to maximize the synergy of data from artificial intelligence and blockchain, extending the existing Internet domain to more free Internet.”
Unparsable as that word soup may sound, founder Antonio Kim guided the audience through the salient points of the DApp, which aims to create a “makers ecosystem” that allows developers to more easily develop tools and MainNets by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence. DAIOS boasts on its website, “Every node of blockchain such as mobile phones and laptops contributes to DAIOS its own computing power, data storage, application server, hash power and AI core.”
The second team to present was Keumbang, a project that hopes to lead a paradigm shift in the jewelry industry. CEO Jinlee Lim, whose parents ran a jewelry shop in Seoul’s jewelry district of Jongno, explained how her team’s DApp would use blockchain and tokenization to transform Korea’s gold distribution system, a system so outdated and inefficient that it makes online jewelry purchases prohibitively expensive.
The project, should it succeed, would represent a fascinating example of grafting cutting-edge technology in the form of blockchain onto a traditional industry, the very definition of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The last team was the eventual winner, OWDIN Network. As introduced by Daniel Jee, OWDIN Network seeks to establish a distributed virtual data center that has no single point of failure, providing low fees and stable and secure services in the process. It would recover constrained bandwidth, mitigate DDoS attacks and provide big data solutions.
“We’re building a sharing economy,” said Jee after his presentation. “People can share their network bandwidth and storage. We’re going to hook all the resources and provide them as a CDN (content delivery network) service to those who need heavy data transfer like YouTube or Netflix.”
Using blockchain to vote for blockchain
In the true spirit of the technology, New Kids on the Blockchain is a decentralized affair. The winners are selected by the audience themselves using Devote, AD4th Insight’s blockchain-based voting DApp. Even for somebody new to the blockchain space, it was a breeze to use. Just download the DApp from App Store or Play, set up a wallet, scan New Kids on the Blockchain’s QR code and wait for the voting to begin.
Launched in April, New Kids on the Blockchain is held on the last Friday of every month. By identifying potentially killer DApps, the competition is helping populate a blockchain ecosystem that is still very much in its infancy.
“We’re trying to find new projects in the early stages,” said Markus Jun of blockchain VC firm and accelerator Deblock, which offers winners that adopt ICON entry into its acceleration program. “We’re trying to invigorate the blockchain space in Korea by encouraging these projects, not from an investment point of view, but just trying to raise the general awareness of blockchain, and ICON is at the center of that.”
The OWDIN Network team hopes to establish a test bed of about 1,000 devices next year. Though its developers are currently considering a number of possible platforms, ICON is a very strong contender. “ICON is one of the options,” said Jee. “It is currently the biggest project in Korea. We are stationed here, we can get a lot of support, and they are actively supporting their DApps, so it would be a great option.”