What got Justin Hsiao into ICON?
“I feel ICON has great potential to be one of the first projects to cross the finish line,” says the Taiwan-based engineer and serial entrepreneur better known to those in the ICON community as “2infiniti,” his online ID. “I’ve read the White Paper and the real technical details. ICON also has strong ties to the Korean government and enterprises. It’s all these factors combined. I just feel they have a great chance to succeed.”
Starting out as a member of the ICON community, 2infiniti’s passion for ICON’s mission, his ceaseless activity and his technical competence drew the attention of the ICON Foundation. He now works for the Foundation in an official capacity as a roving ambassador of sorts, growing the ICON community and promoting the project far and wide. He’s playing a leading role in the P-rep campaign as one of the individuals behind ICON.community, the strategic community forum where ICON’s node election is unfolding.
Passion for the project
2infiniti was one of the many people who took part in ICON’s presale. He was taking a break from a career of serial entrepreneurship to spend time with his young child. When his kid got old enough to attend school, he turned to the internet in search of things to do. He found crypto.
Like most, he was initially attracted to blockchain as an investment vehicle. He got more serious, however, and began looking at the technology. He was drawn to ICON’s goal of hyperlinking the world. “Interoperability has always been fascinating to me,” he says.
“I was pretty passionate about the project after reading the white paper,” he recalls. “So I decided to get more involved with the project.”
With his background in computer engineering, 2infiniti went to work promoting ICON as a member of the community. He designed a bot for the platform’s Telegram channel. This got the attention of the ICON team, who recruited him into the ICON Ambassador Program as one of its first members.
He then built a community website, one of ICON’s first fan sites. This raised the interest of the ICON Council itself. The Council flew him to Korea and the United States to meet the ICON team. Afterwards, they decided to give him more responsibility. “I was doing all these independent efforts, but that couldn’t go very far as I was pretty much on my own,” he says. “They want me to get more involved. So I started working for ICON.”
What he does for ICON, however, defies easy definition, or even a title for a name card. Jack of all trades, Johnny on the spot, pick your idiom. He’s all over the place, assisting in all areas of the ICON organization. During his employment interview, Council member Min Kim asked him what he wanted to do. He answered, “I just want to be helpful.”
“I think that still stands,” he says. “I just want to be a helpful guy.”
Justin “2infiniti” Hsiao
‘We just want ICON to succeed’
Like the rest of the ICON organization, 2infiniti is focusing much of his energy on the P-rep campaign. He was one of the guiding hands behind ICON.community, the online home of ICONSENSUS. He stresses, however, that he was hardly alone. He recruited individuals with a wide range of expertise, including developers, web designers, evangelists, moderators and translators. The ICON.community has 21 members so far, all volunteers.
2infiniti gives an overview of ICON.community. There’s a public channel for anyone interested in the P-rep campaign. There’s a private team chat where work stuff gets discussed. Then there’s a private P-rep channel for actual P-rep candidates.
2infiniti has a personal relationship with all of the team’s members. For everyone involved, it’s a labor of love. “[We’re in it] for the betterment of ICON,” he says. “We just want ICON to succeed. Passion isn’t something you can easily describe or quantify.”
Getting ICONists involved, too
As readers well know, ICON is based on an innovative governance model, the delegated proof of contribution. Participation is crucial to this model. The higher the rate of participation, the stronger the network gets.
The ICON.community team, including 2infiniti, are talking to many potential candidates for the P-rep campaign, including technical specialists and members of the community, i.e., Iconists. 2infiniti is especially keen to see more of the latter join the P-rep race. He wants people who are passionate about the project. “I’m hoping to see more Iconists apply for P-rep,” he says. “I feel that people are intimidated by the lack of information. Maybe they have the ability to run nodes, but they are just not sure. This is something I’m trying to resolve.”
Mass adoption coming?
Though we’ve yet to see mass adoption of blockchain, 2infiniti thinks it’s just a matter of time. Last year’s crypto crash might have helped. The meme of “We’re in it for the technology” might have been a joke in 2017, but no longer. After the bloodletting of 2018, only serious projects remain, projects like ICON that consistently build things out. “ICON always focuses on actual use cases that enterprises will need,” says 2infiniti. “Even for the public project, we still focus on real use cases. We don’t just innovate for the sake of innovation.”
He says that blockchain should be a very integrated experience. “When you’re using blockchain, you shouldn’t even know you’re using blockchain,” he says. “That is required for mainstream adoption.”
At some point, he says, we need a real use case where it makes sense to develop on blockchain, something that will replace an existing mainstream application. Maybe it will be self-sovereign identifications. Maybe it will be cross-border payments. “There are a bunch of things that it could be,” he says.
Just reach out
2infiniti is currently working on a community portal. With so many websites scattered over cyberspace, it can be hard to find good content, he says. As there’s no de-facto portal for ICON information, people are turning to Twitter, Reddit or other alternatives. But not after 2infiniti’s done with the portal. He says, “Ideally, this should be the site people go to for any information they want to find.”
In the meantime, 2infiniti encourages the community to stay up to date on the P-rep campaign. Hey, maybe even throw your hat in the ring. He’ll be happy to help. “Go to the ICON.community website,” he says. “Learn more about the P-rep campaign and apply as a candidate. If you need any help, just reach out.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story went out with the wrong headline on the cover image and on the accompanying social media shares, stating that 2infiniti was running for P-rep. He is not! Justin is helping out with ICONSENSUS on the ICON.community forum (and, by all accounts, do a fine job at it too).