In an earlier post, The Iconist surveyed Korea’s media landscape, providing you – the readers – with a bit of insight into the country’s print, broadcast and online media scene.

In this series of posts, we’ll take a look at ICON’s appearances in said media landscape, initially focusing on features and interviews in Korea’s major dailies and websites operated by those dailies.

Public and private in one

IT Chosun, the technology news website of Korea’s influential daily Chosun Ilbo, ran an interview with ICONLOOP CEO and ICON Foundation member JH Kim on Nov. 14, 2018.

The interview offered a broad overview of the ICON project with a particular focus on ICON’s partnership with NAVER Line.

Indeed, the title of the interview translates as, “We expect LINE, with ICON technology, will have much disruptive power.” Or something like that.

Anyhow, Kim introduced ICONLOOP, the ICON team and “interchain” technology, explained how ICON succeeded in its ICO where others failed, talked about Korea’s regulatory environment and pointed to some other interesting blockchain projects working with ICON.

Kim summed up ICON’s strength thusly: “There are no other teams doing public and private blockchains simultaneously. No other team has built its blockchain entirely from the ground up. ICON has developers who have technically built their blockchains from the ground up in the public and private blockchain sectors.”

Public sector services

On Jan. 10, the business daily Hankyung ran a feature that introduced ICON’s contributions to the public sector. The article highlighted ICON’s role in Seoul Metropolitan Government’s effort to incorporate blockchain technology into urban administration. For example, it noted how ICONLOOP demonstrated blockchain-based services for identification, voting and payments for the city last year. It also noted that ICONLOOP was verifying a smart contract optimized for administrative services.

The article pointed out, however, that ICON has chosen a difficult path by focusing on interoperability. It takes a lot of time for ICON to do what it wants to do, and with the crypto market going into the proverbial toilet last year, this has led to grumbling from some investors. An official from ICON told the Hankyung that though the project has persistently focused on development and produced numerous results, some investors were unaware of what the team was doing, perhaps because of insufficient communication.

The Hankyung seemed to concur with this, noting that even beyond ICON’s collaboration with the public sector, the project has produced considerable results in terms of development, including the launch and upgrading last year of its MainNet.

Delegated governance

In an article on Mar. 11, blockchain news website Decenter looked at new governance models that use “delegated” algorithms.

The article cited three projects in particular: ICON, Cosmos and Hedera Hashgraph.

While discussing ICON, it introduced the ICONSENSUS campaign and the P-Rep election. It quotes from ICON’s governance yellow paper: “The ICON Network has a decentralized governance structure based on indirect democracy, in which participants elect representatives and delegate voting rights.”

The article also notes how candidates from all over the world are jumping into the P-rep race. An ICONLOOP official told the news site that ICON would become a basis for blockchain projects targeting a global audience and that they would be able to build various governance models that wouldn’t be narrowly focused on one specific country.

Decenter is run by the Seoul Gyeongje, Korea’s oldest business daily.

So why WOULD smart cities need to use crypto?

That’s a question Hangjin Kim, ICONLOOP’s Director of Business Development, addressed in a seminar hosted by business daily Hankyung on Mar. 14.

The answer, he said, was that cryptocurrency was programmable. If you make a smart contact using existing legal tender, the data and the money go in two different directions. Errors are likely to occur in this environment, he says, and scalability suffers. It’s also inefficient as it requires a lot of administrators.

If you use cryptocurrency in a blockchain smart contract, however, the flows of data and money become one, allowing for fast, stable payments. Kim adds that since all payments would be programmable, you wouldn’t need middle managers, allowing cities to save budget money.

Kim said cryptocurrency was indispensable in a global age. He noted that if you go to a hospital overseas, you’re presented with a host of complicated issues such as insurance and paying your bill. If you use smart contracts in such situations, however, you could take care of all these in a simple manner. Cryptocurrency’s greatest strength, he said, was that you could use a single system environment regardless of national or industrial barriers.

Kim’s commentary at the seminar appeared in the Hankyung daily the next day. The Iconist interviewed him in March as well.