In an interview last week in the Korea Economic Daily, ICONLOOP Director of Public Affairs Josh Choi said that ICON would begin revealing the results of its efforts from the second half of this year.
He told the paper that when he goes overseas and is asked why ICON has been quiet, he explains that ICON has been focused on technical development and business planning. Some complain that the platform’s global reputation has taken a hit, but Choi says that will all change from the second half of this year.
The first thing ICON will unveil is a blockchain-based smart city project in cooperation with the World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization (WeGO). WeGO will organize support programs for cities around the world pursuing smart city projects, while ICON will provide technical support and know-how.
Choi noted that though cities make up only 3% of the world’s area, 50% of the planet’s population live in them, making them an important residential space. Cities are becoming smart cities, a space that connects people and things and where data and assets are transacted. Choi said he believed blockchain would play an important role in securing the connectivity and trust smart cities need.
Last week, ICON began accepting applications from WeGo’s roughly 200 member cities. It plans to select one city to support in June. The project will begin in earnest from July.
Cities have apparently shown intense interest in the project. A wide range of cities have been sharing their concerns with ICON, sounding the platform out, including Jakarta, Hanoi, Penang, Ulaanbaatar, Muscat and Kabul. Choi said ICON will later commercialize this initiative on a project level.
ICON is also closely cooperating with WeGO’s ‘President city’, Seoul. Loopchain, the blockchain that powers ICON, is Seoul’s standard blockchain platform. Choi said Seoul is trying to turn its vision of a smart city into a global standard that could be applied to other cities around the world. He said cooperation with Seoul has been continuous. ICON hopes that together, the two can produce something that goes beyond the city’s limits to yield global results.
The Korea Economic Daily also points to the election later this year of ICON’s P-Reps. Voters will choose 22 main P-Reps through an on-chain election in September. Choi notes that 24 candidates have registered so far, a total he hopes will climb to 150-200 after some mass marketing efforts beginning in June.
The paper noted that the responses from candidates have been good so far because the governance structure was designed after its planners studied the problems faced by block producers in other blockchain projects. For instance, some blockchain producers have been unable to recover their operating costs due to the collapse of their networks’ cryptocurrencies. Sub-block producers receive no rewards, either.
ICON, on the other hand, allows their P-Reps to submit the expected operating costs they require along with the expected ICX price so that ICON can make a decision about how much of a reward would be appropriate according to the market situation. Sub P-Reps would be rewarded based on their staking rate.
Choi expects individual users will feel a major change thanks to the P-Rep election. Watching the vote count and casting their votes in real time, users will be able to experience ICON operating in a decentralized way, he said. He also mentioned ICON plans to launch Ecosystem Expansion Projects, where users receive incentives for proposing projects that develop the network, and a DApp Booster Program, where users can vote for DApps.
Choi added that ICONgress, a gathering of P-Reps, will convene at the end of the year. The participants will discuss the long-term strategies and direction of the ICON network.