While venture capital firm / blockchain accelerator Deblock and entertainment DApp STAYGE are two separate projects, as far as their unified P-Rep candidacy is concerned, they are one mind, one goal.
“We are a team, not teams,” says STAYGE One CEO Michael Baeg. “We are getting together to build a healthy and robust P-Rep.”
Granted, in the case of Deblock and STAYGE, it’s only natural to collaborate. They’ve been working together for a year and a half, sharing ideas not only between themselves, but also with the ICON team, with whom both work very closely. The two projects even sit side-by-side in the same office.
Their joint P-Rep candidacy is very much an exercise in synergy, with both sides contributing unique, complementary strengths. Deblock brings to the table its network and community building acumen, unmatched in the ICON ecosystem. STAYGE, meanwhile, brings the campaign deeper technological sophistication and expertise. Together, they hope to do great things for the ICON ecosystem.
Helping each other help ICON
Both teams had their eyes on the P-Rep campaign from the very beginning. Hyun Oh, Deblock’s managing partner, says his team had little choice but to run, given its role in the platform. He says, “Deblock doesn’t just exist for itself. It works for the ICON ecosystem.”
He’s not exaggerating. Since 2018, Deblock has made ten investments into the ICON ecosystem, some of them strategic rather than financial. Deblock runs the Seoul launchpad of ICX_Station, ICON’s global accelerator. Hyun estimates that his team has met the developers of around 95 percent of the platform’s DApps.
Networking and investing does not a node operator make, however. Hyun openly confesses Deblock lacked the geek power to run a node. The team didn’t want to hire freelancers, either. Running a node, they believed, required the skills of a trusted professional.
Enter STAYGE, and more specifically, CTO Steve Cho, who not only brings the geek power, but does so in spades. He explains that he plans to run the node in the AWS environment with recommended hardware. It’s critical, he says, to run the node in a secure and stable fashion. “The most important thing is monitoring,” he says, stressing the need to use tools such as CloudWatch to keep an eye on the node and react to abnormalities in real time.
As he listens to Steve’s explanation, Hyun jokes, “I just realized without his team I couldn’t do this.”
At the same time, Michael acknowledges the skills his partners bring to the campaign. STAYGE had initially planned to join the campaign independently, but as a DApp, they believed they enjoyed little visibility in the community. For help, the team turned to Deblock. Michael says, “We could secure Deblock’s technical side, and Deblock could help us with awareness in the ICON community.”
So why should you vote for Deblock with STAYGE?
Hyun is direct. “Because we’re already verified,” he says, pointing to his team’s dedication to the ICON network. They’re not just node operators, he says. They won’t be spending most of their time running nodes for other networks.
“We’re very focused on the ICON ecosystem,” he says. “We’ve invested in the ICON ecosystem for a year and a half. This team has worked with the ICON Foundation for a very long time.”
“I can honestly say this is one of the teams that understands ICON best,” he says. “In some ways, even better than the ICON team itself.”
Michael concurs. “[Running a node on ICON] requires people who understand blockchain — and ICON — really well.”
A true DAO, not big tech’s toy
Deblock and STAYGE look forward to the era of decentralization. Though many big tech companies such as Facebook and Kakao are jumping into the blockchain space, Hyun likens them to dinosaurs from a prior era. He believes ICON can move much faster and further on the path to building a true decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO.
“If we build the ICON Republic properly, we can work with STAYGE for entertainment, VELIC for financing and weBloc for advertising,” he says. “I believe ICON will figure out how to build a DAO world.”
Michael points to the benefits decentralization will bring users. In his world — the world of entertainment — no longer will artists and music companies need to pay off the likes of Facebook or Instagram to reach fans. Instead, they can distribute their budget directly to fans through STAYGE’s token system, with value returning through merchandise purchases.
Hyun stresses that the ICON Republic will be its own animal. “We’re not going to exist only for KakaoTalk,” he says. “We’re not going to exist only for Facebook. We’re going to build a new era. I know this is huge, but decentralization is a big step. After September, we can move forward.”
Michael adds that the P-Rep election and decentralization should bring at least one common criticism of ICON to an end.
“I think there were two weak points for ICON that haters mentioned all the time. The first is that ICON is not yet decentralized. The other was that there were no transactions, no use cases,” he says. “The first point will be resolved by this election. Then the ICON network will be decentralized.”
“The second one, we can address directly because we’re making a DApp; we’re making real use cases,” he adds. “As a P-Rep, the most important thing is running a node safely, but we’ll also keep making an effort to build real use cases for the ICON network.”