“The curtain is falling on the era of data monopolization. Even companies with dominant industry positions such as Facebook are abandoning monopolistic data systems and have begun going over to blockchain-based decentralized environments.”
That’s what ICONLOOP CEO JH Kim told Hankyung.com, the online edition of the Korean Economic Daily, in an interview that appeared on Tuesday.
During the interview, Kim stressed that blockchain would help not only big companies. Small- and medium-sized enterprises could see even greater benefits from blockchain-based decentralized environments.
“Data security, including personal data, is growing ever more important,” he said. “Regulations pertaining to data security are appearing, too. The problem is that if we do things the existing way, fintech companies, small startups and small- and medium-sized enterprises might find it difficult to bear the costs related to security.”
Kim explained that to guarantee service reliability, IT firms spend tons of money to build backup servers and create specialized security departments. It’s a major expense for all but a few companies and one of the reasons why a handful of big firms dominate the IT industry.
Blockchain networks, however, could reduce the cost of building security systems. Kim said startups could build security systems on par with those of big firms, tailored to their service ROI.
For example, ICONLOOP built a blockchain-based in-house reservation system for its company meeting rooms. You don’t really need to use blockchain to protect the data of a meeting room reservation system, but the benefits of lower network maintenance and repair costs alone made it worth it.
This benefit caught the attention of a previously disinterested public sector, too.
“We’ve moved past the stage when the government or public institutions approached blockchain technology purely out of curiosity, as they did in the past. Typical of this is how Seoul Metropolitan Government recently adopted ICONLOOP’s blockchain service,” said Kim.
“The Financial Services Commission also designated the ICONLOOP-developed decentralized identity service ‘my-ID’ as an Innovative Financial Service,” he added, referencing the blockchain ID verification service built on loopchain that was recently exempted from restrictions on licensing and sales activities in Korea.
Kim highlighted the benefits that decentralized identity (DID) services bring. Existing online banking systems, for example, still require you to use your physical ID to sign up for services. Even an internet bank like KakaoBank — launched by internet company Kakao, makers of Korea’s ubiquitous messaging app, KakaoTalk — verifies user IDs using photographs of their national ID cards, not their digital KakaoTalk IDs.
Decentralized blockchain networks, however, render this inconvenience unnecessary. DIDs not only make proving your identity online much easier, but they are also more secure since the user retains control over their own ID data.
“If the ‘my-ID’ service comes into wide use in the financial sector, later you’ll be able to widely use it for transportation cards, e-commerce and offline businesses, too,” said Kim. “This is why ICONLOOP is giving priority focus to the DID sector.”
Kim also introduced the blockchain-based certificate issuance service ‘broof’. He said smaller educational institutions have a tough time shouldering the costs of digitizing and maintaining their certificate issuance records. With broof, however, they can now systematize certificate issuance on a scale that was impossible with existing IT technology.
Kim said, “We will lead the decentralization of existing platforms and services based on my-ID and broof.”
And broof was particularly relevant to Hankyung.com. On July 4, the business news website signed an agreement with ICONLOOP to cooperate in cultivating human resources for the blockchain sector. This includes working together to run blockchain education programs. In particular, graduates of their blockchain education programs will receive forgery-proof certificates issued by broof.