What makes the Havah so special?
What’s at the top of ICON’s agenda over the next six months?
What is ICON doing to expand its developer community?
And how does ICON plan to get through the latest crypto winter?
The Iconist recently talked with ICON Foundation chief Min Kim about this and all other things ICON.
It’s a long interview, which for the sake of convenience we’ve broken up into two parts.
In Part II below, we focus the conversation on the upcoming NFT entertainment platform HAVAH, ICON’s key narratives for 2022, the ICON community and ICON’s response to the bear market.
HAVAH: Expert wackiness
ICON has been taking part in HAVAH, an NFT entertainment platform that lets users not only enjoy games, but also use social media, DeFi and a wide range of other services.
Min says that blockchain company ICONLOOP — ICON’s chief technology partner — and Korean game company 2bytes Corp. are taking the lead on the project, with the ICON Foundation providing “moral support” because HAVAH will utilize the upcoming ICON SDK and BTP.
Moral support or no, Min is nonetheless excited by what he’s seeing.
“I think what’s very exciting is that we have veterans in the gaming industry hyped up about this project,” he says, pointing to 2bytes’ decades of experience in the industry.
“They know gaming inside and out. They know the gaming community inside and out,” he says. “So for them to have confidence and spend a lot of resources on something like HAVAH, I’m very excited for.”
Min says HAVAH has three games lined up so far, and other game studios will get involved as well. He encourages people to visit the project’s website to experience its very unique, very “wacky” feel for the gaming ecosystem.
“I think we have the right DNA for the project,” he says.
BTP, BTP, BTP. And other narratives.
Min doesn’t mince words when it comes to ICON’s top narrative for the next six months.
“BTP, BTP, BTP,” he says. “BTP is the most important goal for us. The majority of our resources right now are focused on making sure that we create a very safe, secure network that works.”
After BTP comes ICON’s mainnet.
ICON 2.0, the network’s second iteration driven by the Go-powered “goloop” blockchain engine, was launched last year. Min hopes to get it into steady state mode.
“It’s a great network, great technology, great blockchain. And we’re trying to optimize it at this point,” he says. “We’re trying to make sure there is minimal maintenance that goes into it.”
In particular, ICON wants to make the network “sustainable for the long-term.” This is one reason why ICON thinks so much about the Contribution Proposal System (CPS), the network’s decentralized grant program to support developers and teams that build on ICON.
Min says, “It’s because we want to continuously create an ecosystem where a lot of the value gets captured, where the value returns to the ecosystem if we continue building for the better.”
The third narrative for this year is morale, namely, keeping it up.
In today’s economy and the current crypto winter, morale is suffering at many projects. Min says ICON is doing a great job keeping spirits up, relatively speaking, in part based on the project’s experience during previous downturns.
“We are very proud that we’re still kicking it and making things happen as one of the older projects,” he says. “We’re definitely more prepared this time around.”
In particular, Min says that the bear market notwithstanding, lots of good things are happening this time around, pointing to BTP and the upcoming launch of the ICE Network. ICON has a strong core community and a great team, and they’re continuously trying to hire new people.
He says, “We’re at a different state compared to a lot of the other projects.”
Expanding the builder community
ICON is always looking for developers and builders to join the community. The network operates several incentive programs to onboard developers, including a 200 million ICX fund to incentivize the adoption of BTP.
Min says, “Obviously, with this given market, the firepower of that 200 million ICX is a lot lower, so we’re crossing our fingers that things will improve in the next 12 months and that we can utilize our capital.”
Developers interested in applying for the fund, which will launch after ICON Bridge and BTP go live, can see the ICON community website for details.
There’s more than just the BTP incentivization fund, however.
“If you’re a builder, we have the CPS ready, and on top of that, our dev team is preparing something called the ‘builder’s program’ that can help direct developers to specific areas,” says Min.
“One thing we are trying to do better is make the ICON project more collaborative. We want more builders to come together and contribute in different ways. We need to provide better guidance to make it easier for them to contribute.”
He encourages anyone who knows a developer to bring them into the community through Discord and other channels. ICON has plenty of tools to help them get settled.
“If you know developers who want to come in, we’ve revamped our entire documentation. We have dev leads within the ICON team who have much more experience in helping ramp up dev experiences,” he says. “Just join the community and we have great members who can help direct you.”
ICON: A tribute to collaboration
Min says one of the things that makes ICON unique is its highly collaborative environment. This spirit of collaboration has produced some of the network’s signature services, including DeFi platforms Balanced and OMM and NFT marketplace Craft Network.
“It’s a wonderful example of the human desire to organically create a community from the ground up,” he says.
ICON is looking to up its collaborative game still further after spending the last couple of years unintentionally siloed from the rest of the blockchain space.
“I’m the first to admit that the ICON project sort of siloed ourselves from the rest of the blockchain ecosystem,” says Min. “Not intentionally, but ICON is not EVM compatible and we’ve spent the last two years rebuilding our mainnet.”
Other blockchain teams know the value of collaborating with ICON, too, as evidenced by its impressive list of BTP partners.
“If you’re a very known project with a good reputation, you’d want to vet your partners,” says Min. “And I think ICON has continuously proved that we have a lot of strength, and I think these other blockchain teams are recognizing that.”
What’s particularly impressive is that ICON has earned its respect without a lot of self-promotion or trash talking on social media. And unlike some projects, they haven’t focused exclusively on the price of its cryptocurrency, ICX.
“ICX is a byproduct of what we’re doing,” says Min. “We’re not here to hype up our token. We’re here to talk about the utility of the token. Building use cases. I think we have the right mentality, the right built philosophy.”
Keeping your head high
With inflation rampant and crypto prices in the doldrums, it’s easy to get depressed.
But Min encourages everyone to keep their heads high, noting that everyone is having a difficult time — assets are down everywhere.
“But as the saying goes, this too shall pass, and things will pick up again,” he says. “This is just the normal cycle of life.”
“Everyone should take care of themselves,” he adds. “It’s a great time to reach out to ICON community members if you’re down or if you want help or support in certain ways. And I’m sure me or somebody else in our community will step up and help.”