Without a market, a project is doomed to failure, no matter how brilliant the ideas that power it.
Fortunately for ICON, potentially lucrative opportunities abound for blockchain and cryptocurrency. In particular, ICON and its chief technology partner, ICONLOOP, benefit from relatively high name recognition in Korea, where they enjoy ties with leading corporate and public actors.
Targeted Pain Points
Cryptocurrencies are growing more and more mainstream. As of 2021, global crypto ownership rates were at an average of 3.9%, with over 300 million crypto users worldwide. Over 18,000 businesses are already accepting cryptocurrency payments.
Meanwhile, blockchain can eliminate trust issues between companies and increase security by having no central authority who can hijack transfers or make mistakes. It can also help build trusted partnerships and encourage teamwork.
Banks and credit card companies charge around $2 trillion a year for providing middle-man services such as clearing payments and fraud-checking. Moving to blockchain systems can effectively automate much of this, bringing down costs.
Blockchain also increases traceability. Anyone can go back to public records and find details of something’s origin and journey, which is stored in a decentralized space.
Smart contracts are automated, secure and seamless, leading to maximum efficiency processes in contrast to physical documents, which can be lost. Most companies still rely on paperwork which can be time-consuming.
Verifying ownership/identity is easier, especially in this digital age where any content can be downloaded/copied/reduplicated online. This is useful for issuing certificates, contracts, NFTs and more.
The increase in total nodes on the network improves data resilience. Each node enforces consensus rules and prevents attackers from spreading false information. Infrastructure resilience is gained because each node can act as a backup server in case some nodes are taken down or compromised.
This is a huge improvement over traditional infrastructure where the network might only rely on a single backup server. The more nodes in a blockchain network, the more resilient the system is, whereas the opposite is true with traditional IT architecture.
Blockchain can be implemented in a variety of industries, including finance, insurance, education and transport.
In a 2019 report, the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation wrote, “Emerging markets may prove to be ideal for the adoption of blockchain-based financial solutions due to their underserved populations, higher banking risks, lower bank penetration and legacy systems, and greater presence of digital financing.”
The ICON project is the leading blockchain project of Korea, a famously innovative nation that adopts new technologies fast.
The market size for cryptocurrency will reach $1087.7 million by 2026, with a CAGR of 3.5% between the period 2021 to 2026.
ICX will get more and more popular, with all forecasts predicting that it will reach high prices, with some even saying that it will get to $120.
Europe’s blockchain funding will reach 350 million Euros or $425 million by 2022 to 2023.
Banks often lose a lot due to procedures like money-laundry checks, payment processing, reconciliations, compliance, and treasury operations. The implementation of blockchain will see financial institutions save over $25 billion by 2030. That will cut the organizations’ expenses in half.
The global blockchain market size is expected to grow from USD 3.0 billion in 2020 to USD 39.7 billion by 2025, at an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 67.3% during 2020–2025. The increasing need for simplifying the business processes and the need for supply chain management applications integrated with blockchain technology will drive the overall blockchain market.
Private blockchain are estimated to hold the largest market size in 2020. A private blockchain is a shared database or ledger that is secured by traditional security techniques, such as limited user rights.
Governments traditionally have had negative attitudes towards crypto. However, legislative actions, statements by leading political figures and opinion polls (in Korea) suggest we could see improvements in official attitudes. In particular, the 2022 presidential election in Korea witnessed the election of a pro-crypto candidate, promising major improvements in ICON’s home nation.
The blockchain market has a very bright future as blockchain technology and networks are being more globalized, commercialized and utilized.
ICON and its chief technology partner, ICONLOOP, have major partners in government and large companies:
- ICONLOOP has partnered with Jeju Special Self-Government Provincial for The Jeju Safety Code app, which allows visitors to securely check in at public places using QR code without risking loss of personal data and forgery/alteration and makes it easy for small businesses to get involved (many of whom cannot afford the devices KI-Pass requires).
- ICONLOOP’s MyID DID solution is at work at two major South Korean banks: Shinhan Bank and NH Bank.
- ICONLOOP’s DID access authentication system at work at POSCO Group base offices
- Public chain powered certification solution “broof” used by leading Korean university POSTECH to issue diplomas.
- Mobile ID app Zzeung used byGangwon Province’s “Health Up” platform for managing chronic diseases
- ICONLOOP worked with Korea Communications Agency (KCA), Central Radio Management Service and National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives on ship safety service.
- In February 2019, the Seoul Metropolitan Government appointed members of its ‘Blockchain Governance Team’ using the ICON Network. This was the first official record of a Korean government entity interacting with a public blockchain network, as an early user helping to test broof.
- One of South Korea’s biggest coffee shop franchises, Paul Bassett, uses VisitMe to track Covid-19 contact. VisitMe provides a smart and integrated visitor management solution covering the entire process from invitation and check-in to speed check-in and one-touch gate pass.
- All of these major partnerships and integrations mean that blockchain is slowly entering daily life.
Market Entry Difficulties
There are a number of challenges when implementing blockchain into an organization or adopting it for the masses.
- Getting Buy-in From Upper Management: The project leaders need to get support from management. Blockchain is still a new concept for many, and people may be cautious/reluctant to change to a completely different technology.
- Ensuring The Organization Is Capable Of Supporting Blockchain: Organizations must ensure that their staff has enough training and knowledge to work with blockchain. Furthermore, there should be experts in-house to ensure that blockchain is used properly.
- Choosing the Right Blockchain For Your Needs: Since blockchain projects are different in use and creation, users have to research and choose blockchain carefully to make sure it matches their needs.
- On-Chain/Off-Chain: Not all problems and processes can be solved with blockchain. People have to be selective in picking what part of their organization can be implemented with blockchain.
- Cryptocurrencies still have negative perceptions and people may be reluctant to use them.