The Korea Herald


Kakao launches blockchain platform for enterprise service

By Yeo Jun-suk

Published : June 27, 2019 - 18:34

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Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary Ground X on Thursday launched a public network platform for companies and developers, as dozens of regional tech giants pledged to work with it to promote blockchain-based businesses.

Ground X said that its blockchain platform Klaytn has officially begun operations by releasing its mainnet for commercial use. Klaytn is designed for easier access and faster speed compared with existing blockchain platforms, and various companies have joined its test operations since October last year.

Among the firms that will run Klaytn are South Korean companies such as LG, Celltrion and Netmarble. Union Bank of the Philippines and other finance and tech giants in Southeast Asia have also joined the project. Kakao affiliates including Kakao Pay, Kakao Page, Kakao Games and Kakao IX are also participating.

“The launch paves the way for commercialization of the blockchain system,” said Ground X chief Han Jae-sun, stressing the combined market value of the participating companies amounts to 75 trillion won ($64.8 billion).

“By working with such valuable and responsible companies I expect we can improve the platform’s stability and reliability. … In order to create a better ecosystem, we will increase the number of partners.” 

Ground X. Ground X.

Kakao said there are two types of partners using the Klaytn platform. While some applications can create their own cryptocurrencies for blockchain transactions, there are others that are required to use Kakao’s own cryptocurrency Klay to reward participants.

Currently, there are nine applications that can run on various tokens. Among them are Hint Chain, which rewards users for restaurant reviews. AnTube.TV provides tokens to those who upload entertainment videos. By October, there will be 34 applications available, Kakao said.

Instead of calling them “decentralized apps,” a common terminology described to highlight distributed characteristics in blockchain, Kako used the term “BApp” for its blockchain apps. The company said it is designed to widen Kakao’s blockchain ecosystem for more commercial services.

“Basically, BApp is the same as Dapps,” said a Kakao official. “We want to give the impression that users are capable of experiencing various blockchain services based on the Klaytn platform.”

In order to promote participation, Kakao said it has adopted a reward system, such as “Proof of Contribution.” The users can be awarded Klay for their contribution to the Klyatn platform. They can depend upon “Klaytn Improvement Reserve” to learn about business prospects and technical issues.

Kakao also unveiled a series of applications which adopted Klaytn as the only form of reward mechanism and financial transaction. Most of them are game developers who have gained popularity on other blockchain platforms.

Among them are Klaytn Knights, revised version of EOS Knights, one of the world’s famous blockchain-based RPG game developed by Biscuit. Mixmarvel’s Marvel Clans and Axie Infinity’s SKY Mavis will hit the market later this year, Kakao said.

“Some games with familiar characters will also be reborn with Klaytn,” said Ground X, adding that the work is underway by game developer MGame to release a new blockchain-based game using intellectual properties of the Princess Maker franchise.

Meanwhile, LG Electronics, Union Bank of the Philippines and other big companies in Asia will work with Kakao to improve the management of the Klaytn ecosystem. A total of 20 companies have joined the efforts to form Klaytn’s “governance council” to participate in the decision-making process.

From Korea, the participating council members include LG Electronics, LG International and Celltrion, one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies here. Local game companies such as Netmarble, Wemade and PUBG have also joined the group.

Finance and tech giants in Southeast Asia have also became council members, said Ground X. Among them are Union Bank of the Philippines, Axiata Digital, Axiata Digital Service Indonesia and Hong Kong-based fintech firm HashKey.

“The council members will be responsible for making major business decisions on Klaytn and operating its consensus nodes,” said Ground X. “We are also planning to involve them in discussing developing new services and integrating blockchain with existing businesses.”