Korean mobile giant Kakao speaks about embracing blockchain technology

“Will the middleman really disappear? Are the middlemen all bad?”

Korea’s biggest mobile corporation Kakao has weighed in on the blockchain market.

Kakao, having already dominated the mobile space, has started muscling in on other markets. Finding success after expanding its operations into markets such as advertising, gaming, mobile banking, taxi services and music, the giant has its eyes set on blockchain technology.

Jason Han is the CEO of Ground X – a subsidiary of Kakao tasked with determining the company’s approach to blockchain. In an interview with Coindesk Korea, Han spoke about how Kakao plans to position itself within the decentralised space, and the role large corporations can find themselves taking with crypto.

Why blockchain developers need “middlemen”

Han: Will the middleman really disappear? Are the middlemen all bad? I don’t think people are thinking seriously about these questions.

ICOs have an odd structure. You’ve already made all of your money by the time you start. Let’s say you can’t dispose of the money for two years. Two years go by very quickly. You spend those two years working on development to get your smart contracts working, then release your service. Maybe 1,000 users sign up. But you need something more to attract more users beyond that. You have to spend a lot on marketing and go through all kinds of trouble to get your name out there. But why bother doing all that? You’ve already made all your money

On where blockchain developers need to improve their strategies.

Han: From my investment experience, there is a huge gap between what startups promise in their white papers and what they actually deliver. That gap cannot be bridged simply by developing good smart contracts or designing a good token economy

Until last year, nobody talked about business when they were making dapps (decentralized applications), but I think things will be different this year. Decentralization can’t be the core of a service, it’s just a method of providing the service. Tokens can’t be the only kind of value that you offer to users. Tokens are only part of the value. What’s important is the essence of the business itself.

Everyone is using blockchain these days because it’s popular. I wish people would stop trying to put everything on blockchain.

Where Han sees Kakao breaking into the decentralised space

Han: The biggest concern for dapps on ethereum or EOS is how to attract users. Messenger services like Telegram have an advantage since they already have a platform with an established user base. This is why we need to pay attention to what these companies are doing. On the other hand, those messaging services have lots of users but no other services, while Kakao already provides a wide range of services.

20 years ago, nobody could have imagined a company like Google or Amazon. There are so many teams working hard on their own projects, and some of them will be able to create new types of commerce that are completely different from anything we currently know. Some of them may be able to create innovative business models by focusing on decentralization. With blockchain, I think this will only take five or 10 years, not 20.

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