“We will become a company that reaches out to general consumers as a B2C company.”
Korea’s representative B2B blockchain technology company Blocko has announced its intention to convert to a B2C company this year. Blocko aims to offer a DTT Alliance-centered business model that welcomes the participation of end-users.
Blocko, which was founded in December 2014, is one of the few first-generation Korean blockchain platform companies. The company is operated by co-founders and co-CEOs Won-beom Kim, developer, and Jonghwan Kim, advisor in charge of external affairs. Since its foundation, as one of only a handful of deep-tech blockchain companies that possess original technology, Blocko has built up a large-scale blockchain infrastructure used by Korea’s main financial authorities and leading enterprises, such as Hyundai Motor Group, Samsung, POSCO, LG and Shinhan Bank.
Blocko CEO Won-beom Kim said, “I read the Bitcoin white paper while researching distributed data systems as a research engineer at TmaxSoft and was taken aback by its revolutionary approach. I subsequently developed an interest in distributed technologies and founded Blocko in 2014. Currently, Blocko is developing solutions that can be implemented in a variety of business sectors, beginning with a ‘cloud-based blockchain platform.”
Won-beom Kim considers ‘versatility’ to be blockchain’s greatest appeal. He explained, “Blockchain is attractive as a technology that has been instantly applied to anti-corruption, authentication and security services. But its ‘versatility’, which allows it to be used by various enterprises rather than being limited to a particular enterprise, is its most attractive quality.” He adds that, from this perspective, “unlike other markets where certain businesses are clearly predominant, such as operating systems or database markets, blockchain is open to all. Our aim is to become a global company that brings value to real industrial applications by integrating blockchain into enterprise software, based on our experience of blockchain commercialization through public projects and leading enterprise customers in Korea and abroad.”
Blocko currently supplies leading enterprises and public institutions in Korea and abroad with diverse blockchain platforms and solutions encompassing voting, authentication, contracts and payments, and is striving to offer an even greater variety of services.
Blocko’s is devoting its focus this year to the service ‘Instsign’, an online contactless electric contract service. Released last year in April, Instsign is a service that converts contracts into a ‘smart contract’, a program that enables contracts to be automatically executed when pre-determined conditions are met by recording the conditions on blockchain. Instsign was integrated into the existing blockchain-based TSA service (Aergo TSA, Time Stamping Authority), resulting in the creation of a comprehensive smart documents and smart contracts service.
Aergo TSA is a timestamping service based on Aergo’s mainnet, an enterprise blockchain platform. Aergo TSA saves the hash values of diverse types of digital contents, such as standard files, texts, image files and electronic documents, on the blockchain. It enables users to search and verify the information values of original data and protects against data tampering. Aergo TSA has been applied to Korea Technology Finance Corporation’s ‘Electronic Agreement and Web Service Integration Platform’.
For the sake of service differentiation, Blocko also offers a legal consultation service analyzing and assessing matters such as potential disputes, related revised laws and unreasonable clauses based on similar contracts in the same industry. For this purpose, BLOCKO has joined hands with Kim&Min to build a legally valid ‘Ricardian contract’. A Ricardian contract is an easy-to-read smart contract. CEO Won-beom Kim introduced it as “an experiment that has lowered technological obstacles and enhanced user accessibility by providing data in a format that can be understood by anyone, not just blockchain developers.”
CEO Won-beom Kim aims to expand BLOCKO’s electronic documents and electronic contracts service with DTT Alliance at the centre. DTT Alliance is a consortium that was created to form a distributed TSA service ecosystem to replace centralized storage systems for verifying electronic documents and document verifying intermediaries. Currently, a total of 20 members are participating in the alliance including Blocko, CJ Olive Networks, Daebo Communication & Systems, Lotte Data Communication, Bespin Global, Busan International Film Festival, Aergo, eXsoft, Initech, Xangle, Chain Partners, Topedo, Fujitsu Korea and Hyundai AutoEver.
Won-beom Kim explained, “Due to the nature of blockchain, mutual authentication leads to enhanced security and data utilization. Private blockchains can work for large corporations like Hyundai and Samsung, as they have enough affiliates to form a consortium. However, the utility value of blockchain is reduced when used by small to medium-sized corporations. Mutual exchange of information in the form of a consortium like DT Alliance increases the effectiveness of blockchain.”
He added, “Boundary-breaking collaborations are essential for the promotion and success of blockchain projects. Only by creating an ecosystem where different types of companies, enterprises and institutions exchange and utilize different types of data can we fully realize the potential of blockchain.”
Regarding the promotion of electronic contract services, Blocko CEO Won-beom Kim is pushing to apply blockchain technology to distribution network management. He explained, “The e-commerce market in Korea is well-developed and there has been an explosive rise in contactless services due to the pandemic. Large domestic delivery companies are contemplating how to streamline the supply chain. Blockchain technology is receiving a lot of attention for its potential to reduce costs.”
Blocko, which has until now elevated brand awareness in the market by use of its own blockchain technology to supply large corporations, financial organizations and government institutions with SI or consulting on blockchain technology, has spent the past year focused instead on improving its internal business capabilities with the aim of launching new contactless services. Regarding the growth of DTT Alliance, Blocko plans to increase efficiency and focus on strengthening the consortium rather than aiming for quantitative expansion.
Won-beom Kim said, “We are working with the other members to realign our standards. From an operational perspective, in relation to communications and division of responsibilities, we are focusing on improving quality rather than excessive unmanageable expansion through efficient operations by each member.”
The blocko team also understands that development of blockchain technology is difficult without continuous investment and has therefore chosen to pursue an aggressive growth strategy in collaboration with its investors. In line with this, Blocko completed a funding round last year and plans to raise additional funds this year to continue to optimize its technology. Along with this, since the launch of its new business model, Blocko has also hired CMO Jae Shin, former president of B2B business related to the Samsung Electronics KNOX platform, with the aim of pursuing a more active marketing strategy.
Won-beom Kim announced, “Much of this year will be spent finding our footing as a company transitioning into B2C. However, eventually, ‘Blocko’ will become established as a name that is recognized by general consumers.”