Blockchain: Evolving into Everyday Services - Part 2

UDC Story — Insights from UDC 2018

*This post is a translated excerpt from Proof of Report UDC 2018 written by Ran Ko, CCO of Join:D, a blockchain media affiliated with JoongAng Daily.

Blockchain: Evolving into Everyday Services - Part 1

Blockchain: Evolving into Everyday Services - Part 2

Time for a breakthrough service

The origins of the Internet dates back to 1969 and ARPANET, an early packet-switching network set up with support from the Pentagon to connect four U.S. universities. ARPANET was initially established for military purposes, but it took the shape of our modern Internet environment once protocol suite TCP/IP was implemented, with separate networks for the public (ARPANET) and the military (MILNET).

In Korea, Korea Telecom (KT) started the first commercial Internet service, called KORNET, in June of 1994. Since it utilized the telephone network, disconnections were common and attempting to transfer image files was only for the brave. Still, the ability to chat in real-time was plenty to get people excited.

1998 signaled the start of high-speed Internet networks. The very next year, the ‘Ms. O video controversy’ became national news when someone converted a celebrity sex tape from videotape to digital video and uploaded it to the web. Non-computer science students began studying programming just to watch the video and the number of high-speed Internet subscribers increased dramatically.

This kind of effect certainly isn’t unique to the Internet, as many have argued that pornography is the most impactful catalyst in advancing information technology. In the 1970s, pornographic videos played a role in the mass adoption of VCRs. The adult industry was also the first to successfully shift their businesses to DVD and web platforms. The proliferation of online credit card transactions? Also due to Internet pornography. To some, even Kakao Talk, Korea’s most widely used messenger platform, owes its massive popularity to pornography.

Bringing up these examples isn’t to espouse the innovative spirit of the porn industry. Rather, it’s simply to point out that a lot of people started using the Internet so they could watch porn, not because they understood the complicated technical and operational principles of TCP/IP. Now, those people get their daily news on Naver, search for information on Google, and buy things on Amazon. They get updates on their friends on Facebook and learn new things on Wikipedia. The number of things you can now do on the Internet almost defies imagination.

And blockchain technology is on the same path. Up to this point, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing “what” blockchain is, discussing the principles behind distributed ledgers and data encryption. And while developers were focusing on the technological possibilities, the general public caught cryptocurrency fever. Many jumped head-first into questionable crypto exchanges, hoping to go from rags-to-riches through hundred-fold returns on their investments.

If blockchain is to go beyond what some (including Korea’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon) have labeled a ‘pathological social phenomenon’, it needs a breakthrough service, something akin to the Google or Amazon of the blockchain. There can’t be any more blockchain projects that promise a thoroughbred on their white papers then deliver a service that’s closer to a donkey.

It’s hard to predict when a truly mainstream blockchain service will appear. Dunamu Chairman Song Chi-hyung expects this to happen within the next 2 to 3 years. A month in the crypto industry is comparable to a year in other tech industries in terms of how quickly things are changing. Plus, despite the risks reverse ICOs pose to existing shareholders’ profits, industry-leading businesses are actively embracing them due to the relatively high success rate of reverse ICOs.

What’s not hard to predict is that this breakthrough service will not come from critics, regulators or even investors. It will no doubt come from the minds of innovative developers looking to solve some kind of problem.

During the ‘Upbit Developer Conference (UDC) 2018’ held in Jeju last September, Song concluded his keynote address by stressing Dunamu’s mission and the company’s developer-first culture.

“If everybody only focused on the negative side effects of StarCraft and stunted the game industry with various regulations, Korea would never have grown into a global gaming powerhouse. The same goes for semiconductors. There was a time when developing a semiconductor industry was considered absurd because Korea could barely produce TVs. If we backed away from making that commitment, Korea would not have become a global leader. The same kind of commitment is needed in the blockchain industry, and Dunamu and Upbit’s developers promise to take the lead in making that commitment.”

※ Referenced speeches (The speeches can be viewed in their entirety on the UDC 2018 YouTube page)

- Welcome & Keynote Speech by Song Chi-hyung, Chairman of Dunamu:
(Available in Korean only)

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