Category Archives: Kakao

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Kakao Blockchain Subsidiary Conducts $300 Million Private Token Sale

Kakao Blockchain Subsidiary Conducts 0 Million Private Token Sale

South Korea’s foremost internet firm Kakao has been running a private token sale for its blockchain subsidiary, Ground X, hoping to raise USD 300 million.


The news was broken by local media outlet Hani and according to the report, Kakao is looking to draw funding from foreign investors via the private sale of its KLAY token as part of the Klatyn platform.

While it is a token sale by definition, Kakao states that “it is not an investment recruitment for the general public”, which somewhat differs to the traditional structuring of initial coin offerings (ICOs), which are presently banned and unregulated in South Korea. In March, Kakao had announced the Ground X subsidiary as part of its conglomerate’s businesses strategy “Kakao 3.0”.

At this time, the question as to whether or not there will be an ICO attached to the project was raised and swiftly shot down, though later on in June, Bloomberg reported that Ground X CEO Jason Han had described the prospect of the project seeking “capital and business alliances with consumer-service companies”.

Private sale

The Ground X arm of Kakao was originally set up in Tokyo, Japan. However, the co-CEO of Kakao, Joh Su-yong, had also shot down the rumors of an ICO in March, saying that there were no plans to launch one in either Japanese or Korean territories, which was viewed as a means to circumvent the 2017 ICO ban in South Korea. That said, the move to establish a Tokyo headquarters was more likely to avoid regulations related more specifically to cryptocurrencies.

Kakao also says that it can’t confirm the current size of investment or the nature of investors due to the company requiring “consultation with our partners” in order for such information to be disclosed.

According to Hani sources, the majority of the desired target has been accrued by Ground X, also suggesting that a Chinese venture capital firm may be participating in the token sale:

“The target amount is USD 300 million and Kakao is very close to securing its target. A China-based venture capital executive held a meeting with Ground X in September and, even at the time, Ground X was planning to raise USD 300 million.”

Most recently, Kakao established a significant partnership with stablecoin project Terra, this move was another part of the Ground X project for the purpose of creating a frictionless blockchain payments experience for users. Furthermore, Ground X has also partnered with an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform named Orbs, a project that is “highly likely” to collaborate with Terra.

Market maturity

The news from Kakao is of little surprise; as the ICO market dwindles ever downward, startups and enterprises are beginning to seek capital from traditional institutions such as incubators, venture capital (VC) firms and hedge funds. According to a study on the matter, this is a sign of market maturity and the “professionalization” of the blockchain industry ecosystem.


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Kakao Partners with Stablecoin Terra to Improve Blockchain-Based Payments

The Korean Times yesterday reported a purposeful long-term relationship between major South Korean messaging giant Kakao and decentralized stablecoin Terra.

In a signed partnership agreement between Kakao Corp and Terra on Wednesday 14 November, Kakao’s Klatyn, a product from its Ground X subsidiary will be fused with Terra’s technology to provide mutual benefits for a more seamless user experience of blockchain payments.

Both sides agree that their products combined will create an opportunity to serve a “large group of people”. The core objective on the Terra side of the partnership will be to use Klatyn’s technology to provide a blockchain payment ecosystem with reliable speed and stability. Shin Hyun-Seung, founder of Terra had this to say:

“Speed, stability and reliability are the most important issues in the blockchain-based payment system… Terra will cooperate with Klaytn in coming up with ideas to solve the issues and offering services that give actual benefit to users.”

It appears that the leading South Korean infotech company has been doing a lot of business building lately, and the recently adopted blockchain project under its subsidiary Ground X (established in May this year), has given it a good outlook about blockchain development and the South Korean market.

Back in July of this year, Jason Han, Ground X’s CEO, said, “Although blockchain is emerging as one of the most transformative technologies for years to come on the global level, the extent of discussion about blockchain in Korea is still in its infancy.”

On 8 October, the Ground X project launched the Klatyn testnet, way ahead of the initial schedule.

Terra on the other hand, as a highly ambitious cryptocurrency project aiming to tame the volatility of digital assets, has some success strides in its development path too. It aims to build a financial infrastructure for the next generation of decentralized applications.

Back in August, Shin said, “Imagine going to Amazon and clicking “Terra pay” at checkout. You don’t need a wallet and so on. All you know it’s a better deal… Asia provides the most favorable regulatory and cultural environment to launch the project.”

On the frontline of crypto adoption, Terra seems to be establishing lots of partnerships with a number of eCommerce ventures in Asia to encourage consumers to use the currency. So far, it has received seed capital of USD 32 million from top cryptocurrency exchanges including Binance, OKEx, and Huobi.


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South Korean Firms Actively Adopting, Generating Blockchain 3.0 Tech

Third-generation blockchain projects are in hot competition in South Korea’s bustling blockchain and cryptocurrency industries.

The term “Blockchain 3.0” has been cropping up a fair amount in 2018 to a mix of skepticism as to when it will truly arrive, with projects such as EOS and several others supposedly leading this race. In the case of South Korea, there is quite some fanfare as domestic companies begin to pair up with these new technologies.

Third generation

Blockchain 1.0 refers to the first and early technologies which were simply cryptocurrencies; Litecoin and Bitcoin are prime examples of this era. Blockchain 2.0 came about as developers began to understand that the technology could do much more than document transactions.

Ethereum is often touted as the beginning of the 2.0 generation with the introduction of smart contract technology on a blockchain and adoption of blockchain in enterprises. Industries grew given the versatile applications of smart contracts.

This new generation of Blockchain 3.0 is thought to be the catalyst for mainstream adoption. This latest round of solutions and platforms are said to address the issues of their predecessors with higher scalability, interoperability, governance and many others on the list.

As reported by Business Korea on 27 September, there a handful of blockchain enterprises that are becoming well positioned in South Korea’s markets, as well as one of its largest cryptocurrency exchanges, which is preparing a new blockchain platform through its subsidiary. These would all fit into Blockchain 3.0 descriptions.

Enterprise adoption

EOS has found itself being adopted by Neowiz Co, a leading games developer in South Korea who are now developing video games on EOS. The EOS network is pegged by Weiss Ratings Agency as one of the most innovative blockchain projects out there and is becoming increasingly favored by the gaming sector.

Orbs, an “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” (IaaS) platform from Israel, claims to be an improvement upon Ethereum. It uses the network’s best features while being faster, and includes a new transaction fee model among other interesting features.

This project is drawing a great deal of attention now with a strategic partnership in place with Ground X, a blockchain subsidiary of Kakao Corp, who also own one the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Upbit.

According to the Business Korea report, it is “highly likely” that Orbs will be collaborating with a blockchain payment project named Terra, a South Korean stablecoin project.

Additionally, Kakao is preparing to unveil the testnet for a blockchain platform developed by Ground X. “Clayton” is said to debut in October and is also in direct competition with Naver, South Korea’s largest internet content service company. Naver has produced the Link Chain platform, a payment and compensation method for numerous services including games, commerce, and content.

Blockchain enterprises in South Korea are receiving encouraging levels of support from the government as the nation seeks to formalize regulations and legislation for the industry. Despite being less in place than Malta, South Korea still a thought leader to other nations also seeking to enter the space.


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