Kakao’s Raises $90 Million Through Blockchain in Private Token Sale

Ground X CEO Jason Han, speaking to the media, said that IDG Capital, Cresendo Equity Partners, and Translink Capital participated in a private coin offering and raised up to $90 million. Group X is the blockchain subsidiary of South Korean messaging giant Kakao. It is also said to have raised $90 million.

Kakao first announced its plan to set up a blockchain subsidiary in March 2018. This announcement soon came after confirming that it had launched Ground X to establish a blockchain-powered platform as a foundation for application developers. Top executives at that point said that the plan was to integrate blockchain-based services with Kakao’s existing Internet offering. One such product was the Kakao Talk messaging app.

Meanwhile, Ground X launched a test network for its proprietary blockchain network, dubbed Klaytn. It is said to have already partnered with 26 companies that aim at running apps on Klaytn. Some of the biggies who are said to have participated in the network include South Korean video game developer Wemade and video streaming platform Watcha. A unit of Chinese travel agency Zanadu also participated in the same. The subsidiary also said that it is likely to work with the Seoul Digital Foundation, an organization established by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The collaboration will help develop a blockchain project, focusing on social and public services.

Ground X could be considered as “partial and gradual decentralization.” There is also a possibility that a few of Kakao’s services could be decentralized. Explaining his prediction further, Han reportedly said, “The token economy is a business model that no one could have imagined before. Until now, Kakao has only operated in Korea, but through blockchain, we could expand into the global market. That means taking a portion of the profits we earn as an intermediary and using it to expand our market by sharing it with users.”

Questions raised on Blockchain

In a recent study conducted for blockchains, it has been found that other than cryptocurrencies, they are not being used anywhere else. The Blockchain study found 0.00% success rate. The study also reportedly suggested that 0 vendors called back when asked for proof of implementation.

An excerpt from the study reads as follows:

Though Blockchain has been touted as the answer to everything, a study of 43 solutions advanced in the international development sector has found exactly no evidence of success.

Three practitioners including erstwhile blockchain enthusiast John Burg, a Fellow at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), looked at instances of the distributed crypto ledger being used in a wide range of situations by NGOs, contractors, and agencies. But they drew a complete blank.

We found a proliferation of press releases, white papers, and persuasively written articles,” Burg et al. wrote on Thursday. “However, we found no documentation or evidence of the results blockchain was purported to have achieved in these claims. We also did not find lessons learned or practical insights, as are available for other technologies in development.”

Blockchain vendors were keen to puff the merits of the technology, but when the three asked for proof of success in the field, it all went very quiet.

We fared no better when we reached out directly to several blockchain firms, via email, phone, and in person. Not one was willing to share data on program results, MERL [monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning] processes, or adaptive management for potential scale-up. Despite all the hype about how blockchain will bring unheralded transparency to processes and operations in low-trust environments, the industry is itself opaque.”

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