Ground X, the Blockchain Subsidiary of Internet Giant Kakao

Ground X is the blockchain subsidiary of the leading South Korean Internet company, Kakao. Ground X aims to tap new and innovative blockchain technologies that can be adopted by the mainstream market. They created a scalable Blockchain platform called Klaytn and are looking to create more DApps to become the global leader in the Blockchain industry. What separates Klaytn from other DApps is that it does away with the hassle of wallets, private keys, and cryptograph addresses in order to bring in mass adoption. Therefore, it will also feature tutorials on Blockchain services and technologies.  Ground X has over $8 billion in assets and has a crypto wallet called Klay which utilizes the Klaytn platform.  

The Klaytn Public Testnet Baobab

The Klaytn public test net Baobab was launched in the first quarter of 2019. Baobab features new functions and developer tools for greater security and usability. They also incorporated account management functions. This was put in to help users choose their own account names to make them easy to remember.

Kakao understands that Blockchain is the future. Kakao Talk has 50 million monthly users. Therefore, it makes sense that they would want them to transact with each other. This is why they created Ground X. This does not mean Kakao is looking to put their Kakao Chat on the blockchain but rather create a new platform on the Blockchain.

Terra a blockchain startup in Korea is using Klaytn in the development of its payment platform.

The Klaytn Phone

Ground X and Samsung released the Klaytn Phone which will have a crypto wallet called Klay and will offer 5 Klaytn-based blockchain apps.  For more information on the Klaytn Phone go to the Klaytn Phone website. With Klay users will be able to store and make transactions with not just Klaytn cryptocurrency called KLAY but also other Klaytn-based cryptocurrencies.  The phone costs around $1,000.  It will come with 5 Klaytn-based blockchain apps listed below.  

  • FitsMe – Blockchain-based beauty data curation service
  • Haemuk – Dining recommendation decentralized application
  • Piction Network – Blockchain-based digital content provider
  • WomansTalk – Fashion e-commerce platform
  • Antube – Mobile video platform

More Klaytn-based services will be added in the future.  For those that purchase the Klaytn Phone, they will receive 2,000 KLAY via airdrop.  The 5 applications will also have their own token airdrop events for Klaytn Phone customers.  

Kakao Token?

In order for Kakao to really monetize their service, they would ultimately need their own token. Kakao is not just a messaging app. They have many different segments such as banking, transportation, and gaming just to name a few. This is why Ground X is so important to Kakao. If at any point Kakao wants to transform their service onto the Blockchain, Ground X can help in that transition.

Ground X is based in Tokyo. The reason for this is due to Korean regulations. Japan has a more lenient regulation. Also, they are looking to tap into the gaming services companies which are vast in Japan. Game developer Wemade Entertainment Co. and Chinese travel agency Zanadu are among the 26 companies that will run their applications on the Klatyn platform.

In order for mass adoption, it seems the easiest way in would be through gaming DApps or content sharing DApps. However, the key will be making sure they are able to offer a great UX experience as well as a great DX (Developer Experience).

Blockchain-based Digital Asset Wallet – Klip 

A digital asset wallet called Klip is available on KakaoTalk. It allows users to sign into Klip through their Kakao accounts. They will be able to purchase and store digital assets such as digital currency, gaming items, and even mileage points. Klip users can safely store and transfer these digital assets that have been purchased from Klaytn-based blockchain applications. Some of these Klaytn Blockchain apps are involved in gaming, eCommerce, and even social networking. In addition, Klip supports cryptocurrencies including their own currency (KLAY). Klip aims to be a digital wallet that anyone can use. This is why they are using KakaoTalk account information instead of complex blockchain wallet addresses. DIgital asset transfers are just as fast as instant wire transfers without additional fees. Lastly, Ground X does not have access to the user’s private key for maximum security. 

“We have focused on developing a digital wallet that is easy and convenient enough to be used by those who have no previous experience with blockchain technology,” said the CEO of Ground X, Jason Han. 

Ground X Global Partnerships

Ground X and Orbs

Ground X is active in gathering strategic partners like Orbs and are currently looking for other global partners interested in developing the Blockchain Ecosystem together. They already raised over $90 million and will look to raise an additional $300 million so that Ground X can develop its own token. “There’s going to be a wide spectrum of services […] we’re continuing to have conversations with Kakao.”

The continued success of Ground X comes as South Korean lawmakers are still working on regulations and their current zero-tolerance policy to ICOs, which became illegal in 2017.

Woori Financial Group runs Woori Bank which is one of the largest banks in South Korea.  Woori will work together with Ground X to develop blockchain financial services.  It is rumored that the blockchain financial services will be applied to Woori Card which is a credit card subsidiary of Woori Financial Group.  It will not involve the use of cryptocurrencies.  In addition, Ground X has teamed up with Shinhan Bank and Hexlant to develop a private key management system.  Woori Bank has been an aggressive bank in Korea in regard to blockchain-related development.  They are considered second behind Shinhan bank in pursuing blockchain initiatives.  In 2018, Woori made the news for testing Ripple for their overseas remittances.  In addition, they have further looked into the personal identification functions the blockchain will provide.  

Ground X Partnership with LG CNS and SK Group

Ground X has partnered up with LG CNS to expand its Blockchain-related businesses. LG CNS launched its own private Blockchain platform called Monachain. It was applied to Korea Minting, Security Printing, and Chak, a local gift voucher service. In addition, Monachain was applied to the LG Uplus system to reimburse users for damaged or lost mobile phones. They have also partnered with SK Group to develop a blockchain-based donation platform.  

Ground X Raised $180 Million Through two ICO Rounds

Ground X has raised $90 Million from its first private token sale. They raised an additional $90, taking their total to $180 Million from two ICO rounds. The ultimate goal is to integrate future Blockchain-based services with Kakao’s existing internet offerings. This is why Ground X developed Klaytn. Therefore, their goal is to ultimately create a global token economy. Currently, Kakao only operates in Korea, but because of Blockchain technology, they have the potential to expand into the global market. 

Ground X Blockchain Master’s Course on Smart Contracts and Decentralized Apps 

Ground X is giving back to the Blockchain community in Korea by offering free courses at Hanyang University. The Blockchain Master’s courses are on smart contracts and decentralized apps. The aim of Ground X and Hanyang University is for the general development of Blockchain technology. Hanyang University signed an MOU with Ground X back in late 2018 to create education and joint researches that nurture future Blockchain developers. 

The first course ran for 15 weeks starting in September of 2019. The topics covered were on basic concepts regarding Blockchain, the structure of Blockchain, and the motion fundamentals of Ground X’s self-developed platform Klaytn. As well as, consensus mechanism and smart contracts. Furthermore, the course offered Blockchain app training based on real-life examples and how to improve UI/UX of Blockchain services. The courses are open to any student or developers that are interested in Blockchain technology, especially in Blockchain app development. In addition, Ground X has its own YouTube Channel that offers videos regarding Blockchain technology.