I haven’t had the chance to check out social media much to judge the overall reaction yet, but I will say that ICON investors have absolutely no reason to be disappointed by this summit. The ICON team over-delivered on what was promised and any disappointment you may feel, is only because you formed expectations based on unofficial, and frankly, uninformed sources (cough cough, Ian Balina, cough). Okay, to be fair to him, he probably just mixed up some information that he heard and then happened to say “12+ ICOs” in that interview, and the info that would “shock the crypto world” was maybe just a misunderstanding in a loud room? …Maybe? He’s got fingers in many conflicted-interest pies, and the biggest pie, with the largest number of his fingers in it, is made of his own interest. Anyway, this metaphor is getting a little too complicated and this is probably a topic for another time.
Gear up for this, it’s a little long. I could probably write a full article about each bullet, but I’ll try to concentrate it down, so it’s a bit more digestible. My take-away points from this summit are as follows:
The ICON team goes all out
- This event was extremely polished and high quality. It was the highest quality conference for any crypto that I’ve seen, either live or watched live-streamed (remember that Antshares to Neo rebranding conference… Woof). Yes, there were some technical hiccups, and no, not everything went entirely smoothly, but for an event of this scale, the problems were minimal.
- Everyone left the summit happy. They gave all of the attendees ICON branded sweatshirts, bags, stickers, notebooks, leather wallets, magnetic pins. The handouts were high quality, the food was good, and the venue was amazing. I think the building we were in is possibly the nicest building I’ve ever been in—and I’ve lived in Europe and toured all sorts of palaces. Versailles can’t hold a candle to the Lotte World Tower. Alright, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but the point stands.
- Those translators were easily the best translators I’ve ever heard. They didn’t skip a beat even going into very technical blockchain details, and you could tell they were doing it on the fly and were not working off of a script. A minor detail, but still, color me impressed- they deserve a shout out.
- This level of attention to detail and commitment to excellence is present in all that the ICON team does. We were shown pictures of ICON team members sleeping in the office and pulling all-nighters to make ICON happen. They’re hiring the top talent from Korea and around the world. One such example is Jay Park, a relatively recent hire of ICON, who is an absolute all-star developer/engineer. He is probably as famous as an engineer can be here. They don’t quit, and they’re going to continue working just as hard to fulfill their vision of hyper-connecting the world.
ICON is a high-performance enterprise-ready blockchain, and it’s almost ready for prime-time
- ICON isn’t getting enough credit for their built-from-scratch blockchain tech. Real-time transactions (that they showed off on the actual ICON blockchain and we were able to experience in action using their ICX-based vending machines), multichannel chains which enable parallel transactions and ensure scalability, simple ICO platform, scalable smart contract platform with versioning support. This isn’t a pipe-dream; It’s almost here.
- ICONick and the ICON wallet blow the competition away. Everyone knows cryptocurrencies are difficult for beginners to use, and tolerable at best even for the most experienced. ICON is not only giving us a secure wallet that will be able to hold many different cryptocurrencies, but they’re also giving people a way to use and share this wallet as easily as a domain name or email address. Oh, and it will function as an email address, and these names will be tradeable on the market as well.
- I’ve always been a big fan of how cryptocurrencies go about incentivizing the behaviors they need to survive and thrive. It sounds like ICON will have systems in place to incentivize all of the right behaviors- development of DApps, participation in DApps, transactions, staking, light client, full nodes, voting, etc. They already have nodes deployed globally, and they are “working with many universities and institutions” to run these nodes.
The DApps and ICOs are coming
- We received announcements and details about 6 DApps (7 if Nucleus Vision commits to ICON- please do if you’re reading this!) that are working with ICON and are coming out with products in the near future. BlueWhale, TINK, Silkroad, Uppsala, Ad4th, and Smilegate’s project. I’ll highlight just a few.
- TINK: Short for Trust Link. The project is still in the early stages, but their team is extremely solid. Most of the devs are from CarnegieMellon- the name may not impress you if you don’t know about it, but it is probably the top engineering/programming school in the world. It’s at a higher level than MIT, Stanford, Harvard, etc. I would take a hard look at this one when more info comes out because it is guaranteed to be well developed.
- Uppsala/Sentinel: Cyber security is a big industry, and surprisingly not many projects are trying to break into this space in the crypto world. Uppsala is already backed by huge companies including SoftBank Ventures, the investment arm of a massive Japanese company.
- Smilegate: This one was the big surprise. It’s understandable how it could be seen as a letdown to western audiences viewing the event, but Smilegate is massive. Koreans are very excited about this partnership. Smilegate is a gaming company that is very well known in Asia. It’s a multibillion-dollar company with hundreds of millions of users- that’s not a typo. Their game Crossfire has over 650 million users alone. They are signing an MOU with ICON in the next week and plan to create a social gaming ecosystem with ICON, on the blockchain. Examples he gave of their plans involved incentivizing creators of games on the platform, incentivizing p2p activity, and trading/selling in-game items on the blockchain. They’re hoping to have a tangible real-world result for people to use later this year.
- I know what you’re thinking, “Hey Klaus, that’s all well and good, but what about the Korean exchanges? Why didn’t they announce anything!?” Oh ye of little faith… We all know the regulatory environment in Korea is in flux right now. Things are changing and developing. Just give them a little time. Positive changes are happening and regulation will be a good thing overall for the development of the blockchain industry in Korea. That being said, several representatives from Korean exchanges were noted to be attending today’s conference. So take from that what you will…
- Many developers were present. People were there scouting out ICON for their projects. The announced projects aren’t the only ones in the pipeline on ICON.
- I’d guess at least 75% of the maybe 400ish attendees were Korean. Yes, it’s in Korea, so they’re going to receive a higher level of representation, but this should do something to alleviate the fear that “only the west likes ICON.”
All in all, ICON is looking strong and moving forward quickly. I’ve been in cryptocurrency for around five years now and at this point in their development ICON is the most put-together project I’ve seen yet. They’re handling issues well and scaling up their team quickly. I have very little negative to say about this project at this point, and I plan to be an ICON holder long into the future.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts about ICON’s First Annual Summit. I’m happy to field questions or concerns if you would like to contact me @PretzelMiser on Twitter or u/KlausStortebeker on Reddit.