2018-02-01 21:47
[INTERVIEW] CEO ponders blockchain dilemma
Glosfer founder and CEO Kim Tae-won / Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

Glosfer founder refutes segregating bitcoin, blockchain

By Kang Seung-woo

Here is a potential murderer. But he has business potential and will be able to earn a lot of money for us in the future. What should we do? Should we imprison him to prevent him from going on a killing spree or should we let him make a fortune for us at the expense of several lives?

This is an analogy that Glosfer founder and CEO Kim Tae-won came up with regarding blockchain, the base technology for digital currencies such as bitcoin. He regards blockchain as a future growth engine but worries about its negative short-term impact, which is something like gambling.

“If I am in charge, I would put the potential murderer in jail. We have no choice but to do so at a time when transactions of cryptocurrencies go like gambling here. Ethics should come first before business,” said Kim who established the blockchain company in 2015.

“But the thing is we cannot promote blockchain while suppressing digital tokens just as some politicians or bureaucrats say. Such separation is possible theoretically. But in reality, it makes no sense.”

Many experts agree. Some say such an idea of dividing virtual money and blockchain is like encouraging the engine business while banning vehicular navigation as a whole.

For Kim, blockchain is sure to be a future norm. That’s why it is agonizing for him to “imprison the potential murderer who is also a future cash cow.”

“Blockchain is now in its fledgling stages. The technology that is based on decentralized and immutable platforms will take center stage soon. I am 100 percent certain of that,” the footballer-turned-entrepreneur said.

“The development of blockchain technology will speed up. My job is to make people understand how blockchain can revolutionize our daily lives. I want to encourage people to know about the current blockchain technology although it is in a nascent stage.”

Kim’s company conducted its initial coin offering last year to attract almost 15 billion won ($1.4 million). On the back of that, the Seoul-based outfit created a genesis block for its own cryptocurrency called Hycon early this year.

In fact, the first block was made at 3:15 a.m. on Jan. 4 to commemorate the creation of the bitcoin blockchain on Jan. 3, 2009, at 6:15 p.m. Kim picked the time as Greenwich Mean Time is nine hours behind Seoul.

“Ethereum enabled developers to create its own digital tokens without having to create their own blockchain based on smart contracts. But it is very difficult to use and there is no killer application yet. Plus, they cannot escape the Ethereum blockchain,” Kim said.

“By comparison, we help developers make their own blockchains in an easy way. To secure computing power in the early stage, they can depend on cloud services. Hence, we call our platform a third-generation blockchain. We will see killer applications very soon.”

Glosfer and its affiliates employ around 100 people. Among them, 20 percent are foreigners who came to Korea from such countries as the United Kingdom and France.