Kakao, South Korea’s internet giant which also operates the market’s largest messaging app, has confirmed the rumor that it will soon integrate blockchain technology into its operations.
At a press conference held on Tuesday, the Kakao Talk operator said that the company had set up a new division to carry out the blockchain platform development. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
A Foundational Platform
According to Yonhap, it will be a foundational platform that will allow developers to execute their own apps.
“An open ecosystem is important to us. We are beginning dialogues with partners that want to create a blockchain token economy in Asia,” said Joh Su-yong, one of the company’s CEOs.
The new blockchain initiative, referred to as Ground X, has the long-term objective of integrating future blockchain-related services together with the current internet services offered by the giant.
“Ground X, Kakao’s newly established subsidiary specializing in blockchain, will explore the technology with the goal of taking the technological leadership in Asia. To do so, Groud X will open its blockchain platform to the public, explore ways to leverage R&D and investment to ensure further growth and offer new blockchain-based services combines with Kakao’s exisiting services.”
Joh goes on to say, “At Kakao 3.0, we will continue to explore our growth potential by seamlessly integrating services among Kakao companies and actively building presence in the global market.”
This news report is a confirmation of rumors that surfaced early in the month concerning the company’s alleged blockchain integration and the establishment of a blockchain unit.
No Kakao Coin ICO
However, Joh denied the report that they would be creating its own native currency, Kakao Coin, and issuing it during an ICO that will be held outside of South Korea due to the current ban.
According to a report by ZDNet, the company does not have any plans whatsoever for an ICO, neither in South Korea nor overseas to bypass local regulations which made the issuance of ICO tokens in South Korea illegal last year in September.
The company also mentioned that it iss planning to offer a drawer service provision for digital assets to be collected by the Kakao Talk chat app. The objective is to “maximize synergy through an integration of Kakao services centering on Kakao Talk.”
Since the release of Kakao Talk in 2010, the app has been offering a variety of new services in addition to its messaging provision. These include financial transaction services as well as games, which have led to the massive popularity of the app within the country.
But now it is planning to venture beyond South Korean borders using its intellectual property rights in cartoons, music, videos and games.
“Armed with the quality digital content, the app will expand beyond its strategic market, Japan, into China and South East Asia,” said the company.
In addition to integrating blockchain technology, Kakao is also planning an integration of additional Internet of Things devices into its artificial intelligence speaker feature, Kakao Mini, which was launched in November last year.