BROOF and the road to mass adoption

Welcome to this week’s edition of RHIZOME Wire!

A big step for BROOF

This week, we were greeted to news that POSTECH (an acronym for Pohang University of Science and Technology) — one of South Korea’s top universities — would be issuing diplomas using BROOF, a blockchain-based certificate issuance service that was built by ICONLOOP but runs on the ICON public chain.

Here is RHIZOME team member William McKenzie, explaining why this is important:

ICONLOOP’s blockchain-based certificate issuance service, broof operates directly on the ICON public chain. Thus, any transactions that incur from services using BROOF will benefit the public chain and require ICX. If ICON can convince an educational institution to use broof, it is not far fetched to conclude that more and more will likely follow over due time.

(Brian Li of RHIZOME also wrote a piece on the importance of broof, which I recommend you read.)

So the two key takeaways are:

  • This has an immediate positive impact on ICX, as any certificates issued on BROOF will require transaction fees. More notably, since these certificates will be image-based, the transaction fee will be higher than typical transactions, due to the increase in data.

  • This has a more indirect positive impact, as it provides a proven use case for blockchain generally and ICON specifically.

To be candid, the actual amount of transactions this initiative will generate will be fairly modest. Presumably, certificates or degrees are issued primarily on an annual basis, when each class of students graduates. With only about 3,500 total students, each annual issuance will only lead to a few hundred transactions. From that standpoint, the “impact” on ICX will be minimal.

What’s much more important, however, is the fact that this is an opportunity to show that a) blockchain works, b) ICON works, and c) A and B are true enough to the extent that a major university is willing to utilize these services for one of their most critical document issuances.

Here is Dr. Ben Lee (also known as “Dr. ICON” on Twitter):

In Korea people are very skeptical about public blockchain and the benefits of it. It is a good way for people to get familiar with public blockchain.

At this point in time, many institutions, companies, and individuals see blockchain is an intriguing concept, but aren’t yet sold on its usefulness and reliability. They are all standing outside the party, intrigued by what’s happening inside, but each is looking at one another, wondering who will walk in the door first and confirm that the party is as fun as it looks.

In this context, POSTECH has taken on that role. They’re willing to believe in the technology and, to an extent, put their reputation on the line in the name of adoption. If they can use it successfully and inspire confidence among all the others still on the sideline, that’s the type of initial momentum we need to start a snowball effect of adoption.

While it’s the case that an initiative like this could run on practically any blockchain, the fact is that it’s not running on “any” blockchain — it’s running on ICON. Accordingly, ICON has captured a bit of “first mover” advantage with the ability to put their stamp on one of the first successful implementations of a public blockchain in Korea.

Furthermore, this is a particularly “frictionless” implementation of blockchain. When mass adoption truly happens, it will be unlikely that the end user every really knows whether or not the system they are using runs on blockchain or not. In other words, they won’t have to buy crypto, pay fees in crypto, or have any understanding of blockchain in order to use it. BROOF is an example of just this. While the recipient of a diploma will be able to view it on their phone or computer, it won’t be immediately obvious that they’re “using” blockchain when doing so.

News from ICON World

More momentum for ICONLOOP

From The ICONist:

Korea’s integrated financial regulation body has concluded its first business agreement with a financial firm using a blockchain-based contract platform.

ICONLOOP announced Tuesday that a recent anti-spam agreement concluded between the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) and Korea Internet and Security Agency on one side and 15 banks on the other used Chain SIgn, a blockchain-powered contract signing solution co-developed by ICONLOOP and contract management platform Cyberdigm.

Here is more on ChainSign:

“Chain Sign is a contract signing platform built by ICONLoop and Cyberdigm, a specialized contract management platform. It is used to reduce the costs of current contract processes, eliminate the lack of trust in notaries, and increase the security behind contract processing. Chain Sign will create legally binding contracts integrated with smart contract technology. It will be used primarily for frequently-repeated contracts such as rent or utility bills, which will be automated through smart contracts and stored on an immutable ledger.”

Overall, this recent agreement is just another instance of ICONLOOP expanding its partnership base, particularly in the financial industry. As always, while the eventual benefits to ICON itself remain unclear, every additional partnership ICONLOOP adds builds a better case for utilizing the ICON public chain.

Most recent RHIZOME Report

The RHIZOME Report — our team’s podcast — is out with a new episode. In this episode, Brian Li and William McKenzie discuss tokenizing gold on loopchain, ICX public chain usage, P-Rep meetings, and more. Be sure to give it a watch / listen!

Government engagement

In case you had a belief that ICON’s relationships with government leaders had waned (and I’m not sure why you’d believe that!), the Mayor of Seoul stopped by San Francisco and met with Min Kim a few days ago:

Min @minhokim
On behalf of SF Seoul Sister City Committee (, thank you Seoul Mayor @wonsoonpark and his @seoulmania staff for visiting SF after CES. It’s inspiring to have such forward-thinking, risk-embracing leader who relentlessly pushes innovation for the people.

Glad to see the relationship continue to develop!

Continued growth for ICONbet

This past week had some good news for ICONbet, currently the leading DApp on the ICON network as measured by transaction volume:

Additionally, the platform is looking to expand further by potentially adding a lottery to the platform (if the proposal is approved by TAP stakeholders). This would be in addition to their already-live roulette and dice games, as well as Blackjack, which is scheduled to launch sometime this month.

Finally, Corey Costa of the ICONVIET P-Rep team wrote an article touting the strengths of ICONbet.

Oracle imminent

During the most recent roadmap update, ICON indicated they “are inching closer towards a partnership with a leading oracle solution and we hope to provide more details on this very soon.”

Recently, in the ICON official Telegram channel, Scott Smiley elaborated on why this was important:

An oracle is an important piece of creating more usable / meaningful blockchain apps. Oracles bring real world data to smart contracts.

For example, let's say we bet on who will win the superbowl. I pick the Team A and you pick Team B. How will the blockchain contract know who actually wins? How will it connect to ESPN / other sports networks to know the results of the match? This is where oracles come into play. Oracles can report this data to the blockchain to settle the bet

It was also announced that there will be announcement within the next couple of weeks providing more details on the partnership.

Grants approved!

The first round of ICON Foundation grants has been approved:

Congratulations to those who will be receiving a grant, and we are all excited to see what you build!

Encouraging stats

Dr. Ben Lee provided a few encouraging stats regarding the status and growth of the ICON network:

Blockchain Industry News

Blockchain is the top skill in-demand in 2020, Report Linkedin (Crypto Purview)

Blockchain has become the number one in-demand skill. In the latest report by Linkedin, blockchain which companies weren’t even looking at a year ago, now in 2020 tops the list of most in-demand hard skills.

CME Bitcoin options doubles Bakkt’s volume on its first day (Micky)

The Chicago based CME Group traded 54 options on Bitcoin Futures on its first day today – but both were trounced by an upstart.

Rapper Akon kicks off construction for world's first "crypto city" (Decrypt)

The singer is of Senegalese descent and first revealed plans for Africa’s most futuristic metropolis over 18 months ago. At the time, he said the city will be built on 2,000 acres of land gifted to him by the President of Senegal, Macky Sall. It will trade exclusively in Akon’s digital cash currency, Akoin.

CoinGecko AMA

CoinGecko, one of the leading price and volume aggregation websites, recently held an “Ask Me Anything” on reddit. It’s clear that the platform is trying to neutralize a lot of the misreported information that has circulated regarding volume, price, and other metrics — be sure to give the AMA a read to learn more.

SEC issues IEO investor alert (Micky)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued an alert warning investors about the dangers of initial exchange offerings (IEOs).

The alert, published Tuesday by the regulator’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, called on investors to exercise caution before investing in an IEO through online trading platforms.

Analyst: 60% Chance Of Bitcoin ETF In 2020 (Forbes)

ETF Trends CEO Tom Lydon appeared on CNBC’s ETF Edge on Monday, and the potential for a Bitcoin ETF approval in 2020 was a key topic of conversation. The prospect of a Bitcoin ETF has been tracked closely by cryptocurrency enthusiasts for a number of years now, mainly due to the potential impact such a product could have on the Bitcoin price.