Peeling back the layers of weBloc

The blockchain project built on ICON that seeks to disrupt digital advertising

Welcome to this week’s edition of RHIZOME WIRE!

What exactly is weBloc up to? A lot.

Last night, I published an article doing a deep dive into weBloc — the blockchain project and ICON P-Rep.

Earlier in the week, Min Kim posted the following tweet:

The tweet itself was a bit vague, and the Korean-language link made it difficult to discern just exactly what this initiative was. The next day, The Iconist published their coverage of the news that Min had alluded to:

The decentralized advertising ecosystem (and main P-Rep) weBloc has officially launched JUBJUB, a blockchain-based service that rewards users for taking offline actions.

By downloading the mobile app for Android and iOS, JUBJUB users can earn WOK tokens by coming within 150 meters of a participating cafe. In the future, you’ll earn tokens for undertaking certain “missions,” such as visiting locations, ordering certain menu items or providing particular information.

Now, I had heard of the WOK token before and was vaguely aware that weBloc was playing an important role in the ICON ecosystem (while also being a P-Rep). However, the extent and importance of that role hadn’t been entirely evident to me. So I started poking around a bit more and came away beyond impressed with what they’re trying to accomplish.

Here is how weBloc explains their goal:

weBloc is a project based on blockchain trying to develop a new digital advertising ecosystem firmly believing the value digital advertising should be focused on its essence. In other words, the players in the market need to stop focusing on the competition for scaling-up based on advertising fees and develop a structure where users can voluntarily participate in the advertising ecosystem.

Under the existing ad model, those who execute and deliver ads (the agencies and ad markets) are paid based not on the quality of their work, but based on volume. They also take a large cut of the advertising budget as their fee, leaving the actual advertiser with fewer dollars spent on actual ads.

weBloc’s vision, meanwhile, is that those who are implementing ad campaigns should be incentivized based on the quality of the potential customers they are reaching. Accordingly, weBloc has designed a model that aims to do just that.

Both weBloc and their parent company “AD4th Insight” have an impressive list of partners and advisors, as well as a close connection with the ICON Foundation. Accordingly, their vision isn’t just some dream in the clouds, but a business model they can actually implement both through weBloc’s own applications but also by integrating into other ICON DApps and ultimately DApps on other blockchains.

I encourage you to read the entire piece!

News from ICONWorld

Another MetrICX update!

RHIZOME’s originally developed application, MetrICX, has received yet another update:

New features include:

  • Enable push notifications for new ICX Deposits - Users can now receive a notification whenever any ICX has been deposited into their wallet.

  • Enable push notifications for drops in P-Rep node productivity - Users can now receive notifications if their delegated P-Reps productivity falls below 98%, 95%, or 90%. (The preferred threshold can be chosen by the user.)

  • The "Unstaking timer" will be hidden unless the user has unstaked tokens and needs to view the countdown until the ICX becomes liquid again. 

  • Minor user interface tweaks.

Click here to download the app if you haven’t already!

Putting some hard facts behind iRep

RHIZOME team member Brian Li recently wrote an informative piece breaking down the impact of reducing iRep - a move that many in the community have requested. Most importantly, Brian debunks the notion that reducing iRep will meaningfully reduce inflation:

Lowering I-Rep from 50,000 to 40,000 reduces yearly inflation from 9.17% to 8.25% - that’s a decrease of 0.92%. Reducing ICX inflation by less than 1% is not going to have a significant impact on price. If P-Reps continue to use I-Rep reduction as a marketing tool (because it’s obviously not an effective mechanism in reducing inflation to change the price trend), why would it stop at 40,000? What’s next? 30,000? 20,000? 10,000? If this I-Rep race to the bottom continues without an exponential increase in ICX price, the network will fall apart.

The entire piece is well worth a read.

Roadmap Update!

As they have every month, ICON has updated their roadmap. Most notably was the section on BTP (Bancor transfer protocol), which is the bread and butter of ICON’s interoperability technology.

We are preparing the launch of our POC of BTP v0.5. This will be a private to public interchain POC that will likely launch in the coming weeks. We will share the details of this POC at the same time we release our design plans for BTP v1.0. Overall, our goal is to have commercialization of BTP technology in the 1H2020 (private to public interchain).

The soon-to-be launch of BTP (even v0.5) will be another significant milestone in the evolution of the ICON network, as will the release of the design plans for BTP v1.0.

More my-ID insights

ICONLOOP CEO JH Kim recently conducted an interview with Korean-language business news website BusinessWatch. The focus of the interview was my-ID and the concept of decentralized identification in general. As part of the interview, Kim provided a reasoning for DID that often goes overlooked:

But Kim said companies find it burdensome to possess ID data they don’t need — it’s a bigger risk for them if anything goes wrong. For example, when screening a loan application, a bank needs to know only whether you make more than KRW 50 million a year. It doesn’t need to know your exact yearly income. If it does possess your exact income information, however, it needs to take on the cost of safely storing that information. This is where DID can help.

Be sure to check out The Iconist’s coverage of the interview.

Speaking of my-ID…

Two new companies have joined the alliance, raising the total membership to 41. ICONists should find encouragement in the fact that my-ID continues to expand:

A path to victory

P-Rep candidate Parrot9 turned some heads in the community with their impassioned article, “A call to the ICON community: this is how we win.

After taking some time to remind the community that utility is what matters over the long-term, Parrot9 provides two ideas for possible DApps to be developed.

The first, called TwentyFour, is a photo sharing app with a twist:

TwentyFour is the first app we’ll build to solve the adoption problem. It turns photography into a competition, in a way that Snapchat and Instagram never could.

Photographers can upload a new photo every 24 hours, and people vote for their favourites. Photos place on the global and local charts, and photographers have the chance to earn rewards for them.

The second, called bubble, aims to disrupt the music industry:

bubble solves the music industry problem. Streaming made music more accessible, but artists earn less for it. To earn the US minimum wage of $1,472 per month, artists need 200,272 plays on Apple Music, or 336,842 plays on Spotify. On YouTube, they need 2,133,333 plays. And if they’re signed, the label takes a cut, too.

bubble is our solution. It removes the middleman and helps artists distribute their music directly to fans.

We look forward to seeing Parrot9 further flesh out these ideas and, hopefully, develop them into working DApps.

Blockchain News

Mo’ money

Coindesk recently published an article entitled “Singaporean Gov’t Blockchain Platform Facilitates $15.7 Million in Fundraising”:

In a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Dec. 2, Tribe Accelerator revealed that a total of $28 million had been raised to date to support start-ups from around the world attempting to solve real-world problems with blockchain technology. 

Somewhat notably, the ICON Foundation is listed as a major investor, along with big four accounting giant PwC, BMW Group Asia, and Intel.

Words of wisdom

If you’re looking for some good advice for cryptocurrency noobs (or even veterans), be sure to read this Twitter thread:

Crypto in the U.S. Senate?

In order to fill a recently created vacancy, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp appointed Kelly Loeffler to fill the seat. Why is this important to blockchain followers? Here’s the answer:

Loeffler has been the chief executive of Bakkt, the Intercontinental Exchange’s bitcoin-focused subsidiary, since the entity’s announcement in August 2018. Under her tenure, the company rolled out its physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts earlier this year. 

Bakkt has more recently announced its intention to develop a consumer-facing mobile application for bitcoin payments, expanded custody services, as well as options and cash-settled futures contracts to be rolled out in the coming weeks. 

While we shouldn’t anticipate any sweeping cryptocurrency legislation coming out of Loeffler’s office anytime soon, it’s nonetheless a good thing to have another voice in Congress who is familiar with cryptocurrency.

Japan getting involved

Decrypt is out with a story that indicates Japan may be exploring a digital currency:

Nations across the globe are working on digital currencies, with Japan the latest to dip its toe in the water. Although the Bank of Japan’s deputy governor stated earlier this year that it had no plans to launch a digital currency, the Bank’s Institute for Financial Research on Friday released a report exploring legal issues around the issuance of digital currency. 

The virus is spreading…

A reddit user snapped an encouraging photo in Zurich:

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Fun & Games

A new game celebrating blockchain is in development: