The dreamlike vision of an all-automated economy has excited the imagination of humankind ever since the time of the first industrial revolution. The invention and mainstream adoption of steam engines made a decisive turn in the forces of production and eventually was able to recoup the thousands of poverty, accelerate economic growth and attain the standard of living unprecedented in human history – which, in a course of a few centuries, would transform into the prosperous civilization we inhabit nowadays. In fact, as a heritage from these days of early economic development, automation does not cease to soak into all spheres of human life at an ever-ramping rate: the technologies of AI, Machine Learning, IoT and Smart technologies deliver a promise of reality revolutionizing the way of market interaction, value-creation and user communication with the help of the almighty and yet not-fully-explored Web3. And though, accelerated by the wave of the pandemic, the first active attempts of integrating advanced digital innovations industry-wise were already made, it remains a big-time until the questions of cost-efficiency, data safety and holistic stability of performance will be fully resolved, allowing humanity to jump headlong into the paradigm of Industry 4.0.
An instrumental part in this transformation is assigned to DeFi: by giving birth to a relatively new niche of decentralized financial instruments, it has already established itself as a mighty change-marker guided by the vision of a decentralized future proposed by blockchain technology. As a fully independent peer-review protocol, its impact already spilt far beyond the conventional sphere of finance from which it takes its origin and proved its practical application in literally any industry globally: from government and healthcare to communication and entertainment. In the world where decentralization makes its active conquest, Protocon Network acts as a primary messenger of the forthcoming Protocol Economy: by developing Mitum, a distinct blockchain proposition based on ISAAC+ Consensus Protocol and PBFT (Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) algorithm, it brings forth a secure and user-friendly solution capable of handling the large-scale industrial data needs, thus prophesizing the era in which social and economic dimensions of life are fully backed up by decentralized and participatory protocol. As an entry point, the game industry and Metaverse were chosen as an experimental playground for unfolding the capabilities of the platform: protecting data, bridging the interoperability gap and eventually, converging all gaming activity into a unified digital economic ecosystem is a starting point in realizing the vision of Protocon. Recently, the platform announced the disruptive “Contract Model” - the alternative to Ethereum smart contracts aiming to eliminate the security flaws that served as a root cause for the multitude of hacker attacks in the past. This enables the leveraging of the advanced Web3 functionality for the purpose of creating token, NFT and general data models which would serve as an indispensable part of the forthcoming Protocol Economy Network. Thus, Protocon assumes an active role in popularizing the vision of a decentralized ecosystem that lays at the roots of the new epoch in the history of humankind.
What inspired you to come up with the idea of reinventing the economy? And what are the particular ways in which Protocon Network can realise that?
‘Reinventing the economy’ is our long-term vision and we do not think that such an idea is either special or unique. It is just the trend of the times and it is naturally something that is acceptable as prescribed in form of ‘pre-determined future’. And it is something that somebody would do even if it is not done by us. In fact, Bitcoin and Ethereum were adopted beforehand, and those who invented digital technologies were already preparing for this era. As we have transitioned into digital technologies, many things have already been considerably automated based on protocon. All we have done is to embrace the determined future by generalization and popularization more safely and faster. As blockchain is bound to be used in safeguarding the value of data (e.g. cryptocurrency) and to secure its exclusiveness and uniqueness of contents (e.g. NFT), we have vowed to provide a blockchain protocol that can be extensively used in industrial applications and daily life in an attempt to prepare and reconstruct for this generation. In that regard, we have come up with the definition of a Protocol Economy Network, or ‘Protocon’ in short.
What makes Protocon Network a long-term solution worth stirring the investors’ interest?
For now, I can suggest multiple technological innovations as described in Answer 6 below. In the meantime, I intend to express such a solution directly rather than answering it concretely. In fact, I have met several investors, and it was not easy to convince them of something that is invisible. It is significantly challenging to explain differences between an entrenched array of competitors already operating in the market simply with words. So, I would like to show it right away while opening the mainnet.
Who are the team members responsible for the success of Protocon Network to date? Could you elaborate a bit more on their professional backgrounds, the way they contribute to the project?
The biggest contributor is Mr. Bae Min-hyo, who has led the development of the technology-based ‘Mitum’ blockchain core. In particular, Mr. Bae majored in both political science and economics during his undergraduate days. He taught himself software development at college, covered all major data processing areas including the blog system, Linux programming, game engine development, decryption, cloud system development, natural language, big data processing, and AI to mention a few, and embarked on blockchain development in earnest in 2017. As a consequence, he was able to familiarize himself with blockchain easily. Since blockchain does not simply operate on computing or engineering knowledge, his pursuit of a double major, political science and economics in his youth seems to pay off when he confronted blockchain development. He has applied himself to development areas with an astute mindset. He is clearly determined to continue research on his product until he creates a masterpiece. In particular, he is working ever more rigorously when writing the Mitum codes. His Github codes work reveals how he has considered the numerous possibilities by pouring his heart into developing the code and how hard he has tried to write neat and elegant ones.
As blockchain is to ensure data integrity and safeguard the assets, such a mindset influences the quality of the entire network. Preparation obviously takes more time. If you assess the situation in a short-sighted manner, one may feel frustrated as a product cannot be released promptly. However, as blockchain is irreversible once started, such meticulousness will benefit the long-term growth of the entire network.
Yet, he is not inclined to spend much time revealing himself to the outside world. He is the type of person who likes to communicate with the outside world through codes. When we become more well-known, many crypto enthusiasts will wonder who has created this masterpiece and would want to hear from him in person what his ideas were, but I am afraid there will not be many such opportunities because he would rather spend as much time as possible on development. However, serious-minded developers might feel a closer sense of affinity with his attempts to ‘communicate with the world in codes’.
How can industry enthusiasts weakly familiar with the blockchain start implementing your solution? What to start with?
One of the biggest concerns that faced the Protocon team is that blockchain is just too difficult to use for non-experts. In particular, improved UX/UI is urgently called for, but as this issue is linked with the decentralized blockchain architecture and its base technology, UX/UI cannot be improved simply by restructuring the external services. So, as it may be extremely challenging to amend or improve certain issues or inconveniences, we nevertheless, cannot afford to give up.
One of the contributions that we can provide as a non expert. to the blockchain industry regarding UX/UI is that we have to resolve the fee issue. A process called FeeFi is a fee clearinghouse within the mainnet and allows users 1) to pay blockchain fees by dApp tokens that they possess; 2) at an affordable fee; and 3) as compared with the legal currency, fees are payable through certain value amounts. In this way, the fee volatility issue has been resolved. For instance, supposing that the market value of a token called ASSA operating on Protocon is $1 and the fee is 0.02 ASSA, and when the fee is increased to 0.01 ASSA when the token price rises to $2. (For your information, ASSA is one of the dApp services that will be deployed when the Protocon mainnet goes on line.)
Then, users do not have to purchase mainnet tokens to transfer their tokens and a dApp service provider can provide predictable services. When FeeFi goes commercial, people can use cryptocurrencies as easily as they use Starbucks points. Therefore, we encourage anyone interested in building a truly easy-to-use dApp solution or service to consider the Protocon mainnet.
In addition, our long-term goal is to build a decentralized blockchain that is user-friendly as BaaS(Blockchain as a Service). As the contract model allows users to access multiple blockchain features as components and use them in combinations rather than building the entire source from ground up, blockchain can be used in the same manner as web service by combining multiple service options in Amazon Web Services (AWS). This will take some additional time, but it is certainly possible to achieve given our technical architecture.
Please, tell our readers more about Mitum, your blockchain protocol. What makes it so distinct?
Mitum has achieved technological innovations in several aspects. Such innovations were achieved in six different aspects including: 1) the contract model; 2) the advanced blockchain data processing and retrieval method, Fact Hash that drastically improves the security and speed of connections between heterogeneous networks; 3) the Protocon NFT model developed on the basis of the contract model; 4) the ISAAC+ Consensus Algorithm that allows for configuration of networks with massive nodes based on PBFT; 5) Mitum Multisign that is embedded in the token model by default to facilitate asset management by a considerable margin, and 6) FeeFi that has resolved the fee issue. As their details are too extensive to explain here, they will be described in detail in the yellow paper to be released. These features are intended to ensure decentralization and significantly increase the processing rate of blockchain at the same time, remarkably improving security, safety, and convenience in data processing and storing processes. In a nutshell, Mitum is a base technology for next-generation blockchain that addresses a variety of challenges facing the blockchain industry.
Being aware of your recent “Contract Model” announcement, how will this solution revolutionize the industry of decentralized solutions?
What makes Bitcoin revolutionary is its decentralization in which it delivers trust and security at a level that cannot be reached by a centralized architecture. In conjunction with the growth of the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry inspired by the aforementioned, we are in the historical process in which the unique and unprecedented architecture of decentralization is growing in significant strides. Yet, the process is never operational without glitches. Among several risks or challenges facing decentralized networks, one thing that cannot be ignored is that their security can be breached and their trust compromised. What is really ironic here is that the Ethereum-style ‘smart contract’, a methodology intended to apply the trust and security of a decentralized architecture to a broader range of domains, plays the most significant role in affecting the trust and security of blockchain and keeping blockchain from penetrating extensively, which has already been confirmed in several incidents where damages reached tens of million dollars at the least to hundreds of million dollars. If such an incident or hacking is repeated in a decentralized architecture, adoption or penetration of such a decentralized architecture should be delayed.
The contract model is a smart contract development methodology employing a new architecture to address those issues. Our problem statement is that a decentralized architecture needs to be maintained to the maximum extent and trust and security ensured as much as possible. We believe that we should suggest a highly probable and ‘effective alternative’ even though it may not necessarily be the only singular solution. If such a point is proven in the market, it will probably further accelerate the penetration of blockchain, which will result in an accelerated transition to Web 3, faster adoption of DAO, and expansion of the global economic community based on protocols.
Moreover, why has gaming and Metaverse been chosen as a starting point of your ecosystem expansion? How will Protocon Network help to redefine it?
There are several reasons, but if I name only three, the first reason is that as I mentioned above, all criteria of our society are going digital, and games and metaverse show us an example of a fully digitized society and its features are pioneering. Therefore, it seems only logical to explore the two domains first.
The second is that I have seen multiple barriers blocking the penetration of blockchain while working in the blockchain industry, and one of those barriers is a regulatory one. And, by a regulatory barrier, I do not just refer to the direct crypto regulations enforced by the governments and regulatory authorities worldwide. As existing state entities and government organizations in digitally advanced countries perform businesses operations on computers linked with communications networks, they seem to have significantly advanced in terms of digital transition, but their practical operations are still based on analog civilization, or to put it more specifically, data production, distribution, and processing practices originated from ‘paper or hardcopy-based civilization.’ And the analog-based data production, distribution, and processing practices deeply intertwined with the operating mechanisms of government organizations and bureaucratic systems themselves operate as internalized barriers, which is restricting the organizations and systems from ‘being digital.’
For instance, if blockchain is to be deployed, analog legacy data must be digitized through various trials and errors which are deemed to be inevitable before full digitization is achieved. After convincing anti-blockchain forces, securing the necessary budget, engaging contractors, and securing technological resources, the first problem that must be addressed is digitizing analog data printed on paper. Actually, blockchain deployment is the next problem. One common phenomenon that happens to any government or state entity around the world is that when they launch a certain project related to blockchain, such a project almost always ends up with a prototype, testbed or pilot project. But for game and metaverse, we do not have to worry about it. Since all available data is digital, all we have to do is to find out how to apply blockchain well, how to make it more efficient, and how to render it more trustworthy.
The third is of experiencing the application of blockchain to game and metaverse, methodology and deliverables will be used almost as in migrating government systems, economic systems, and social systems to digital platforms worldwide. In other words, game and metaverse are precedent results in a genuine digital era per se, providing a venue where digitalization encompassing politics/society/economy is previewed such as a model house. Therefore, it is seemingly quite a natural conclusion that we try building a protocol economy first here.
What do you consider as the most significant achievements of Protocon Network up to date?
The most significant achievement is that we have secured well and developed a blockchain technology that can empower a protocol-based economic system. In not a few instances, the market focuses on prominent outcomes such as DeFi or NFT, neglecting or overlooking technical infrastructure implementation. However, modems cannot support the growth of the video streaming industry represented by YouTube and 3D metaverse environments cannot run on 386 computers. Technologies can be an enabler of next-generation services or certain sociocultural phenomena. Without technologies, even the most obvious future will end up for naught. In other words, such foundation technologies can bring socioeconomic and cultural activities of the next level to reality. In that regard, I believe that we have secured at least the base technologies that can enable the implementation of economic and social systems based on purely digital domains of the next phase.
What is the roadmap ahead of Protocon Network?
The most important task ahead is to successfully open the mainnet.
It is necessary to publicize Protocon to the world and demonstrate what we can do with it and why we have chosen to develop a new technology when we could use other open sources. We are planning to organize events that will attract the attention of the blockchain industry when we open the mainnet. As a consequence, I believe something significant will take place.