[UDC Report] Upbit conference considers future of blockchain
[UDC2019 Report]-1 According to Song Chi-hyeong from Dunamu, which operates cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, a lack of experience is the main reason that people are unsure about cryptocurrency. Citing Apple founder Steve Jobs — who once said “technology should be beautiful or invisible” — Song, Chairman at Dunamu, explained that Jobs was able to start the smartphone era with iPhones. The design and simple user experience is what attracted people to use smartphones, stressed Song at an Upbit Developer Conference held in Grand Hyatt Hotel in Incheon on Sept. 4. “Currently, cryptocurrency is merely an ugly eyesore with a lot of buttons, sensors and text displays,” said Song and explained that blockchain should also resemble the iPhone in terms of simplicity. Eliminate the obstacles that deter the user experience There are two obstacles that deter the natural user experiences using blockchain. The first is volatility. If the price of a coin increases, people’s expectations rise while reduced coin prices result in demands for compensation. The second is scalability. This is in fact the part where the largest level of effort is needed. Song said, “Bitcoin or Ethereum are rapidly improving the scalability through solutions like Lightning Network, Raiden and Plasma.” Scalability in bitcoin refers to limits on the amount of transactions the bitcoin network is able to process. Why blockchain? The first reason in favor of blockchain is the token economy. Steemit is a social media platform where people get paid for creating and curating content. When users put up a post, the writer receives compensation based on votes. Their desire to receive more compensation drives the content creators to produce content that is high in quality. But even Steemit suffered side effects. Those who possessed large tokens colluded to support certain content creators, which explains why blockchain has the answer for achieving a token economy — transparency. The second reason is the adjustment of complicated interests. People with different interests rely on contracts. This costs a lot of money, but blockchain could eliminate the cost through smart contracts that are based on blockchain, according to Song. The third reason is to do with non-fungible token projects. CrpytoKitties is a game that has shown the efficiency of non-fungible tokens. Now, non-fungible tokens are adopted in diverse ways in the gaming industry and are also being trialed in diverse industries including digital art and authentication certificate for luxury goods. Blockchain technology is still questionable. Discussing the technology itself can move far outside a lot of people’s understanding. The blockchain industry will start to officially develop and enter the competition phase once all the obstacles that deter the user experience are eliminated. Diverse projects shown in the Upbit conference are some of the players who jumped into the market. Song said, “Just like people refer to operators like Kakao, Naver and Facebook by the service names instead of by the technologies, I am certain we will one day face the era when people call blockchain services by the name of the services instead of the word blockchain,” said Song. ※UDC 2019 videos and presentations can be found at https://udc.upbit.com/program/detailed_program, also the full report can be found at https://static.upbit.com/reports/udc2019_report_en.pdf. This report was sponsored by Upbit, and the information in it is based on the Upbit Developer Conference held at Grand Hyatt Incheon on Sept. 4 and 5.