Airbloc Q1 2019 Community AMA Responses with CEO Roi Nam

Below is a translated version of the AMA questions and answers conducted in Korean communities in January 2019!

TLDR: Airbloc CEO Roi Nam answered questions related to adoption, technology development, business development, and the future of Airbloc.

Business Related Questions

What is the business model of Airbloc?

Airbloc’s business model is simple, we provide Airbloc’s data exchange services to enterprises at a flat fee or for a subscription fee. In the future, we plan to integrate both Airbloc and Airbridge’s services together into a unified data platform that allows for data exchange (1st, 2nd and 3rd Party data), customer data segmentation, and marketing attribution analytics based on big data.

Also, another point to note is that Airbloc is actually backed by an existing big data and marketing technology company that is already generating revenue and working with enterprises. Cash flow issues are common problems faced by blockchain start-ups who have yet to figure out a revenue generation model and as such many are laying off their employees to cut costs.

But for Airbloc, we do not face such cash flow issues, and we are actively hiring in our company.

If the market is efficient, the intrinsic value of ABL token should be related to the value of the data in the long run. In other words, if the value of the data the company requires is large and the price of the token is low, it means there’s a problem somewhere. I wonder whether do you think the the current ABL token price fully reflects the value of the data, and how it can be reflected in the future.

For the token price to fully reflect the value of the data, the utility of the token itself must ensure the purchase of the data, the quantitative supply of the data. This is the first step. This step will be the easiest way, because we can collect a lot of data and make the consumer buy it with ABL token.

I think this part will arrive sooner than expected. But the difficult thing is that even if it happens, we need to generate a high token demand in terms of token economy. This is the second part.

To be able to do this, the utility of the data must be proven. Now that this is difficult, we are in the phase of experimenting manually without blockchain.

The first step will be comparatively easy, and we are doing private testing with our multiple partners. But there’s still a long way toward the second step. However, we are confident that we will be able to prove much utility and benefits in the end as we’ve been deeply exploring and researching in this area. I’d also like to comment that we are currently experimenting with data related to ‘pet’.

For more information, visit the “Use-Cases” section on our website: https://airbloc.org/use/enterprises.html

Is Airbloc participating in the Korean government-led Mydata project? If it is difficult, you don’t have to answer.

We are doing business in line with national regulations. At National Assembly, an amendment bill on the Credit Information Protection Act and the Personal Information Protection Act was proposed this year. The former one was also proposed at the subcommittee.

Doing legal business is our ultimate goal. If you look at companies like Coinbase in the United States, they are strongly prepared and following the regulatory environment.

Likewise, we are deeply in contact with many domestic regulatory agencies, government-affiliated research institutes and various entities, and most of all, we are focusing on building the most legitimate data marketplace in keeping with the regulations.

For more information regarding Mydata, visit:
South Korean Government to Introduce MyData Industry to Financial Fields

In one of your youtube interviews, you were negative about 100% decentralization. Also, you were negative about projects not doing working on real world use cases after they conduct an ICO. What do you think is needed in this market regarding this?

2018 was the year of fundraising for many blockchain projects. 2019 is the year that blockchain technology finally becomes normal. What is needed right now are products or services that actually bear fruit with true enterprise or mass adoption.

Complete decentralization is an illusion and a myth.

Being a reverse ICO that is backed by an existing company working with large enterprises, we understand the needs and concerns of large enterprises towards data services and blockchain technology. To truly build a data service that will eventually be used, we need to temper blockchain technology with existing real world technologies. This has 2 benefits of accelerating development and adoption. For example, certain elements in Airbloc’s technology leverages’ Airbridge’s back-end data pipeline to accelerate data processing.

In terms of users, Airbloc is a very great service cause it brings back the user the ownership of the data. But do companies really need this? The fact that the revenue is shared to the user means the higher marketing cost. Enterprise’s priority is a reasonable spending and maximized marketing effect. The key point is how many enterprises that Airbloc can bring in to the ecosystem. Besides from saying ‘users are joining, so enterprises will also join’, how can you persuade them by providing reasonable benefit?

Being inside the data industry as a big data company in Korea, we see a convergence of interests in the data industry and in national regulations too. Regulators are enforcing strict data protection laws — returning ownership rights back to individuals. Enterprises are caught in the middle as they would require data for business intelligence and operations, yet data sources are murky and collected in a way that does not properly respect data ownership.

In this sense, we are closely monitoring national regulations, working with relevant agencies, and enterprises who will eventually use Airbloc’s technology.

We cannot reveal more details for now because of secrecy, but discussions are going well. More details will follow in the coming months.

When the real data exchange will happen?

Actually we are already experimenting buying and selling data internally. In other words, we are doing manual sales. But we haven’t applied it into Airbloc yet. Using the accumulated data from these experiments, we can reduce trial and error when it’s actually applied to future system. Currently we are focusing on ‘pet’ data, so we are experimenting with pet related interest and behavioral data.

How to evaluate the value of user’s data will vary considerably depending on one’s business model. I wonder what method Airbloc adopts.

Airbloc recognizes the difficulty of valuing data and is studying how to properly reflect the value of the data. One way is to apply the CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) model among the pricing models in the online advertising market. Once the CPA model is applied, advertisers will pay a portion of the revenue generated by the data provider if the revenue is generated from the data user provided. Therefore, users who agree to provide data can be rewarded whenever the data brings economic value.

Technology Related Questions

Storing data on blockchain isn’t fully safe. As Airbloc’s service becomes more public, there will be more attempts to illegally seize the personal data. Is there any security measure to protect sensitive data?

Thanks for the good question. In fact, we apply all commonly used security measures. For example, when we upload the personal data to the server, we use HTTPS (SSL) or encrypt your personal data, adopting variety of methods. We also rely on a number of techniques such as ISMS and network isolation.

We have 3 unique methods; the use of Zero-Knowledge Proof, the use of Nucypher’s re-encryption proxy network, and the concept of Identity Manager, to control the access to the data.

In other words, it’s possible to exchange data without sending actual data, encrypt it in a decentralized way, and distribute sensitive personal data in various storages.

For more information, refer to our technical whitepaper.

Will Airbloc shift its main platform from Ethereum to Klaytn?

We currently use multiple platforms such as ICON and Klaytn, while MVP (Minimum Viable Product) was implemented as Ethereum. But ICON, Klaytn, and NuCypher will also be used. In other words, I can say that Airbloc is a DApp mounted on various platforms.

For more information regarding how Airbloc will use Klaytn, visit:
Kakao’s Blockchain Project “Klaytn” Partners Airbloc

After the mainnet launch, will Airbloc be using both Klaytn and LINE?

Yes. In a big picture, we are a DApp of ICON, Klaytn, and Nucypher, and the pros and cons of each platform certainly exist. Working with the largest and the most advanced platform in South Korea has helped us and brought us to a bigger level, and we are working with Nucypher for decentralized encryption system.

There seems to be a lot of rumors like ‘ICON platform’s development has some technical issues ‘ and ‘security vulnerability was found’ recently. I wonder how you think about the risk of the platforms and the technical issues.

In terms of Airbloc, we already got smart contract auditing from Certik and Hachi Labs, so you don’t have to worry about our technical issues.

Smart Contract Audit Certification by CertiK
Can you share the current status of SDK development or the real use case?

Currently the Web SDK has been completed, and Mobile SDK has been in progress, undergoing private testing. We’ve already negotiated with some of the data providers some are in the process of it. We are aiming to publish at a time when lots of data providers with big data are all set.

We are also tailoring the system to be in line with national regulations. Fortunately as the data industry develops, various regulatory trends are emerging and we are in line with it.

Has Airbloc launched its own app?

No apps yet. However, SDK (Software Development Kit) has been developed and is currently under beta test and private testing. We have also secured multiple partners to use our SDK.

Several other projects changed their main platform or started supporting cross chain. Airbloc is building on Ethereum which has TPS issues. Do you have any plan to build the token on other platforms like EOS or support cross chain?

We don’t put the whole data on blockchain. Only some data that verifies the authenticity of the data, the user’s consent history and data transaction history will be on-chain. In this sense, the platform’s performance is not a key consideration for the service, and I believe the current platform is sufficient.

How does Airbloc differentiate from other services with big data analysis and digital marketing?

We don’t do actual digital marketing advertisement. Rather we provide a solution for a digital ad targeting like DMP. The biggest differentiating factor is the user consent, the transparency and immutability of the data. In our ecosystem, the user must consent to providing the data. Through our data tracker, users can always control and change the terms even after they agreed at first. The data that shows the user consented and data exchange history. Therefore, providers cannot deceive data consumers, as it will be transparent on the blockchain.

In addition, we have implemented a blockchain technique to monitor fraud. I am confident that these points will ensure reliability between buyers, sellers, and individual users, as well as maximizing the availability of data.

Future of Airbloc and Token Related Questions

Everyone knows that the current market is harsh, but apart from that the ABL token price is very unstable in terms of liquidity. I would like to hear your view on the liquidity of the token.

We value price and liquidity as much as the token’s utility and real business. I believe we should prepare and show what we’ve got before we get listed on big exchanges. Especially in this market condition, it is very important to work on use-cases and the product to increase chances of being listed on more exchanges.

How are you going to overcome the current market condition?

We are trying our best to do business as well as paying close attention to the market situation and how to break it down. First of all, we will make more business partnerships. For the development status, a detailed timeline is available on our website. Also, many community members suggested that we need more public relation effort. In this regard, we are considering various ways to promote more effective public relations.

My question is about ABL token price stabilization strategy. In the last AMA you said the intermediary side will buy token instead of big enterprises. Does the company have a binding clause to buy tokens higher than a certain price? I wonder when client companies will buy ABL tokens.

For the short to medium term, our strategy is to serve as intermediaries to help big enterprises purchase the tokens.

The reason is simple, as big enterprises are very wary of token holdings and token purchases.

Acting as intermediaries allow us to help reduce their concerns, and allow them to continue using Airbloc’s services. The only binding clause is that we would have to purchase the exact amount of tokens required for a specific data transaction. What price the purchase will be executed at is dependent on the volume and type of data required by the enterprise.

The enterprise should purchase ABL tokens for the personal data. If an enterprise buys tens of millions or billions of personal data, the token price might pump due to the low liquidity, and that company might not be able to buy token. I wonder if there is a device for transaction process or liquidity and price control measures for the companies to buy ABL token.

We also recognize these issues, but we are also considering data purchase through cash as it will be hard to only use token. There will be no token fee if the token purchase is proceeded through token, and we need a separate process to convert cash into token. This is the part we are focusing on, and we will announce it when we secure sufficient data supply and its utility.

Personal Questions

What is your life philosophy?

Build and grow. Building great products with real use-cases and in the process of building, help grow and nurture the people who are working together with me.

What made you start Airbloc?

As we have expertise in the data and digital marketing industry, we found out that there are 3 key market participants — data consumers, data providers, and users.

In terms of data consumers, every company wants to do more efficient targeting campaign through reaching out into their potential customers. But there has been no data marketplace where they can buy data of the potential customers. For data providers, many companies are collecting and managing big data, but there’s no way to legitimately monetize the data.

We aim to build a data marketplace where all the participants’ needs can be satisfied where data providers can legitimately sell data, consumers can purchase data and utilize it for marketing campaigns, business intelligence and many other purposes. At last, users can regain ownership of their data to control, track, and monetize it.

I have a small question as a person working at a startup. What kind of corporate culture does Airbloc have, and what kind of efforts are you making to actualize the culture? And I wonder how the corporate culture actually helps companies and individuals develop.

We are currently at 40 team members. Our company takes personal experiences seriously and provides an environment where we can share many personal experiences. Even before blockchain became hot in 2016, many of our team members were already interested in blockchain. When they talked about blockchain, most of people wasn’t aware of it.

As they led our ICO and blockchain business, our company provided them with more roles, authorities and responsibilities. Also, while participating in various conferences and overseas trips, we were able to actively share opinions about our service and token economy. Even now, all the team members are active in sharing and discussing, and our company provides them an ideal environment for product development.

Is is true that a developer left the company recently?

Yes, it is. We are always thankful to all the team members who have contributed to the company’s development regardless of whether they have left the company or not. Also, since there are currently 40 team members, the absence of one person does not negatively affect the progress of the project. The reason for leaving is not related to the status of the project. You don’t have to worry about this part. Rather, our team members are increasing and there are more than qualified personnels that have been hired to replace this developer.