September AMA with Roi Nam, CEO of Airbloc

Below is a translated version of the AMA held in Korean Kakao Airbloc Community on 17 September!

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

Can you give us a hint about business expansion plans
  1. Global expansion. I was at US last week and will be leaving to Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan today. In Taiwan, we will discuss with large overseas partners about the practical use of Airbloc Protocol.
  2. The second is blockchain technology. At present, our development team has been developing cutting edge side-chain technologies. We are receiving a lot of love call from several large corporations in Korea and will continue to develop this technology.
  3. Business expansion of our parent company. AB180, our parent company is getting lots of attention and interest from big companies as well, and I hope to share you our good news soon.
Will you announce additional partnerships in the future?

Yes, of course!

We already have many partnerships. However, we do not disclose them at an early stage because many of the partnerships are related to actual product launches, so we will only share them at the right time.

Several large partnerships are being pursued currently. Soon we will announce data partnerships, blockchain technology partnerships, global partnerships and investment-related partnerships.

What is the most difficult thing when you expand the business?

The most difficult thing to consider in terms of business expansion is the study of current data-related regulations.

It requires much effort for us to study the country’s data regulation as each jurisdiction’s regulation differs.

So while Airbloc is designed for global adoption, we need to ensure that our products can be legally permitted for usage.

In the end, it is essential to make a data marketplace that conforms to the regulations of each country.

Isn’t it necessary for enterprises to sell the data, not only buy it? Enterprises can also be a data provider.

That’s right!

Enterprises can also sell their data. Our technology is designed to collect data and to help monetize it.

Large companies may not want to make data into third party data, which means they are unwilling to sell their data at an open market. To address this issue, we are preparing a 2nd-party data exchange market.

The 2nd-party data exchange market allows enterprises to “exchange” data between themselves. For example, Credit Card Company A and Insurance Company B can exchange their users’ data between themselves to improve their existing user profiles without disclosing the data to an open market.

It is hard for companies to buy data with cryptocurrencies. What are some ways to overcome this?

Since companies can not buy data directly with cryptocurrency, we are going to have a legal entity as a middleman so that the entity can act as a proxy.

Do you have a plan to jump start and vitalize the early ecosystem?

I believe that the most important thing for the activation of the early ecosystem is to provide practical use cases for real companies.

Many ICO projects today do not have real use cases.

We are putting in real effort to create use-cases beyond just “test-net launch” and “main-net launch” developments.

In particular, we have studied the privacy policies of hundreds of websites and applications to verify actual data demand, and through this we have researched and understood what kinds of data is being sold to whom, and how Airbloc can fit into this process.

In addition, many meetings have been held recently in order to verify the data demand of “property insurance” and “credit card” companies.

In addition, we are currently investigating the latest trend in South Korea’s latest data regulation, “MyData” — a government led trial platform that allows individuals to manage and provide personal information that has been collected from institutions and companies including financial firms, telecommunication operators and hospitals, and allow third party companies to access select data.

I think these efforts can be understood as efforts by our team that we are indeed working on actual use cases.

When would Airbloc be used in our daily life?

Yes! I really think that will come true soon.

I’m currently having meetings with “property insurance” and “credit card “ companies regarding data purchase and they’re willing to use our solutions.

What do you think of the current ABL token price?

We always believe that the intrinsic value of the Airbloc project must be reflected in prices eventually.

I’m always contemplating over how we can connect the intrinsic value of a token with the market price. There are 3 considerations:

  1. Token economy. A well-designed token economy results in data purchases through ABL tokens and increases the value of ABL tokens.
  2. To be a known and trusted brand globally and in Korea. In order to be known and trusted, it is important to actually develop products, and to partner with global companies and help integrate blockchain processes into their current data systems.
  3. Product development. Our development team has been working hard behind the scenes and is developing the product weekly, and soon there will be an open source on Github once it is sufficiently tested and stabilised. You can then track how we are proceeding with each commit.

Our blockchain and data technology are now attracting many global companies. I recently held several meetings with large and renowned IT companies in Korea, and I hope to be able to share them with you in the near future.

What is the utility of holding ABL tokens in the long term?

Our token economy is designed for users, applications and enterprises. Users and applications receive ABL tokens as rewards when they agree to monetize their data. Enterprises would need to use ABL Tokens to purchase data.

There will be other means to participate in the Airbloc ecosystem in the future.

A concept similar to staking will be introduced to increase and ensure the reliability of the source of the data. If ABL tokens are staked for a particular data source, one will receive a share of revenue in the future when the particular data set is sold.

Finally, we are constantly pushing the boundaries to explore other business opportunities related to data and blockchain. In the process, we will develop actual use-cases of blockchain through the partnerships with companies that need Airbloc.

We are constantly expanding the supply-side and demand-side of data in Airbloc. The progress of this real business partnerships and use-cases will certainly strengthen Airbloc’s ecosystem and ABL tokens’ utility too.

Are there any specific strategies to expand the number of holders internationally?

We are a B2B project. Therefore, once our SDK is embedded into some companies, data will begin to enter our ecosystem and compensation in terms of ABL Token rewards will be provided to individuals. The number of ABL holders can grow exponentially.

We are also exploring ways to integrate our web or app SDKs into crypto and blockchain related applications or websites to help them monetize the data generated by their underlying users and large traffic.

In addition to OKex, we are in active negotiations with exchanges to improve the trading experience for ABL Token holders.

Is there a reason why most of the advisors are Korean?

Our project is a Korean project, but it’s a global project because more than 70% of our whitelists are from abroad, and most of our institutional investors are foreign institutions.

Among the Korean advisors, David Kim, the CEO of BlueBlock, is Hong Kong based, and Timothy Yang is New York based. Also, Sean Lee, head of GS SHOP’s Corporate Venture Capital covers the entire Southeast Asian country, and we have been receiving a lot of help from GS SHOP when we expand abroad. GS Shop is the largest home shopping platform in Korea and is part of one of Korea’s largest conglomerate GS Group.

We are also benefiting from our close communication with other stakeholders from overseas institutional investors that have invested in us. For many, it was their first or second-investment into a Korean project.

How is the progress of integration between Airbridge / Airbloc going so far?

Yes! First, I think it is important to explain more about Airbridge and Airbloc Protocol. Both technologies at its core uses the same back-end data pipeline.

Airbloc and Airbridge’s SDK are integrated, and an alpha version of the integrated SDK is being tested with some companies.

Will the pilot version of Airbloc be released within this month?

The alpha version is already live and is in private alpha testing by some companies.

But what we judge is that it will take a little more time to release the actual product to the public because it requires sufficient testing and tweaking before releasing it.

Do you think buying power of enterprises that are joining Airbloc’s ecosystem is the most essential part for ABL token price to go up?

First of all, there will be a lot of partnerships, rigorous industry consultations, testings and technology improvements. I am confident that many of our partnerships will be announced as much as our team is working hard.

Afterwards, we will have to study if this data demand can be reflected in the price increase and optimize our algorithms and technologies accordingly. Be that as it may, our direction is to create a token economy where the value of ABL token increase as data buyers purchase data.

We have verified that there are actual data demands from these enterprises, and will soon be able to supply data to these companies.

How do you measure the price of your data?

There are 2 major ways.

First, we will sell the data at a fixed price.

Second, we will rely on an algorithm and apply a pricing model to match prices with real world value.

However, rather than fixing the pricing model in the beginning, we want to negotiate with the consumer first and create a data sales-purchase cycle and then working out the pricing model for the data consumer.

I know that you were focusing on pet and marriage related data in the beginning, but is finance going to be considered as well?

Yes. I am looking for more use-cases in the financial side. Actually the finance industry wants to have data that combines pet ownership data and marriages.

Pets, marriages, health, vehicles, travel, etc. are the kind of data that always attracts attention from insurance and financial companies. What I found is that there are many financial institutions that want this data but do not actually have it.

On the other hand, financial companies also want to monetize their data internally or exchange data with their affiliates. In this regard, we will make Airbloc Protocol applicable as a solution to 2nd party and 3rd party data exchanges

How much is personal data currently worth in the data industry? If the value of personal data is different, what criteria will be used to benchmark prices on Airbloc?

There are multiple methods, but the easiest way to illustrate is through an example.

For example, existing data buyers today are buying names, genders, birth dates, and phone numbers. However, if they know whether the person has dogs, whether they are married, what type of car model they have, then the data buyers are willing to buy two times more than to this price because the data set is refined and has much more breadth and depth.

Just selling data isn’t enough. What we want to do in the future is to expand ABL tokens as a means of reimbursement if the data sales leads to actual product purchases. These cases include reimbursements when you buy a car or reimbursements when you buy a cellphone.