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Klaytn Meets Hintchain

The fourth partner we’d like to introduce is Hintchain. We’ve been running our interview series for quite some time now, so we assume you are all aware of Klaytn’s initial service partners. However, if you feel like you still need some information, check out our very first post on initial service partners here.

Hintchain is a blockchain-based food data project for personalized food solution operated by Vital Hint. By analyzing individual tastes and eating habits, Hintchain provides personalized recipe recommendations with an aim to reconstruct the food industry to be more customer-centric. The project boasts its applicability as an underlying infrastructure technology for all food-related sectors including restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets, food platforms, etc.

We visited Hintchain headquarter located in Seocho-dong and sat down with Paul JiWoong Chung, the CEO of Hintchain.

Klaytn: Please tell us more about yourself for our readers.

Chung: I have previously worked as network engineer at Samsung Electronics and as data platform engineer at NCSoft. I also founded a fashion data platform called Club Venit, where I worked as CEO for four years before moving to Reebonz Korea as CTO. I founded Vital Hint four years ago to explore food big data technology, and I’ve been working with Hintchain project since earlier this year.

Klaytn: How did the collaboration with Klaytn first come about?

Chung: Our project is a business protocol that boasts its applicability to a variety of dApps including our very own, Haemuknamnyeo. Working with a variety of dApps means that we cover a wide range of technology. A platform that provides great technical support therefore is very much useful for us. We were looking for an advanced platform that can provide such support, and Klaytn was a good match. We were impressed with how service-oriented Klaytn was. Klaytn really takes end users and service providers seriously. It’s very difficult to come across platforms like Klaytn that bravely acts on its creative ideas and thoughts.

Klaytn: Can you tell us more about your protocol?

Chung: We’ve been in the food business for quite some time with Haemuknamnyeo. Just to give you a brief overview, Haemuknamnyeo provides food recommendation service based on individual tastes. We actually started off with another platform prior to Haemuknamnyeo called Hint back in 2014. Hint was a healthy food recommendation platform targeted for those interested in improving their health condition or chronic disease, such as diabetes. As we were working with Hint, we realized that the more user data is collected, the more meaningful recommendation we can provide. So we released Haemuknamnyeo. You can imagine Haemuknamnyeo as a more popularized version of Hint for a broader general audience. And then we ventured out to China in 2016. There are different versions of Haemuknamnyeo — there is a Chinese edition of Haemuknamnyeo as well as a Southeast Asian version called Foodiest.

Our business continued to expand, but the core of the business has always been data. Our intention is to provide data-driven food recommendation. Over the years, we’ve built about 460,000 food-related metadata. The number of users and subscribers across our different application services add up to about 3.3 million.

However, we still felt like the data is a bit lacking. You see, the size of food market is bigger than IT and vehicle markets combined together. And over the years, modern food value chain has been more complicated than it was in the past. The complex process from producer to food manufacturer, distribution, marketing, and consumers has resulted in manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers all disconnected from one another. Especially, it has become difficult to gather accurate information or needs of today’s sophisticated food consumers.

Food-related data, thus, is inevitably complex. It incorporates a broad spectrum of one’s data ranging from where he lives, what he eats, what he has been buying or even watching lately, how healthy or sick he is, what he has searched online, what kind of home meal replacements or meal kits he has recently bought, etc. All of these are collected to formulate what’s called food profile. This food profile enables manufacturers and suppliers to know about the customer in detail, such as whether he likes spicy tastes, how much he buys a specific product, how often he visits a certain restaurant, etc.

We believe that there is a unique personal food identity or food profile for every individual, just as everyone has different fingerprints. Based on these personalized taste profiles, we provide food recommendation protocol that can be applied to many different dApps. We were determined to collect all of this fragmented food-related data across various service platforms into a single advanced platform and utilize these collected individual consumer food data to fill the gaps of asymmetrical information that existed among manufacturers, suppliers, and customers.

With all the food profile recorded on blockchain, we are structuralizing individual food data of consumers and provide it to suppliers to match the needs of both sides. In other words, we are analyzing consumers’ individual food data, which will inversely be provided to suppliers, from traditional food value chain structure of supplier providing based on market prediction. Through this, suppliers can resolve the issue of excess and deficiency of supply and customers can also consume food they want when they want. In doing so, we are changing the one-way structure of supplier to customer to a both-way structure.

Klaytn: How exactly does Hintchain’s token economy work?

Chung: The basis of our token economy is data accumulation reward. When a user provides any food related behavior data, such as food review, dietary log, purchase data, or recipe, the user gets an incentive with what’s called Hint Power. The user can then convert Hint Power to the main token called Hint Token with which he or she can purchase any food related products at restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and also e-commerce sites. Put simply, the user receives tokens when he shares with us his data, and he can spend his tokens to buy food.

And based on these collected data, the manufacturers, providers, and restaurant owners can do targeted marketing. They buy tokens to do marketing, and receive them back when users upload data. On our token economy, we don’t actually even call it token; rather, we’d like to refer to it as marketing deposit for an easier understanding. Our purpose is not to teach consumers or manufacturers about blockchain. We don’t hope that everybody understands blockchain technology to be able to use our protocol — we want to be as user-friendly as possible, just as Klaytn does.

Klaytn: How do you envision the future of current food industry?

Chung: We believe that food is something very personal. How a single dish or even a single ingredient is perceived should be different for everybody. And in that sense, collecting data would be the key for food industry. The incorporation of AI will be the key to advance food personalization, as well as to enhance the entire food industry.

Klaytn: How about blockchain? What would it take for the blockchain industry to grow out?

Chung: Perhaps I can answer that question by thinking about it in the framework of Korean market. I’ve been traveling abroad a lot lately for our business, and it’s interesting to see how Korea receives the global spotlight in blockchain scene. I believe that Korea will produce meaningful real use cases that can be applied to daily lives with the fastest speed. And Klaytn’s roadmap really fascinates me. Klaytn is moving very fast at a large scale with a great spirit. I’ve also been communicating with Klaytn’s other initial service partners, such as Humanscape and Cosmochain, and we all agree that Klaytn’s technology and its service-oriented value really lighten the loads for service providers. Blockchain is not something that can be solved by one single entity. The more we collaborate, the faster and the better we can move forward.

Klaytn: And we assume that’s also why Hintchain has entered the blockchain scene quite fast compared to other food related companies.

Chung: Yes, exactly. It’s important to build your community in blockchain industry with those like-minded as you are. And it’s great to see Klaytn’s initial service partners altogether. Klaytn will form a greater and stronger ecosystem very soon. I very much look forward to it.

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