Kakao Corp, the major internet conglomerate and service provider for popular South Korean messaging app KakaoTalk, has officially introduced a new business plan, Kakao 3.0, that includes plans for opening a Blockchain platform aimed at the wider Asian markets, local news outlet Yonhap News reported yesterday, March 27.
Earlier this month, Kakao had already tentatively announced the creation of an as-of-then unnamed Blockchain subsidiary, which Yonhap News reports is now called Ground X, and hinted at an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) launch.
Cointelegraph contributor Joseph Young tweeted that the Blockchain platform will launch in 2018:
Kakao, South Korea's largest internet conglomerate that operates KakaoTalk, KakaoPay, KakaoStory, KakaoTaxi, and more, finally confirmed that it is working on a cryptocurrency / blockchain platform.— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) March 27, 2018
Blockchain platform of Kakao will launch within 2018.https://t.co/02p3zGNvy2
The impetus for the turn to Blockchain comes from the fast pace of the growing technology sector, according to co-CEO of Kakao Yeo Min-soo:
"Bearing in mind that the global IT paradigm is changing at a breakneck speed these days, we will work tirelessly to introduce services that meet the needs of our users by pioneering new technologies in the age of Internet and mobility, as we have always been a trailblazer in this market."
Joh Su-yong, another co-CEO of Kakao, said during the Kakao 3.0 announcement in Seoul that "armed with the quality digital content, Kakao will expand beyond its strategic market, Japan, into China and Southeast Asia," specifically in the areas of music, games, and videos.
Ground X will also look beyond South Korea’s borders, “explor[ing] the technology with the goal of taking the technological leadership in Asia.” The announcement continues:
"Ground X will open its blockchain platform to the public, explore ways to leverage R&D and investment to ensure further growth, and offer new blockchain-based services combined with Kakao's existing services.”
Another popular messaging app, Telegram, has also expanded into the cryptocurrency sector, reporting that their ICO presale raised $850 mln in their filing of security exemption notice with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which allowed US accredited investors to participate.