Klaytn, a blockchain technology powerhouse, is bringing the metaverse closer to reality by empowering digital creators. Backed by South Korean internet giant Kakao, Klaytn has built a vast ecosystem of decentralized applications, which includes digital wallets, enterprise applications, and leading games such as Ni No Kuni Cross Roads, MIR 4, and A3: Still Alive. In under 3 years since its inception, Klaytn has played a pivotal role in accelerating the adoption of blockchain technology in South Korea.
In late 2021, the company began its global expansion efforts by establishing the Klaytn Foundation in Singapore under the leadership of David Shin – a veteran in investment banking and digital exchanges. In conversation with Arteculate Asia, David shares the remarkable story of how Klaytn is helping developers bring the metaverse to life with blockchain technology as one of the leading players in the region.
Klaytn empowers the creator economy with blockchain technology
Since its inception, Klaytn has come a long way and built a thriving ecosystem. Numerous apps utilize the Klaytn blockchain in banking, governance, infrastructure, digital payments, and more. Having recognized the changing landscape, the company is expanding its efforts to focus on gaming and entertainment. Thus far, over 26 games have been launched in the Klaytn ecosystem. One of its most significant successes is MIR 4, which has attracted over 1.3 million players from 170 countries within the first 3 months of its release. Another notable story is Ni No Kuni Cross Roads, a mobile spin-off of the popular series of video games, which has amassed 4 million downloads since its launch.
Of course, this is only a glimpse of the broader Klaytn ecosystem. Blockchain technology allows game developers to offer players the ability to transfer in-game items and achievements through the metaverse. Yet, realizing this vision hasn’t been without challenges, even for the most prominent publishers. When inquired about how gamers can embrace blockchain technology, David shared, “A large part of the success of games depends on the quality of the games themselves, which is the deciding factor for players. Therefore, blockchain companies must work closely with gaming studios and publishers to build high-quality games with a sound strategy and roadmap.”
How Klaytn supports creators in building rich experiences
Towards its vision of empowering creators, Klaytn has significantly invested in more robust support for developers. Notably, its roadmap to the metaverse includes enhancing support for Ethereum equivalence – the emerging standard of many blockchain ecosystems – allowing developers to build within the its ecosystem seamlessly. On the technological front, the company has focused on differentiating itself via its high-performing mainnet. With a high throughput (4,000 transactions per second) and instant finality, the Klaytn blockchain allows creators to build and scale projects easily without the need for long transaction wait times or the fear of transactions reversing.
Alongside community events with management and financial support for developers of all sizes, David states that the Klaytn team is also building as many open-source toolkits as possible to benefit its developer community. Elaborating further, he shares that “Klaytn has made the onboarding process as easy as possible with well-written documentation available online and technical support from in-house developers.” This has been a critical success factor for the team, evident by the many developers building on Klaytn that has resulted in the company recruiting additional manpower to support its growth. “We’re building not just for today, but we’re building for tomorrow, with the view that we will grow.”
Kakao’s blockchain ambitions & the origins of Klatyn
Klaytn was the result of a promising effort to explore the potential of blockchain technology by Kakao. The South Korean tech giant is famously known for its super-app Kakao Talk. From its humble beginnings as a messaging app, it has evolved considerably with various services ranging from ride-hailing to gaming to banking. Today, 90% of South Koreans use Kakao’s many services daily.
In 2017, Kakao introduced GroundX – a platform for developing blockchain technology within the group. To start off, the company began by optimizing a fork of the Ethereum chain, giving rise to Klaytn. GroundX found widespread success on numerous applications with the Klaytn blockchain, including its own applications such as the KLIP wallet and its NFT marketplace KLIP Drops.
Over time, as the Klaytn ecosystem grew, the Klaytn Foundation was set up in 2021 to accelerate global adoption and ecosystem maturity on Klaytn as it began focusing on the creator economy. Today, it’s the foundation for a collaborative Web3 ground that’s enhancing the verticals of gaming, entertainment, and NFT creators in South Korea and beyond.
Klaytn’s vision for The Future of the Metaverse
“COVID-19 has forced the Web2 universe to rethink its online and offline strategies,” states David. Companies are likely to increasingly invest in and prioritize online experiences for their customers, creating new interaction points through virtual persistent environments. Accordingly, he believes that blockchain technology will play a vital role in these early forms of the metaverse by enabling the portability of unique assets and widgets within these environments, facilitating new forms of economic activity. With this in mind, Klaytn is tuning its platform to be the blockchain of choice for entertainment companies’ high-quality gaming metaverses and digital use cases.
From a regulatory standpoint, David foresees NFTs as the future leading asset class that enables metaverses and virtual economies. While authorities are currently focused on regulating native crypto assets instead of NFTs, David believes that future regulatory focus should center less around regulating NFTs but more around regulating the environments supporting NFT transactions. “Regulating the metaverse is much more important than regulating NFTs itself,” he expresses.
Towards realizing its vision, David shares that one of its biggest challenges has been finding the right balance between creating utility on chain and managing investor expectations. “In most blockchain applications, users usually speculate on the underlying asset – which is $KLAY in our case. Therefore, it comes down to striking a balance with our investors and KLAY holders and making the right decisions in creating harmony and utility across the builders,” David highlights. As a result, the team is focused on uplifting projects that create intrinsic functional value to the Klaytn ecosystem to reduce short-term speculation.
The road ahead for Klaytn is exciting, filled with a sound strategy and strong partnerships with some of the biggest gaming companies in the world. Undoubtedly, the company is disrupting the creator economy in Asia. We wish the company all the best as they continue to take over the physical and digital worlds with their ‘One-stop’ chain for metaverse builders as the primary Layer 1 blockchain company operating out of Asia.