Interview with Brian Cheong, the President and the Founder of TTC ProtocolBrian Cheong is the president and the founder of TTC Protocol, a decentralized protocol out to disrupt today’s centralized social networks. The project is backed by top global crypto funds, such as Hashed, FBG Capital, GBIC and Dunamu & Partners.
He is also the CEO & founder of tataUFO, a social discovery platform with over 13 million users. He founded tataUFO while studying at Peking University in China. tataUFO is supported by great investors like Lightspeed China Partners, Ameba Capital, SoftBank Ventures Korea, Korea Investment Partners and Union Investment Partners. Previously he worked in Softbank Ventures Korea, where he assisted the early stage investments into consumer and mobile companies such as Lotiple (acquired by Kakao) and DevSisters (KOSDAQ IPO). He also worked for the government of Central Java Province in Indonesia as an IT Consult for 2 years where he made its official intranet and official websites. He founded and sold a web company at age of 17.
How was the idea of TTC Protocol born?
“The birth of TTC Protocol stems from domain experience, hype, and opportunity.
It all started back when I was in college. It was during this time that I learned about blockchain technology, and I sensed a huge potential in its possible applications, but this was before the technology itself was well-known to the public.
What made me consider giving blockchain technology a closer look was the massive influx of funds and talent into the blockchain industry in 2017. The number of cryptocurrency investors in South Korea rose from 50,000 to 3 million in only three months, while some of the most talented people I knew were entering the industry. As my startup owned a social networking app called tataUFO for college students in China, now with over 13m users, naturally, I looked into the application of blockchain in the social network industry.
After a deep search, my team and I concluded that, when applied to social networks, blockchain technology can empower us to build a fully dependable point-to-point and peer-to-peer social platform. I personally believed that the application of the technology would change our view on social networking platforms forever. I shared the concept with Simon Kim, the CEO of Hashed, and Richard Liu, a partner at FBG Capital. They were all very interested in the project. By March of this year, TTC Protocol was officially established.”
How would you explain your project to the general public?
“TTC Protocol is a next-generation social network protocol based on decentralization and token incentives. In simple English, we help social network services to grow their user base and revenue by empowering everyone to claim the value of their likes, or their online contribution, in a wider sense.
It benefits everyone that is part of the ecosystem. For developers, it could solve many issues faced by traditional social networks, such as fake news, cyberbullying, private data leakage, and over-commercialization. For users, it will provide benefits, such as privacy protection, higher quality content, and most importantly, fair rewards for their contribution to the growth of the platform.”
As the company successfully completed its pre-sale fundraising, what has already been done and what are you going to do with the funds collected by the ICO?
“With successful fundraising through our ICO, our team has not only been able to accomplish major milestones in the development of the TTC Protocol but have also had the opportunity to build a diversified global platform. The highlights of TTC Protocol’s progression are as follows:
- March 2018, Whitepaper Release
- March 2018, Institutional Investments (FBG Capital, GBIC, Hashed, Dunamu & Partners, NEOPLY, etc.)
- March 2018, Pre ICO
- May 2018, Main ICO
- June 25th, 2018, Token Distribution
- June 2018, DEx.top & UEX.com Listing
- July 2018, Acquired ALIVE, a mobile video sharing app with over 10m downloads
- August 2018, Bibox.com Listing
- September 2018, Whitepaper V1.0 Update
- September 2018, Hacken Partnership and Launch of Bug Bounty Program
- September 2018, “Merapi” Testnet, TTC Reward Engine (TReE,) and TTC Connect (Mobile Wallet App) Release
- October 2018, Release of TTC SDK
- October 23rd, 2018, Announced four new Alliance Partners in Korea (Pikicast, Cobak, Womanstalk, SocDoc; total of 7.5m registered users), growing the total user base to 30m
- November 2018, Vietnamese, Russian, and Indonesian Whitepapers Released
In the coming months, we will continue to focus on both developments of blockchain technology and expansion of the ecosystem. In addition, with the cooperation of Hacken, a leading cybersecurity white hat hacker organization, TTC Protocol keeps up to date with the most current security practices.”
Why build partnerships with apps in the South Korean market first?
There are numerous reasons why we would enter the South Korean market first, but here are the key factors to understand:
First, rapid tech adoption. More than half the population of South Korea resides within a 100 km radius of Seoul, its capital, and the majority of the population are highly educated (more than 70% of the population have the university diploma). It is one of the most technologically developed countries in the world with some of the fastest internet. South Korea has a unique environment, where information and trends can spread more quickly than other parts of the world.
Second, the network effect. A user base of over 7.5 million is considerably high by itself, yet what is more impressive is that there are about 15 million millennials (aged 14 to 36) in Korea, and they mainly reside in or nearby Seoul which enables the network effect to expand rapidly – not only is the young Korean population extremely well connected, but there is the added benefit of clearer communication, as we reside within the same time zone and region. With clear communication channels and a tech-hungry population, we can increase our impact and form a more scalable platform.
Lastly, digital currency friendly. South Korea was one of the first countries to purchase digital assets with fiat currency. As early as in 2000, a Korean citizen is reported to have paid over 25,000 USD for a single digital sword in a popular MMORPG. This trend continues today. One recent study claims that 40% of white-collar Korean workers own or have owned at least one cryptocurrency.”
How does TTC Protocol differ from similar services?
“One key difference between TTC Protocol and other blockchain protocol projects focusing on social networks is that our strategy is heavily focused to welcome and include the existing online and mobile social networks. TTC Protocol is not a single service social network, but a growth tool for helping pre-existing social network platforms to return the value of their platform to their users.
First, we lower the technological hurdles for our partners. We provide the SDK, which enables our alliance partners to smoothly integrate into our ecosystem with little effort, as little as half a day’s worth of coding in some cases. It has helped us to build an alliance with players from different regions: tataUFO is our first partner whose users are based in China, while ALIVE, a video-sharing app with 10m+ downloads globally, has users in North America, India, and many other countries. In addition, we will adopt 7.5m users in South Korean through partnerships with four mainstream social platforms. Overall, we have built an alliance with 6 services and 30m+ registered users across the globe, all using the same coin (TTC) without any shared equity among partners. This is quite a unique achievement in the blockchain industry.
Second, our technology and partnerships do not alter the partner services’ core values and functions. We believe that every social network and online community is unique, that is why our SDK provides a very flexible adjustment system for reward logic that accommodates to the needs of each partner. One service could choose to incentivize users more for likes, while another could promote content creation more. As a result, no partner service has to risk their original colors, culture, and fans to enjoy an accelerated growth and healthier community derived from blockchain technology.
Third, we provide ordinary users with easy-to-use utility functions for TTC tokens, lowering the entry barrier of blockchain technology. For example, many users might have difficulties or would be uninterested with understanding a protocol’s voting mechanism, or even how to vote, but with us, the users just simply need to download our wallet app which provides a voting mining service with a one-click binding service for all apps in our ecosystem. We try to provide the best user experience we possibly can. This is what sets us apart from other blockchain projects – we have been in the social field long enough to know that the users’ experience is key to the success of the platform.”
How can your innovative service change the way we see social networks?
“We believe that each user contributes massively to the growth of social networks. Users contribute by creating content, giving their attention (e.g. likes and comments), and most importantly, sacrificing their time. Without users, there is no Facebook, there are no billions of dollars of revenue and profit. Each user brings something – a value – to the table, and the market cap of Facebook is simply a snapshot of the sum of values from each user.
Once people realize that they can claim the rightful value of their time and contribution, you cannot put that genie back in the bottle. It will change how we perceive the value of our online labor – yes, labor – and it will change our social status from a user to a contributor and a stakeholder.”
What are your plans for the future?
“At present, TTC Protocol launched its Testnet, Merapi, allowing developers to test the integration of social exchange onto their platform – once tested, they will be able to apply the mainnet, launching in Q1 of next year, which will enable real value exchange on the platform.
With a completed mainnet in mind, the focus will be on finding partners and creating a diversified and growing ecosystem. With more partners integrated into the TTC ecosystem, TTC Protocol can increase the utility value of its token – helping to form a truly open and global community.”
About TTC Protocol
TTC Protocol is one of the largest social networking ecosystems on the blockchain, with over 30m users. TTC Protocol provides a simple-to-integrate and fully-customizable blockchain-based SDK for existing communities, which acknowledges users’ contribution to the community and rewards them.