In the entertainment industry last year, voting fraud was a big issue. The production team of the TV reality show intervened in the process of voting for the K-POP Idol audition, however the audiences should have been the producers; there were rumors that the team was in a close relationship with the agency. People became furious, and the show’s production director got arrested. The voting fraud isn’t the only issue for the TV audition shows, it can appear in all fields of industry that involves ‘voting.’ There’s a company that’s trying to stop the voter fraud altogether; BlockMedia met with the CEO of Nextrust, Mr. MinJae Lee. 

CEO of Nextrust, Mr. MinJae Lee(Left)

– Reason for starting this blockchain company?
“Before I was a software engineer for financial sector and then a fund manager. Unlike a ‘common’ fund-manager, I was focused on doing ‘quant,’ which refers to analyzing a big data in order to develop the investment models. This naturally led me to learning about blockchain technology and investments related to it, which eventually built the background for building this company.”

– Can you give us more details?
“I started investing in cryptocurrencies in the pretty early days. It was unfortunate that there were too many ‘scam’ projects with no business goals and no development capability. Even if they had the capacity, it lacked the business motivation. As I felt something was always missing, I started my own business with an intention of solving it. I was fortunate to have capable team members around me already.”

– What’s the outlook from the stock market to the cryptocurrency market?
“Domestically, the view is generally negative. On the other hand, it’s different in the overseas because they already have hedge fund specialists who are specialized in only cryptocurrency investments. In order to flourish, the infrastructure must be aligned with all the regulations such as Hong Kong or the States. The market has grown too much to disappear now. If South Korea can establish the Special Act-based infrastructure, the market will be more stabilized.”

– What’s your project?
“It’s a blockchain-based platform that solves fraudulent votes issue. First we are focusing on targeting the beauty-content area. If a single entity manages the overall voting process, the frauds may be inevitable. However, if we apply blockchain on that, no one can alter or control the results. This is what we are exploring right now. Since it’s on online, anyone can access the platform and cast their votes easily. The public can directly cast their votes which allow them the sense of trust, rather than only a handful of judges determining the winner.”

– What do you mean by Beauty Contest Platform?
“Easily put, it’s like a beauty pageant or a fitness contest. As mentioned previously, fraudulent voting has been a problem for the entertainment sector. Because of it, the trust and interest are both very low. Incorporating the blockchain technology, I think we might have a solution. The process itself is very similar to what we see on the reality TV audition shows. The problem up until now was that only a handful of judges were able to make the decision, but again, this is bad for publicity. Therefore, we are making it available to all people. I imagine it will be like ‘Pick Your Favorite Fitness Star.'”

– Any plans for launching overseas?
“For now, we have domestic references which will allow us to move forward to the outside of Korea. As far as Beauty Contests are concerned, the winner of domestic competition goes out to the global competition, which allows for a close relationship between the representatives. So it’s important to finish the domestic one first. If possible, we are considering Southeast Asia such as China, Vietnam. These countries already have K-beauty industry in it, allowing us to become the next product within the market.”

– What’s the reaction from the beauty industry? 
“The organizer of the competition or the representatives of the companies are interested since it may solve the reliability issue. The candidates are also willing, since they are participating in a competition that is fair and square.”

– What’s your solution for making people participate voluntarily?
“We don’t plan on giving away tokens like other services. Instead, they can participate in events with the winners of the competitions. We are considering providing a VIP ticket to the voting participants, or free classes from the winner of the competitions.”

– What’s the current development status?
“In the case of smart contracts, we have applied for patents that are related to blockchain-based contest platform to complete prior examination. We’ve finished developing the smart contracts, and the actual client-facing applications are going through GUI process with a collaboration from the organizers of the competitions. Due to COVID-19, some of the competitions are being delayed; however, we aim to launch the service in time for their comeback.”

– What’s the goal?
“There’s not that many blockchain-based services that are usable by majority of the public. Our initial goal is to allow anyone to use it, and then maybe branching out to the overseas market. If we base the domestic competition reference and experiences, I think it’s possible to branch out to the other countries. I want to achieve these goals within the next 3 years.”