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[SBS Biz News] Economic Field Today-Afternoon Invitational/The reason why the blockchain voting...

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

[Source] 2023.01.20 SBS Biz News (YouTube)

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■ Economic Field Today's 'Afternoon Invitation' - Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto


At the beginning of the year, the feast of new technologies that heated up Las Vegas, USA, CES2023 was played by Korean startups. They swept the Best Innovation Award. One of them is zkrypto. It received applause for introducing zKvoting, an online voting service based on blockchain technology. Let's invite Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto, to hear what kind of service zKvoting is and where it can be used.


[anchor]


Best Innovation Award of CES2023. I received a very honorable award. It is a service called zKvoting. First of all, what kind of technology is zKvoting?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


zKvoting is a system that allows us to vote online on a blockchain that we call a public blockchain. It can be seen as a voting system that can publicly verify whether this vote is correct while keeping the secret vote.


[anchor]


Secret ballots are respected, but can they be verified? I don't quite understand at first glance.


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


To explain a little more technically, if we save data such as voting on a public blockchain, it is good because everyone can see it, but it cannot be a secret ballot. So, when we are data of such a block chain, we encrypt it and put it in the block chain. For example, if you encrypt and put in a vote, is this really a vote put in by the right voter, or is the content correct? For example, whether one person voted or two people voted, then you can't see it because it's not encrypted. So, even in an encrypted state, we need a technology to confirm that this is the right vote, and that technology is an encryption technology called zero-knowledge proof.


[anchor]


Zero knowledge proof?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


knowledge. Zero Knowledge Proof. So, it is correct without showing any of the original contents in the encrypted contents. I can prove you right.


[anchor]


Oh, I voted on the block chain, and our CEO Hyun-ok Oh did it, but I don't know if he did it or who did it.


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


Yes. If this vote is encrypted, I don't know who put it in, but anyway, I can confirm that one of the valid voters did it, and then I can confirm that this person didn't do it twice. So, since we can confirm that this is the right vote in an encrypted state, it can be a voting system that allows everyone to check whether the vote is counted openly while keeping the secret ballot.


[anchor]


I still don't understand why did you develop this?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


While I was a professor at a university, I was originally researching a cryptographic technology called zero-knowledge proof. The zero-knowledge proof is a technology suitable for applications related to personal information related to such private. But when I saw this, I thought it was voting when I saw what was the most socially important among these technologies to protect personal information. So, for voting, let's apply this technology to voting and develop a technology that can be publicly verified while being a secret ballot and prevent social confusion from voting. So I started.


[anchor]


This technology could be used for voting. When you went to Las Vegas this time, I heard that many people went to the booth room. Which people are you particularly interested in?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


First of all, a lot of ordinary people came. In particular, government officials have been very interested. So, in the US, municipal governments, state governments, overseas Mexican governments, and Latin American governments, these governments were very interested in online voting. For example, in the United States, there was also an occupation of Congress in January of last year.


[anchor]


Was there a parliamentary invasion?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


Yes. Because I can't believe the results of the vote. There was such a thing, and in the case of this CES Sunday, there was another such incident in Brazil. So there were a lot of very sharp conflicts related to such voting, so there was a great desire to resolve it. So government officials, another one entertainment, broadcasting stations. I also found a lot on this side. In Korea, there is a system in which broadcast fans choose celebrities. There was also an issue that we couldn't confirm. So, about those things, the PD of an American broadcasting station came to visit me several times. So we talked about doing it together.


[anchor]


Do you have a contract?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


Yes, a very famous PD came and made a broadcast program with this technology in about a year or so...


[anchor]


So, in the program, you say that you will use it for viewers' votes or something like that?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


Yes, in the case of such a vote, we have much stronger restrictions than this kind of referendum. Voting must be completed within 10 minutes and a lot of people. While supporting all of that, there is a plan to create a program that applies openly verifiable voting.


[anchor]


There are comments like that. Some point out that direct democracy can be achieved with blockchain online voting technology. Is this possible?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


Yes. It was originally created for that purpose. Direct democracy, as we see it now, elects members of the National Assembly, votes on their behalf, and makes bills. However, after electing members of the National Assembly, we have to wait for four years, regardless of whether it is wrong or good. People's opinions are not reflected directly. But when we think of it, if it's online voting, verifiable, cheap, and fast, I think we'll be able to vote more often.


[anchor]


How much will it cost?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


You can see that there are almost none. Well, it's just the cost of running our company.


[anchor]


So how do you make money with zkrypto?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


In zkrypto, of course, you will be charged. It doesn't cost as much money to pay as we think of paper voting. In terms of actual operating costs, it is almost insignificant because it ranges from 1 won to 10 won per vote.


[anchor]


Shouldn't everyone be able to go online instead?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


Yes.


[anchor]


So people who can't use online won't be able to use this?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


Because of such a problem, first of all, what we are approaching is that not everyone will be able to vote online right now, so let's replace absentee voting and mail voting with online voting. And let's replace the poll with this kind of idea.


[anchor]


okay. Now, if it is introduced quickly, taxes can also reduce waste, but by any chance, is there anything that our government is interested in?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


Yes. The government is also very interested, and in fact, this online voting is historically quite long. In the case of Korea as well as the United States, I wanted to vote online in 2016, so I recruited technologies, but all of them gave up because there was no technology that satisfies the secret voting and verification that the government wanted at the same time. As technology like this comes out, technology that can solve it comes out, and now it can be introduced to that side, so I think it can be applied to the US market and Korea as well.


[anchor]


Another zero-knowledge proof technology and zKvoting service. Why are central banks experimenting with the digital currency they are trying to issue? I know that the Bank of Korea is also conducting a CBDC experiment, but zkrypto participated in that experiment. What role did it play?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


Even in the case of the Bank of Korea CBDC, we store transactions on a public blockchain. So, when we trade, there is a sender, a person who receives money, and how much they spent. All of this is open to the public. So there is no personal privacy. It may not be a problem if it is a small amount of personal money, but personal privacy is very important for rich people or corporate customers. So, in the case of the Bank of Korea CBDC, it is also necessary to protect this privacy, and if we apply the cryptography and zero-knowledge proof technology we have already developed, we can guarantee anonymous transactions. And too much emphasis on anonymous transactions can lead to money laundering laws. Because being an anonymous transaction can be used for money laundering, it is legally prohibited, but we have an audit function, so audit can open anonymized contents. So, by providing gratitude while maintaining anonymity, we developed a technology that protects anonymity while also complying with regulations. This technology has been adopted by the Bank of Korea as a personal information enhancement technology.


[anchor]


Is it adopted as such technology by the Bank of Korea? You received the Best Innovation Award at CES2023 this time. What part was especially appreciated?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


First of all, we received an innovation award, and as I said at the opening ceremony at CES, we announced three technologies that solved the problems facing mankind at the opening ceremony. One of those technologies was zKvoting. Because the topic facing humanity right now around the world is how to maintain a sustainable economic environment, so there are a lot of social conflicts about food and water. social impact. There is a social conflict, and it is necessary to resolve this, and with that, zKvoting has been interested. When I think about it, not only this kind of social impact, but actually there are a lot of skills to vote. Before that, there were blockchain votes and other votes, but actually, if you listen to them all, you can see that this is a problem. There is no secret ballot, and if there is a secret ballot, I don't think it will be verified. The existence of such problems was recognized by many experts, and they immediately understood when they heard what we suggested.


[anchor]


It is the only zKvoting service that satisfies both of the two characteristics of ensuring confidentiality and being able to properly verify eligibility. zero-knowledge proof. Then, how do you plan to develop this technology, the future that zkrypto dreams of?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


zkrypto is being operated and developed a lot with a technology called zero-knowledge proof, and the first one was called zKvoting. We created zKvoting from the beginning to provide a service that is beneficial to society. This kind of zero-knowledge proof is a technology that is particularly suitable for blockchain. So, on the blockchain side, it is a technology that is studied with great interest, and we make zKvoting a lot of use by the real public. I want to use it in the government, use it in the private sector, use it in the broadcasting station, and apply it as a technology that helps create a transparent society. Besides that, I also apply it to the anonymous transaction that I mentioned earlier, and besides, we apply this technology to registration and things like this so that society can be a little better. Our goal is to make it convenient, transparent and safe.


[anchor]


It is necessary for a sustainable society and sustainable social development. You talked about this block chain technology, and lastly, there were a lot of criticisms saying that block chain technology is a bit more problematic than I thought because cryptocurrency has a lot of problems because usually block chain and cryptocurrency are linked. It sounds like there is a lot of potential for this little development. How do you see it?


[Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto]


In fact, when we had a booth, the general public and blockchain workers came and praised us very much. The reason for this is that when people talk about blockchain, they usually only talk about cryptocurrency and talk about investment speculation. There were a lot of people who told us to work hard because they saw the possibility that useful services that we can use in real life are possible.


[anchor]


Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto, won the Best Innovation Award at CES2023 held in Las Vegas for zKvoting, an online voting service using blockchain technology.

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