Cork, Ireland — 20 March 2019 — The Irish blockchain-based payments platform Festy has secured a partnership with Klaytn, a subsidiary of Kakao, Korea’s largest mobile app with 50 million users. The partnership marks one of the largest technology developments between South Korea and an Irish startup.
Klaytn, a public blockchain platform, announced a total of 26 partners since launching in private beta late last year. Up until now, Klaytn has raised $90 million in private funding with a further $90 million projected in the coming weeks solely being used for building blockchain use cases. The partnership between Festy came about after the Cork-based company ran it’s annual conference, Provenance Summit, in Seoul last November. The deal includes an undisclosed investment.
“Klaytn and Kakao are trying to enter the blockchain industry responsibly and so we are only doing a private raise and not trying to generate unnecessary hype. There are a lot of examples of how not to run a blockchain project and so we have selectively chosen those with a working product to join our platform”, says Youngsik Shin, Business Development Manager at Klaytn.
Festy was launched in 2016 as a tech solution for music festivals. CEO and founder Graham de Barra says;
“I launched a festival welfare service at Electric Picnic through my non-profit Help Not Harm in 2016. The lightbulb moment came when the staff gave me the wristbands and I thought why can’t I put my ticket, money and identity all on my wristband. Welfare prevents thousands of service users from danger which takes a lot of work with little resourcing. And yet, most of the problems we face have been people getting robbed or losing their friends. One person lost 400 euro from purchasing a fake ticket at the gate of a particular festival. What if there was a way to integrate festival services and merchants together to provide a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone?”
Festy uses blockchain technology, an immutable ledger, to solve ticketing fraud and make instant and low fee payments on-site using cryptocurrencies. A simple tap and pay solution prevents queing of up to 2 hours at large music festivals. Cashflow is settled in real-time between merchants which accumulates analytics and consumer trends.
Bitcoin first launched in 2009 as an alternative payment to traditional finance, however it requires a more user friendly interface to achieve mass adoption. Festy attempts to do just that.
“I pitched my idea to Enterprise Ireland that summer and I was eventually judged by a panel of bankers from Ulster Bank. The feedback I received was that banks have already solved payments. So I left and built the startup myself without ever selling equity. The experience taught me to never sell out because the vision begins in the mind and heart of the founder. When seeking external validation some ideas are just too early for people.”
Kakao launched one of the world’s first mobile banks in 2017 without any physical branches. The service signed up 300,000 people in the first 24 hours and 1.5 million users within a week.
“Klaytn are an obvious choice for us because their developers have experience with building mobile payments at scale like no other service. Some Western countries want blockchain payments whereas Asia, Africa and South America need it. This is part of a larger strategy for market adoption.” concludes de Barra
Festy delivered a presentation in Kakao’s Headquarters in Pangyo yesterday. The Klaytn blockchain goes public in June and Festy will roll out a payments and ticketing solution on the platform.