Our new Disruption by Blockchain series aims to highlight companies that are leveraging the incredible potential of blockchain technology to disrupt and revolutionize their industry. Through one on one interviews, we'll speak directly with industry leaders to cut beyond the hype and get directly to the heart of practical use cases and examples of how it will change the world, one industry at a time.
The following is an interview we recently had with David Kim, Founder and CEO of ATFS Lab.
1. What’s the history of ATFS Lab? How and where did you begin?
DK: ATFS Project is the world’s first decentralized AgriTech & Food Science crowdfunding initiative built on Ethereum Blockchain and Smart Contracts. ATFS is an all-around solution to the world’s growing food crisis by providing relevant technological advances in agriculture, new revenue base and supply systems and a socially-acceptable alternative to meat consumption.
We have three integrated approaches with three organically linked missions as a solution: Smart Farm 2.0; Disruptive Decentralized Platform; and Plant-Based Meat. The completion of all three missions is bound to make an impact on the agricultural and food industries, shaping a new form of ecosystem that links the crypto world with tangible elements in our everyday lives.
This inspiration for ATFS came from David, our current CEO and founder. David’s been all about the smart farm since many years ago, and we decided to make his vision a reality in 2015.
2. Who are the founders and key team members?
David (DJ) Kim, Chief Executive Officer, Founder
After over a decade of business strategist experience within the Strategic Planning Department of Samsung Group, David moved on to Korean VC firms like HOSEO Venture Capital and Benex Investment. From there, he has been in VP positions at Korea’s largest video service company, BNCP Co., and many innovative internet games and B2C start-up’s: Candle Media, A2X Games, and Creants. As an entrepreneur with a VC background, he firmly believes in disruptive customer services and the potential of the cryptocurrency market. Thus, he founded the ATFS Lab as its CEO and initiated the ATFS Project. David strongly encourages you to join the ATFS Project to bring revolutionary change to the agriculture industry in which there are huge demographic opportunities.
Jay Choi, Chief Operating Officer, Co-Founder
Jay has over 20 years of experience in management consulting and finance industry, specializing in banking, security, insurance, and card/capital sectors. He began his career as an analyst at Korea Investment Bank, and moved on to consulting positions at Ernst&Young, IBM and KPMG. As a representative partner at KPMG, he led the management consulting division for 5 years, becoming an expert in business strategy, process innovation, new channels and program management office. Jay left the corporate world five years ago and has dedicated his time to start-up firms in Fin-Tech and IoT development, ultimately joining ATFS LAB as co-founder and COO.
Austin H. Chung, Chief Financial Officer, Co-Founder
Austin’s 16 years of experience spans from the financial sector to top management roles in lifestyle goods manufacturing, marketing agency and bio-venture companies. His extensive career provides him with full understanding of commodity distribution sector in East Asia, financial management, accounting and legal risk, compliance affairs, as well as skillsets in cross-border M&A’s, fundraising & refinancing of projects, and start-up & mid-size company management. Austin joined ATFS LAB as co-founder and CFO to utilize his well-rounded background.
Allen Sung, Chief Technology Officer, Co-Founder
After completing Master of Electrical Engineering at Seoul National University, Sung powered through more than 20 years of corporate engineering career in Korea working for Daewoo Electronics, DSPG, RealNetworks and DesignIt. He specializes in system architecture, security and information protection, MPEG and Deep Learning Technologies. As one of ATFS Lab’s co-founders and CTO, his focus in recent years has been blockchain technology and its decentralized applications.
3. What problem are you solving? Who are you solving it for?
DK: By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion, 34% higher than today, and nearly 2.1 billion will be people aged 60 years or over. Urbanization will also continue at an accelerated pace, and 70% of the world’s population is projected to be in urban environments.
Unfortunately, urbanization promotes eating habits of developed nations, one that is obsessed with protein. The average person in the U.S. consumes double the recommended daily amount (103 grams per day), of which two-thirds comes from animal sources.
This is the future of the world we live in today. We have imminent problems in food security and supply chain: an increasing population that demands more protein and an aging population that decreases agricultural productivity. Therefore, we need an agricultural revolution, and it needs your support.
4. What is your solution to this problem?
DK: Our team proposes an integrated approach with three organically linked missions as a solution:
– Mission 1 – Smart Farm 2.0
– Mission 2 – Disruptive Decentralized Platform
– Mission 3 – Plant-Based Meat
5. Why is your industry ripe for disruption?
DK: The global food market is expected to grow from $ 4.8 trillion in 2011 to $ 5.3 trillion in 2014, growing at an annual average rate of 3.9 percent, to $ 5.6 trillion in 2015 and $ 6.3 trillion in 2018.
We take advantage of the global food market’s tremendous size and its potential growth by creating a Disruptive Decentralized Platform which links to smart agriculture and plant-based meat sectors that we have been preparing to create in Asia.
The current agricultural distribution channels consist of more than five steps. However, the Disruptive Decentralized Platform links producers and consumers in one step. It eliminates unnecessary high-cost problems that occur in the middle steps of distribution and introduces a new type of food blockchain. The DDP's new type of food blockchain stores the product's place of origin, producer, region and transactional movements, enabling rewards for producers with higher transparency and consumers to have traceable and verified information.
6. What’s the future of your industry?
Prediction #1: Substitute meat products will inevitably be the main source of meat consumption.
Prediction #2: All types of smart farming will soon be machine automated through deep learning technology.
Prediction #3: People will start to recognize agriculture as a high-tech industry.