[Korean Startup Interview] OPUS M: Revolutionizing Industries with Trust-Enhancing Blockchain Middleware SolutionsReading Time: 7 minutes
“Focused on foundational blockchain technology, we aim to add the value of trust to corporate data.”
Blockchain has emerged as a groundbreaking technology in the ever-evolving digital landscape. However, it has faced criticism for its heavy focus on virtual assets and cryptocurrencies, often neglecting the demands and universal applicability in various industries. Many companies are keen to adopt blockchain but are deterred by the significant investment in capital and network infrastructure required. OPUS M addresses these challenges by developing and providing a blockchain middleware solution, making the technology more universally applicable, akin to conventional databases.
Excluding cryptocurrencies, OPUS M, which is dedicated solely to the development of foundational blockchain technology, was established in 2019 by Lee Jin-seok, a pioneer in the blockchain sector. Lee, originally a researcher in enterprise software development, began to recognize blockchain as “an extremely intriguing distributed technology.” After his tenure with several first-generation blockchain companies, he founded OPUS M. His mission was to focus on foundational technology, leading to the development of a unique middleware solution.
OPUS M’s middleware, ‘LedgerMaster 3.0,’ is a versatile blockchain solution adaptable to a wide range of industries. Its primary goal is to assist companies in integrating the value of trust into their data using blockchain technology, thereby facilitating the adoption of WEB3. This solution offers the advantage of minimizing investments in resources such as capital, time, and manpower while providing rapid and proactive responses to the specific needs and environments of different companies.
Lee Jin-seok, CEO of OPUS M, states, “In sectors like lottery, voting, and donations, earning customer trust is of utmost importance, and blockchain excels in this regard. The ability of blockchain to imbue corporate data with trust has attracted many companies to adopt blockchain-based services.”
Having completed the development of its B2B middleware, OPUS M is now entering a significant phase in its business, attracting clients from the financial and lottery sectors. After achieving a revenue of 1.8 billion won last year, the company is projected to reach 3 billion won in 2024. In line with this growth, OPUS M is planning a Series A funding round to acquire talent and expand its sales operations aggressively. The aim is to secure a target of 5 billion won by the second quarter of this year, laying the groundwork for becoming a global leader in blockchain technology.
Lee confidently asserts, “OPUS M prides itself on possessing top-tier global technological capabilities in blockchain. As a team deeply versed in blockchain, we are uniquely positioned to excel in developing enterprise blockchain technology.” He further adds, “We are pioneering in the blockchain technology sector with our goal to be the first to pursue an IPO. Many first-generation blockchain companies have encountered accounting challenges with cryptocurrencies in the IPO process. However, OPUS M, strategically focusing exclusively on blockchain technology, does not face such hurdles in its pursuit of listing. We are making steady progress towards an IPO by engaging in various government projects and securing investments.”
Focusing on Blockchain’s Core Technology Beyond Cryptocurrency Bias
For several years, various public institutions and companies, both domestically and internationally, have been attempting to utilize blockchain ecosystem technologies. In the digital world, there have been challenges such as preserving the value of originals over copies, proving ownership, verifying data integrity, and resolving the double-spending of assets. The advent of Web3, which is currently receiving significant attention, depends on resolving these issues, and blockchain has opened the door to such possibilities.
However, blockchain has developed into an independent ecosystem centered on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and technological development has been disproportionately focused on supporting cryptocurrency operations. This focus has made it challenging to freely utilize blockchain across various industry sectors. We are actively working to resolve this issue.
Due to the difficulties in utilizing blockchain, the industry and its competitors have typically employed three approaches. The first is to build the necessary services within the blockchain ecosystem. The second is to use blockchain only for its minimal requirements. The third approach involves building services from the ground up that include blockchain.
The first approach has the disadvantage of offering limited services of low quality. It is challenging to provide services that meet the high expectations of consumers using only the resources available in the mainnet-centered blockchain ecosystem. The second approach has not evolved beyond storing the fingerprint of data, requiring integrity verification on the blockchain, and retrieving it for confirmation when necessary. The third approach often takes a long time, incurs significant costs, and tends to omit essential elements for decentralization due to its traditional design.
OPUS M addresses these challenges with our blockchain middleware solution. We preserve most of the already-built components of the service, allowing developers to easily integrate blockchain features in familiar ways. Essential components for decentralization and Web3 are embedded within the framework, preventing arbitrary deactivation by designers. This strategy also distinguishes OPUS M from our competitors.
LedgerMaster: Facilitating the Easy and Rapid Adoption of WEB3
OPUS M offers ‘LedgerMaster 3.0,’ a middleware solution designed to transition systems in various industries from the Web2 era to Web3. This transition utilizes existing infrastructure to its fullest, achieving upgrades within a short timeframe. Clients from various industries, including finance, public institutions, and healthcare, are preparing for the Web3 era by incorporating blockchain features into their services through LedgerMaster.
LedgerMaster can connect to a variety of blockchain platforms, which lack standardization and come in different forms, allowing customers to select the most suitable platform for their needs. Moreover, our collaborative development partners, experts in their fields but new to blockchain technology, can effortlessly develop blockchain-featured services using LedgerMaster.
Targeting the Security, Data, and Digital Asset Sectors
The global blockchain market is projected to grow to approximately 43.2 billion dollars by 2025. In South Korea, the market is anticipated to reach about 1.8 trillion won by the same year, marking it as a high-growth area. We believe our middleware solution is essential for all services in every field where blockchain is utilized. Currently, we are focusing on penetrating the ‘security, data history tracking, and digital asset’ sectors, areas where we already have established references.
SaaS Launch in the Pipeline
Currently, our primary focus lies in license sales and technical support services provided through our blockchain middleware solution. Although our middleware solution itself is costly, it offers customers the same functionalities at a more affordable price and with shorter development times compared to competitors who must invest considerable time and effort in development. Looking ahead, we are gearing up to launch specialized SaaS offerings based on OPUS M’s middleware, tailored for various industries and services.
Expanding Client Base Across Diverse Industries, Driving Business Momentum
Shortly after its inception, OPUS M secured cumulative investments of KRW 3.1 billion, including technology guarantees and direct investments from the Technology Guarantee Fund and Credit Guarantee Fund. We are currently preparing for Series A fundraising. Additionally, we have been engaged in numerous projects under the Ministry of Science and ICT, building strong relationships with public institutions and local governments. Last year, we were selected as a DeepTech TIPS startup in the top 10 emerging fields, receiving support of 1.5 billion won over three years. LedgerMaster has achieved GS certification, with one patent registered for core technology and eight patents pending.
As a versatile middleware solution, LedgerMaster is providing technical prowess to clients across various fields, including SK Telecom, OK Financial Group, Boramae Hospital, Donghaeng Lottery, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, and the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine. Despite challenging economic conditions, our sales have been increasing year on year until last year, and we are intensifying our sales efforts this year to further boost revenue. We have also formed MOUs with companies targeting token securities crowdfunding and over-the-counter exchanges, and with service providers for caregiver and nursing services for the elderly, collaborating as partners in providing blockchain technology.
Formidable Team of First-Generation Blockchain Pioneers
Our CEO, Lee Jin-seok, began his career developing enterprise AI solutions at TmaxSoft and later worked in software development at KT, Samsung, and SK. He joined a first-generation blockchain startup, serving as CTO and CEO, before founding OPUS M. Many members of OPUS M have been fiercely competing in the business and development sectors since the first generation of blockchain. Now united under the OPUS M banner, they are progressing toward a shared goal.
Why We Need Investment
Firstly, OPUS M is at the forefront of blockchain technology, a critical component of Web3. We are a team of individuals who have been diligently working and researching since the first generation to apply blockchain across various industries. We are also specialists in enterprise solutions and distributed system development, crucial for blockchain’s enterprise application. We boast a deeper understanding of blockchain technology and its applications than any other team.
Secondly, we aim to be the first blockchain technology company to go public. While there are older blockchain companies than OPUS M, most first-generation blockchain businesses operate by issuing cryptocurrencies, which poses a challenge for IPOs. They face difficulties in accounting for their held cryptocurrencies and revenue. In contrast, we focus on advancing blockchain technology and are methodically preparing for an IPO as a leading blockchain technology company in Korea.
Thirdly, our goal is to become a global top-tier blockchain company. Blockchain technology needs to be applied to large-scale network infrastructures, such as urban planning, MyData, and international logistics, to truly show its worth. To be at the forefront of this emerging era, we need to recruit capable developers who can continually build the necessary technology stacks on the blockchain platform. Additionally, to maintain growth even in economic downturns and low-growth trends, we must establish aggressive sales and marketing teams. This is the driving force behind our investment pursuits.
Finally, OPUS M has managed to achieve continuous sales growth, selection as a DeepTech TIPS pioneering startup, new business opportunities, and organizational stabilization, even amidst tough economic conditions. However, most investors seem to prioritize our financial status and the timeline for achieving the break-even point (BEP) over the growth potential in the Web3 sector or OPUS M’s potential. Therefore, starting from 2024, we aim to shift our focus from technology development to intensifying our sales and marketing efforts, with the primary objective of expanding the market and reaching the BEP.
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