How Patrick Kim is using Uppsala Security to protect cryptocurrencies with advanced software solutions.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Patrick Kim: Thank you very much for the question. Fortunately, both my family, my team and I are doing well despite these unprecedented times. My thoughts are with all the nations and communities that are still struggling in fighting this pandemic. It has been a tough 1+ years with a huge impact on the whole world, both from an individual and economic perspective, and this experience will surely have some strong long term effects. As an entrepreneur, I try to see the opportunities in the struggle, and we have been really focused on investing all the time resulted from the multiple lockdowns and quarantines in building something that the whole world needs more than ever, considering the amount of time spent online, and that is cybersecurity solutions for the digital assets space.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Uppsala Security.
Patrick Kim: Sure, my pleasure. I am originally from South Korea, and I have always been fascinated by cybersecurity and innovative technologies. I have an extensive background in creating solutions for securing cyberspace, with many years of experience as a Cyber Technology Specialist at Darktrace. But my whole career story in the traditional cybersecurity industry took a totally different turn as a consequence of a black swan event. As an early cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast, I joined the decentralized space since its initial stages, but in 2016 I experienced the loss of 7,218 Ethereum tokens from a geth-mist wallet due to previously unrecognized security vulnerabilities. This obviously had an impact at the time, but what really intrigued me was that, as we all know, the decentralized world is a space that eliminated traditional third parties. Thus I had nowhere to go to report, investigate or even try to recover the lost funds. This was an inflexion point in which I decided that someone has to come up with a solution for such situations, and that is when I took the initiative and built the whole concept which today is incorporated under Uppsala Security: technology that makes people feel safe by leveraging the power of blockchain.
How does Uppsala Security innovate?
Patrick Kim: We managed to build a complete suite of security and compliance products and services, all based around something that has never been done before: Threat Intelligence Crowdsourcing. We actually took the decentralized space to the next level and involved the users in the process. We have currently gathered more than 57 Million Threat Indicators which, through our products and solutions, are actually defending and safeguarding worldwide users. The traditional cybersecurity industry can’t efficiently serve this completely novel technology which already onboarded Millions of users and will very likely hit Billions of users in the foreseeable future, all in need of capable and robust security and compliant solutions.
Products such as the UPPward Browser Extension (Chrome, Brave, Firefox and Edge) — a free of charge one-stop protection solution against crypto scams and fraud, Crypto Analysis Transaction Visualization (CATV) tool — a forensic tool that creates an easy to use graphic visualization of both incoming and outgoing transaction flows of an inspected wallet which fits perfectly within investigations, Crypto Analysis Risk Assessment (CARA) — an intuitive machine-learning solution that classifies the risk level of crypto addresses based on learned behaviors of both known malicious wallets and normal wallets or the Interactive Cooperation Framework API (ICF API) — that enables any subscribers to query the crowdsourced Threat Intelligence Database in real-time, complement each other in fighting against Money Laundering, Fraud and Terrorist Financing while, at the same time, helping with regulatory compliance. The complex nature of the products addressing both end-users and governments, virtual asset service providers (VASPs), financial institutions, FinTech companies and other technology developers solve a wide range of cybersecurity challenges while contributing to the development and adoption of groundbreaking technologies supporting decentralization.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Patrick Kim: This has not been an easy year for many of us, but we are lucky to be part of a constantly growing industry, and the pandemic did not directly impact that. The fact that social distancing requires more time spent online, being it for home office work or simply entertainment or social reasons, cybersecurity becomes more and more important. However, we have noticed that businesses are more reticent before investing in a product, even if it’s meant to contribute to their own safety. Cybersecurity products are typically not paid enough attention to until a major incident like a hack of phishing actually happens, with real consequences. This is usually a lot more costly than investing in preventive measures, so we always try to emphasize the importance of adopting solutions and compliance measures as defence, as in the long run, it is a lot more cost-effective and decreases the overall stress. So even if our finances were not directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, there are numerous other side effects like the previously mentioned ones that also impact our project and industry.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Patrick Kim: I am happy to be able to say that our team has actually extended during the last year, which is a sign that our work is appreciated and continues to be highly requested, with a lot of space for growth and expansion. As a startup targeting the whole world as one big market and with offices and employees in Singapore, South Korea, Japan or even Germany, we were already used to having online meetings and working remotely, which came as a big plus considering we were already used to this type of work for the past three years. Even though the in-person connection lacked, we had some of our best years yet in terms of product adoption, and we are really optimistic about what is to come.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Patrick Kim: In our case, the customer relationship management was not necessarily highly impacted by the pandemic, as we always tried to keep close communication with our customers. What we tried even more during this time, especially being aware of the impacts of social distancing around the world, was to have an even more personal approach with our customers as it was almost the first time when anyone around the world could relate to each other’s situation. This was something important for us, in addition to intelligence, guidance, and direction, in order to make our products and value delivery a seamless interaction.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Patrick Kim: We recently announced that we received a grant from the Monetary Authority of Singapore; however, this was not aid from the government related to the pandemic, but rather a program that supports projects that contribute to the development of Singapore as a FinTech hub. In South Korea, for example, where we also have one of our offices, we are also involved in some special government grants that fund either specific products, services or even data that can support the development of specific industries. So we did not receive any grants or benefits related to the pandemic, but we noticed the efforts that governments, in this case in Singapore and South Korea, are implementing in order to contribute to the development of their economy and business landscape.
Patrick Kim: We invite everyone to visit our website for the latest innovations in the decentralized cybersecurity space. We welcome everyone to join the crowdsourcing movement to protect cyberspace from malicious attacks while contributing to the prosperity and adoption of novel technologies like blockchain.