- The concept of a parallel and free internet holds promise.
- The project is backed by people with solid technology background.
- The traction it has gained since its launch is significant.
- It has embedded smart contract and a unique language.
- The network is observed by NNS.
- ICP token has undergone wide fluctuations in price.
- There can be some pitfalls of launching a free decentralized internet.
With time, newer types of crypto coins are appearing on the horizon and some of them are being designed to resolve issues faced by first-generation coins. You will also find some such crypto coins developed to address specific user needs. The Internet Computer or ICP was launched in May 2021. It was in the development stage for quite some time and the project is backed by some of the crypto industry experts.
What is it?
Internet Computer is being touted as an improvement upon regular Blockchain technology. A lot of the cryptocurrency projects are based on the Proof-of-Stake mechanism. However, ICP does not rely on PoS and PoW. It relies on queries and calls. It blends the security and trustless nature of Blockchain technology and blazing-fast data processing of the web. Internet Computer coin is a smart contract platform that leverages the power of Blockchain to run online alternatives to apps used by the majority. It has been created by Dominic Williams. As per the developers, ICP can pave the way for developing software applications.
The project is backed by Dfinity Foundation, a Swiss non-profit entity. The Dfinity Team is led by Dominic Williams, the creator, and founder. Other major team members are Andreas Rossberg, Ben Lynn, Timo Hanke. There are more than 180 dedicated and brilliant programmers, business leaders, and scientists in the research centers. The Dfinity Foundation held several fundraising rounds.
ICP, according to the CEO will emerge as an internet substitute in the future. The upcoming Web 3.0 will not become the monopoly of a few software technology giants.
Why ICP is gaining traction? What is its USP?
ICP is gaining traction in the crypto sector and that is not without reason. The project is new but the concept behind it is commendable. While it may not be able to replace Bitcoin, the idea of reforming the existing internet is great. The monopoly of the popular search and social media platforms is too evident. ICP is supported by a team of talented software engineers who have a clear vision and plan of what they want to create.
The Dfinity team wants to develop apps that will run directly on its network. So, the next version of the web will bypass the control exerted by some technology giants. Dfinity is developing a unique blockchain-based solution with blazing speed. The upcoming Internet Computer is going to host an infinite number of apps along with smart contracts, sans data storage. In other words, it will give birth to decentralized Internet. The focus is on retaining the privacy of data.
The initial developments
It’s not all in the concept stage though and Dfinity has made some progress. It has unveiled Motoko, a new programming language along with a new SDK meant for the developers. The Mercury Genesis launch went live earlier this year.
Already a few apps have been made using ICP. It led to the launch of a decentralized social media service. There is Origyn- used for creating digital twins with unique biometric signatures.
How the new internet will be different?
The developers at Dfinity are creating a unique Blockchain network spread globally with data centers. As the apps will run on its network, the users will get control of their data. They will not have to keep data in the hands of private tech giants. The current internet relies on internet protocol but Dfinity is going to launch the Internet Computer Protocol. Through this, developers can move data and applications smoothly. The apps of Dfinity will run on any server in its network.
The independent data centers running the Dfinity network will be rewarded using tokens. But they will not be given data access. So they won’t be able to gather data and sell it to advertisers and third parties.
Things to keep in mind
While the concept behind ICP sounds interesting, investors need to keep a few things in mind. There is a shortage of readily available coins and so the demand is ahead of supply. This keeps driving the price upwards. Another thing is that its coding has not undergone external evaluation.
There are some potential downsides. A new internet that is totally open and free may pave way for malpractices. There can be a misuse of illegal or abusive content. However, decentralized internet can be used to deploy decentralized governance too and some amount of regulation could be used.
The ICP token
The Dfinity tokens were called dfinities but they have been renamed ICP. The ICP token is used for rewarding the data centers and servers. The tokens are also going to be deployed for protocol governance.
One notable thing about ICP is that it gets affected by the crypto sector volatilities somewhat more than most other coins. However, it is still a new contender and with time, its price fluctuation may get reduced to an extent. Internet Computer coin (ICP) is now listed on major crypto exchanges like Binance and Coinbase.
The nuances of ICP working mechanism and Dfinity Ecosystem
- Network Nervous System- The NNS is a kind of autonomous software governing the Internet Computer. It handles everything from network economics to the network structure. It will act as the system’s master Blockchain.
- Dfinity Consensus- The NNS is used to handle governance. It is used for voting on issues like expanding the network and adding new nodes. The NNS is also there for monitoring network capacity and addition of subnets.
- Dfinity Subnet- A subnet is made of several nodes within the Internet Computer servers. The NNS combines nodes to make subnets and these hold canisters- which is a type of smart contract. Each subnet works as an individual Blockchain. Dfinity subnets enable infinite scaling of the network. Subnets can interact with one another by using unique “Chain Keys”.
- Neuron- The Neurons are there for time-locking the ICP tokens for generating voting power. These can be used for task automation as well. Neurons can also be dissolved to unveil the locked ICP tokens.
- Cycles- Cycles stand for computational resources used in the ICP network. Typically, the canisters consume cycles for bandwidth needs, CPU cycles and for supporting persistent memory. The cycles reflect the fees incurred to operate applications. Cycles can be compared to Ethereum gas. However, cycles cover wider resources.
- Motoko- The Dfinity team hired Andreas Rossberg to create a new language for performance and efficiency boost of the ICP network. The result is Motoko. It simplifies application development process to a large extent. Apps developed on ICP using Motoko fetch benefits for both users and developers.
- The Canister SDK- The Dfinity SDK named Canister is used by the developers to make decentralized applications that run on ICP. Canisters hold code and services.
Summing it up
We cannot live without using the internet, for sure. However, there is no denying how the web has become a monopoly of some technology giants and users are being compelled to comply with their terms for using online services. Therefore, the idea of a parallel and monopoly-free internet, running in a decentralized model is worth exploring. The Internet Computer has garnered a lot of traction since its launch and developments are on par with the project whitepaper. The initial apps made on Motoko seem promising too. It remains to be seen how the ICP project unfolds further.