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What Is The Internet Computer (ICP)?
The Internet Computer is the fastest and only infinitely scalable general-purpose blockchain — incubated and launched by the DFINITY Foundation in May 2021 — and aims to become a ‘world computer’ hosting Web3 dapps, DeFi, games, NFTs, social media, and metaverse used by billions of users. It also represents the third major blockchain innovation, alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum — a blockchain that supports industry-leading 250,000 queries per second, executed with 1 second transaction finality, storage costs no more than $0.46 per GB per month, and decentralized, censorship-resistant sovereign physical infrastructure capable of scaling to millions of nodes using ground-breaking technology called Chain Key cryptography. The concept of a “world computer” that cannot be shut down originated from the Ethereum ecosystem, where early Ethereum technologist Dominic Williams, now Founder and Chief Scientist at DFINITY, assembled over 200 world renowned cryptographers, distributed systems engineers, and programming language experts from Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Uber, Samsung, and Apple to tackle the massive technological challenge of building an “internet computer” powerful enough to support infinitely scalable Web3 dapps. The project was founded in October 2016 by Dominic Williams, and attracted notable interest and financial contibutions from early members of the Ethereum community. Later, DFINITY raised a total of $121 million from contributors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, SV Angel, Aspect Ventures, Electric Capital, ZeroEx, Scalar Capital, and Multicoin Capital. In 2018, over 50,000 registerter participants received ICP utility tokens in an airdrop. On December 18, 2020, DFINITY launched the alpha mainnet of the Internet Computer. In a final step towards decentralization, on May 10, 2021, DFINITY launched the Internet Computer into the public domain. This major milestone means that the internet now functions as a decentralized “world computer” — marked by the release of all of the Internet Computer’s source code into the public domain, as well as ICP utility token allowing hundreds of thousands of community members to govern the Internet Computer network.
How Does ICP Work?
The Internet today is highly centralized. Popular applications on the web are often closed-source, proprietary, and are hosted on a handful of data centers owned by big tech firms. And if one critical data center fails, huge swathes of the web can also shut down with it. Another major concern (particularly for privacy advocates) is that centralized, corporate web-services providers have the ability to censor or deplatform applications.
The Internet Computer attempts to offer a fundamental alternative so that developers can build, host, and serve applications in a more decentralized way — allowing websites to be deployed directly onto the public internet. Further, the Internet Computer would incentivize open source and transparent software development.
As explained in the MIT Technology Review’s profile of the Internet Computer: “Instead of running on a dedicated server in Google Cloud, for example, the software would have no fixed physical address, moving between servers owned by independent data centers around the world.”
One way you can think of ICP is as a way of converting crypto into processing power — the network will establish a fee based on the amount of computing power required by a developer’s project. As long as the fee is paid, the website will run on the public internet.
In theory, any kind of application can be created and run on the Internet Computer — from social networks similar to LinkedIn and TikTok, to software similar to all the familiar applications you know today, to new kinds of applications not yet conceived.
Who Created ICP?
The Internet Computer is built by the DFINITY Foundation and was started by a developer named Dominic Williams in 2016. The DFINITY Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to researching and developing the Internet Computer — after years of research, it officially launched in May 2021. Researchers all over the world contribute to the foundations’ work — including cryptographers that hold around 100,000 academic citations and 200 patents.
What Is DFINITY? Team, Foundation, And Goals
DFINITY aims to replace the traditional IT stack and disintermediate large tech companies with its Internet Computer — a public blockchain network hosted by a collection of independent data centers around the world. The standard behind DFINITY’s Internet Computer — the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) — allows software to run on the internet in a distributed manner, as opposed to using servers controlled by large companies. This makes it possible to develop applications that no one entity owns, controls, or censors, thus creating the opportunity to rebuild popular internet services like social media applications in an open, decentralized fashion.
DFINITY claims that its Internet Computer is highly scalable and runs at web speed, with some functions taking only milliseconds. The network is governed by an open autonomous algorithmic software system called the Network Nervous System (NNS), and its native utility token is ICP (previously known as DFN). The Internet Computer was built by the DFINITY Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Zug, Switzerland.
The company’s CEO and chief scientist Dominic Williams first ideated the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) after conducting extensive research into blockchain from 2014 to 2015. During that time, Williams spent much of his time analyzing various consensus mechanisms, including Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT). He became convinced that many of these mechanisms possessed significant flaws, and developed the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) with the goal of improving upon BFT and related technologies.
Use Cases For The Internet Computer (ICP)
The DFINITY Internet Computer is designed to accommodate decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, enterprise IT systems, and websites among other use cases. In 2020, DFINITY unveiled an open professional profile network dubbed LinkedUp and CanCan, a video sharing social networking service, to demonstrate how popular social media applications could be rebuilt to be decentralized and ownerless. Though DFINITY does not plan to continue developing these applications, it open-sourced the projects’ code for developers who wish to build on them.
Projects currently building on DFINITY include Fleek, which allows websites to be built on the Internet Computer, and Capsule Social, a censorship-resistant social media platform.
The Internet Computer’s Network Structure
The DFINITY Internet Computer network is made up of four building blocks organized in hierarchical order. At the base, there are the independent data centers that host network nodes. Unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum, Internet Computer nodes must meet a minimum standard of technical specifications, so not every computer or machine can run a node.
Nodes collectively host subnets — a particular structure of blockchain that can be integrated with other blockchains. Unlike other blockchains, Internet Computer subnets do not use a Proof of Work or Proof of Stake consensus mechanism to process transactions. Instead, subnets interact with each other through chain key technology, which allows the Internet Computer to finalize transactions that alter the state of smart contracts in one to two seconds. Chain key technology operates by splitting up the execution of smart contract functions into two types (query calls and update calls) — a “divide and conquer” approach that enhances the overall efficiency and speed of the ICP crypto network.
Subnets in turn host software canisters, which DFINITY describes as “smart contracts that scale.” Software canisters use “cycles” — a mechanism comparable to Ethereum’s gas — to power computations and memory management. Cycles are created from ICP tokens and their value is near constant, ensuring that the cost of computation does not fluctuate. Cycles reflect operating costs such as hardware, energy, storage, and bandwidth, and are burned when used.
What Is The DFINITY Foundation?
The Internet Computer was incubated and launched by the DFINITY Foundation, a not-for profit scientific research organization based in Zurich, Switzerland, comprised of the world’s top cryptographers and distributed systems and programming language experts, with nearly 100,000 academic citations and 200 patents collectively. Notable technologists at DFINITY include:
- Jan Camenisch, PhD (CTO) – world-renowned cryptographer & privacy researcher, led IBM’s Cryptography / Research department for 19 years
- Andreas Rossberg, PhD (Principal Engineer and Researcher) – the co-creator of WebAssembly and former team lead for the Google Chrome V8 engine
- Ben Lynn, PhD (Sr Staff Engineer and Researcher) – world-renowned cryptographer and Google Engineer, the “L” in BLS cryptography, the key signature system being used in Ethereum 2.0
- Jens Groth, PhD (Director of Research) – world-renowned cryptographer, known for pioneering non-interactive zero knowledge proofs
- Timo Hanke, PhD (Principal Researcher) – creator of AsicBoost, one of the few proven algorithmic optimizations for Bitcoin mining
- Paul Liu, PhD (Staff Engineer) – architected Intel’s Haskell compiler and received his PhD under Paul Hudak, a key designer of Haskell
Johan Georg Granström, PhD (Director of Engineering) – former Sr Staff Software Engineer at Google responsible for scaling YouTube system infrastructure
After public launch on May 10, 2021, the DFINITY Foundation will now be one of many organizations committed to improving and maintaining the Internet Computer network.
The Next Generation Of Internet Services Will Be Built On The Internet Computer
Venture funds have earmarked billions of dollars to invest in open internet projects.
The world’s most popular social apps, e-commerce sites, DeFi platforms, and even enterprise systems can all be reimagined as truly open and decentralized services on the Internet Computer. A decentralized architecture for your application enables otherwise impossible features like community-driven autonomous governance and tokenization. Decentralized open internet services enabled by the Internet Computer present one of the greatest opportunities of our time.
Some Of The Sharpest Minds Previously At World-Leading Institutions Are Contributing To The Internet Computer
Everything You Need To Know About Internet Computer
Internet Computer is an innovation in blockchain technology that essentially enables it to run web speed with an unbounded capacity. This claim, as of writing, is purely conceptual.
Founded in October 2017 by Dominic Williams, Internet Computer (ICP) quickly rose to prominence and in the market cap rankings. As of writing, it has a market cap of roughly $4 billion, making it the 37th largest cryptocurrency by market cap.
Williams invented Threshold Relay and Probabilistic Slot Consensus and is an active member of Bitcoin and Ethereum technical communities. Prior to ICPO, he worked as the CTO of String Labs and was the Founder and CEO of Fight My Monster, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game and fun social media network for kids.
ICP is designed to scale smart contract and data computation, run them at web speed, and process and store data safely and efficiently.
It has created software frameworks to make it easier for developers to use as well. Internet Computer aims to revolutionize tokenized Internet services, the underpinning decentralized financial systems, and perhaps even traditional enterprise systems and websites.
However, becoming the world’s computing platform by extending the public internet to blockchain isn’t a simple feat. Internet Computer utilizes several technologies in its attempt:
- Chain Key Technology: Chain Key Technology utilizes multiple cryptographic protocols to orchestrate the nodes that make up the Internet Computer. It has a single public key. CKT allows any device, such as a smartphone or a smartwatch, to verify the authenticity of artifacts from the Internet
- Non-Interactive Distributed Key Generation (NIDKG): this non-interactive, publicly verifiable secret sharing scheme consists of a dealer constructing a Shamir secret sharing of field elements. Then, these dealers confidentially and verifiably distribute shares to multiple receivers. Shamir’s Secret Sharing was formulated by Adi Shamir and is one of the first secret sharing schemes in cryptography based on polynomial interpolation over finite fields.
- Network nervous System (NNS): The tokenized open governance system is responsible for managing the Internet Computer. It stores information about which nodes belong to which subnet, and handles the updating of the information.
- Internet Identity: An online identity that an internet user establishes in online communities and websites.
Chain Key Technology is the engine that drives Internet Computer. It allows new nodes to be added, and to form new subnets that can, in theory, scale the network infinitely. Faulty or crashed nodes can be replaced with new ones, without compromising the system.
Chain Key Technology allows the Internet Computer to run at web speed, where the calls are executed in milliseconds, and update calls take between one to two seconds to finalize.
At Genesis, the Internet Computer has a block rate of 2.5 blocks per second (Bps), and it is anticipated to gradually reach 10.3 bps, with a reach goal of 1,000 bps by the end of 2021.
Each of the old signers needs to broadcast one message to the new signers on the non-interactive key resharing protocol, This is done securely through encrypted forwarding secrecy as well as non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs. Since the resharing protocol is non-interactive, it’s highly adaptable to an asynchronous environment.
How Does The Internet Computer Compare With Ethereum?
On one side, Ethereum uses smart contracts to automatically enforce agreements and actions. The Internet Computer, on the other hand, uses canisters; which are very similar to smart contracts, but are built to be ultra-scalable.
Beyond this, the two platforms differ considerably in their speed and efficiency. While Ethereum currently suffers from relatively high transaction fees and slow transaction confirmation times (largely due to congestion), the Internet Computer’s massive throughput ensures it is able to achieve absolute transaction finality in 5-10 seconds, with practically unlimited scalability thanks to the innovation of threshold relays.
Key Features And Takeaways Of Internet Computer
Internet Computer is a young, new addition to the cryptocurrency top 100 that has the following key features and takeaways:
Internet Computer provides a revolutionary way to build tokenised internet services along with pan-industry platforms, vital respect for personal data, and financial systems that are fully decentralised.
The research foundation behind Internet Computer is DFINITY and the project attracted a significant amount of attention from the crypto community, with more than a billion ZAR raised from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, SV Angel, and several others.
On May 10, DFINITY launched Internet Computer onto the public domain, meaning that it now functions as a decentralised global computer. It was marked by the release of the project’s source code and a governance token that will allow the community to govern the network.
Internet Computer works towards the goal of extending the internet and making it a solution on which the entire world can build on.
Internet Computer changes the internet from a connection of private servers which are centralised and controlled by large entities to being a decentralised solution where there is no control or censorship, with the community in charge.
Internet Computer is based on the scientific breakthrough Chain Key Technology, which consists of a set of cryptographic protocols which orchestrate the nodes that make up Internet Computer, allowing it to have a single public key.
This type of technology is a significant advantage as it allows for any smart device to verify the authenticity of artifacts from Internet Computer, something that older blockchains cannot do.
This single public key allows for new nodes to be added to form new subnets, scaling the network indefinitely.
By using Forward Secrecy and Noninteractive Zero-Knowledge Proofs, which is highly advanced cryptography, the team behind Internet Computer have created the perfect solution that is years ahead of the competition.
The native token for Internet Computer, ICP, is used for network governance, to compute power, and to reward participants.
Internet Connection is currently supported by 48 data centres and according to DFINITY, this number is set to increase by an additional 75 centres by the end of the year.
ICP Price Prediction
Although ICP is a new coin, it’s back by a rather interesting and promising project being worked on by a large team of qualified specialists. The Internet Computer attracted the attention of the entire crypto community and some pretty serious investors. The project intends to solve specific and rather global problems inherent in the Internet. If it even partially succeeds in solving these objectives, its native token’s value will increase significantly.
At the time of writing ( 31 March 2022 )
ICP current price
Daily trading volume
PricePrediction.net’s latest forecasts seem unaffected by ICP’s recent drop. Its Internet Computer price prediction expects a steady rise over the next decade, which will surpass the $100 mark. Its ICP price prediction for 2022 is to reach an average price of $23.20, which will race to $69.12 in 2025. Its ICP price prediction for 2030 is $447.67.
There are other optimistic ICP price predictions, although not as ambitious. DigitalCoinPrice expects a steady price growth for Internet Computer, from $25.60 in 2022 to $38.54 in 2025. Its furthest ICP price prediction forecasts the cryptocurrency to be trading at $100 in 2031.
The TradingBeasts ICP crypto price prediction estimates the coin to reach $68.17 in January 2024. Its Internet Computer price prediction for the end of 2025 is $83.87. Meanwhile, CryptoNewsZ said: “A bullish trend is predicted for 2022 with the price almost getting doubled in the year-end.”
Internet Computer has certainly had a rocky past, with its price fluctuations last May making it an especially volatile cryptocurrency. ICP has its work cut out if it is to start reaching these optimistic targets.