ICP is a native utility token that was created by the Internet Computer platform. The project was incubated by the Dfinity Foundation, a Swiss company that was founded by Dominic Williams in 2016. The goal of the project was to offer smart contract functionality at internet speed that became possible with the creation of a “decentralized global computer”.
The history behind the project
When Dominic Williams started working in the sphere of blockchain in 2013, he was trying to devise faster consensus mechanisms based on PoS architectures. The developer understood that all limitations could be removed when working with smart contracts that could plug into each other within the same environment and at the same time be parts of numerous systems. Thus, it could deliver the service composability that gives exceptional network effects.
The research was initially conducted for the project to be utilized within Ethereum. There was also no financial purpose in it. Since the direction chosen for the creation of the Internet Computer became incompatible with the short-term trajectory of Ethereum that selected the upgrade with Proof-of-Stake direction, DFinity became a standalone project.
Dominic Williams pursues big aspirations while working on the project. He plans to revolutionize the Internet and take power over the network from such IT giants as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.
Internet Computer technologies
The Internet Computer platform is based on the ICP blockchain. It gives developers the capabilities to create websites, corporate IT systems, cross-industry protocols, and NTFs on its basis. The founder of the project Dominic Williams pointed out that the technology he invented would be 150 times the performance of the Ethereum blockchain and 900 times the performance of Bitcoin.
Novel cryptographic techniques were devised to bring the project to fruition. Intensive research and development work brought to the release of the Internet Computer’s source code that was published on May 10, 2021. The company employs a variation of the PoS algorithm that is called Threshold Relay to attain a consensus.
The components of the basic code include the "replica" that contains protocol components required for the work of a node in a subnet. It also includes such elements as Nodemanager that is responsible for replica's management and monitoring of its binary and network nervous system canisters or NNS, which is the autonomous algorithmic system that governs and manages the IC network. There are also secondary items, for instance, build systems, testing infrastructure, and the code that defines the IC operating system.
The Chain Key Technology of the Internet Computer is the main secret of success as it provides super-fast transactions. It splits smart contract function execution into query calls and update calls that accelerate the process incredibly and allows the Internet Computer to work at a web speed.
Internet Computer platform
In May 2021, the DFinity Foundation launched the Internet Computer Developer Ecosystem Program needed for financing DApps, the creation of tooling, and other elements of the infrastructure that scale without limitations and work at web speed. The program will offer grants for developer teams who will contribute to the system and support its growth. 48 independent data centers, which are located in Asia, Europe, and North America, and run 1300 nodes support the platform.
The ecosystem has many functioning services and DApps such as ORIGYN aimed to identify and expose counterfeits, Fleek providing decentralized hosting and storage, DPunks, a marketplace for collectible NFTs on the Internet Computer, OpenChat, a decentralized chat platform providing users control over their data, District, a decentralized social media network, Nuance, a decentralized blogging platform, and many others.
Dfinity launched the Internet computer Alpha mainnet in December 2020, and ICP became a part of it. The tokens enable participation in the management of the decentralized network. It is necessary to have ICP tokens to conclude smart contracts.
The project was welcomed by the players of the cryptocurrency market. It was listed on several exchanges right after the release that affected the price of the token. It immediately skyrocketed.
Williams' project was supported by the venture fund Andreessen Horowitz and the cryptocurrency fund Polychain Capital in 2018. These companies invested $102 million in it. In total, Dfinity raised $166.9 million in six rounds, according to Crunchbase data. According to CoinDesk, Scalar Capital, CoinFund, Multicoin Capital and Greycfroft Partners have invested in the fund at various times. Thus, Internet Computer became the most well-funded project in the cryptocurrency sphere after the Polkadot blockchain platform at the time of writing.
In May 2021, it was reported about the decision of a digital asset bank Sygnum to provide custody and banking services for Internet Computer utility tokens. The holders of the token are given the capability to deposit their tokens with Sygnum.