ICON (ICX) is a cryptocurrency that can be used for real-time payments and also as a protocol for connecting blockchains with other blockchains in the ICON Network. According to the white paper, “The ICON Project aims to build a decentralized network that allows independent blockchains with different governances to transact with one another without intermediaries.” The goal is to build a platform where companies from various industries (e.g., healthcare, insurance, financial, educational, commerce) can interact and transact on a single network.
ICON was founded in 2017 by the Seoul based company, IconLoop (formally called theloop). IconLoop is responsible for creating a private enterprise blockchain solution called loopchain. The company has partnerships throughout the banking, healthcare, insurance, and financial industries. IconLoop created ICON (a public blockchain) after hearing from its private enterprise customers that they wanted their private blockchains to have the ability to communicate with one another. In other words, the companies utilizing loopchain (private blockchains) desired interoperability with other blockchains. These companies saw the value in sharing data in a public network, thus the ICON network was born. According to the white paper, anyone can create a new blockchain project and join the ICON network.
IconLoop is owned by the DAYLI Financial Group (DFG), one of the largest fintech groups in South Korea. DFG also owns Coinone (a popular cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea) as well as DaVinci (the largest AI provider in South Korea).
ICON uses a consensus algorithm called delegated proof of contribution (DPoC). Similar to delegated proof of stake, (DPoS), ICON uses a proxy voting mechanism where token holders delegate their coins to P-Rep (public representative) candidates. With enough votes, these public representatives will receive control of the network and produce as well as verify blocks on behalf of the users who delegated their coins to them. The representatives can be changed at any time depending on their contribution level or governance status within the ICON Network.
In October 2017, ICON held an ICO where half (400,230,000) of the total supply (800,460,000) of ICX was sold to the public. According to the website, the release schedule of the other 50% of total supply will be determined through annual C-Rep consultation.
In May of 2018, ICON announced a partnership with LINE, a global social media application company with over 200 million monthly users. As of the time of this writing, LINE is the most popular messaging app in Japan and Thailand. Together, ICON and LINE co-founded ‘Unchain,’ which is an effort to construct LINE’s blockchain network.
Min Kim is a cofounder of ICON. Before ICON, Kim was an investment banker, financial executive, and startup founder.
ICON has the backing of well-known partners including Pantera Capital, Kinetic Capital, and CM Crypto Capital.