Everything You Need to Know About the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP)

Isaiah McCall

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Dfinity and Web 3.0Dfinity.org

The Internet Computer Protocol can already be considered one of the most significant and impressive crypto project launches that took place in 2021.

Almost immediately after launch, the Internet Computer Protocol was able to enter the list of top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

But what is the Internet Computer Protocol really, and how does it work?

What Is the Internet Computer Protocol?

The Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) is a multi-functional third-gen blockchain network, designed not only to compete with projects such as Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH), but also to be fully integrated with the modern-day internet ecosystem.

In other words, the Internet Computer Protocol intends to connect the worlds of traditional web browsing with the blockchain ecosystem.

While Ethereum has an abstract goal of becoming the world computer, ICP’s primary goal is solely to decentralize the web.

To date, the Internet Computer has created the decentralized LinkedIn, known as LinkedUp, and their own decentralized TikTok aptly titled CanCan.

Who is DFINITY, and Why Were They So Successful?

The Internet Computer Protocol is being developed by a Swiss non-profit organization called DFINITY Foundation.

The work on the project started in 2016, when a veteran blockchain developer named Dominic Williams, previously working on Bitcoin and Ethereum, decided to apply blockchain technology to decentralized computing.

The massive technological potential of the Internet Computer Protocol allowed ICP to gain significant financing of $121 Million in total, coming from such esteemed investors as Aspect Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, ZeroEx and MultiCoin Capital.

After years of intense development, the alpha mainnet of the Internet Computer Protocol was finally released in 2020.

How Does the Internet Computer Protocol Work?

Internet Computer Protocol is built through a revolutionary blockchain innovation called Chain Key Technology.

Chain Key Technology is the engine that drives ICP to finalize smart contract transactions in 1–2 seconds.

That’s right, ICP is wicked fast and will eventually run millions of nodes at scale. You can try out one of their decentralized applications on their website here.

However, ICP is able to perform all of these stunning achievements because they are a fairly centralized project. In fact, in order to become a node on the network, you need to buy equipment from ICP’s parent organization Dfinity.

The Bull Case

While many recent crypto projects are meme tokens with no actual value or use cases, the Internet Computer Protocol is on a different level; some even postulating that it could compete with the likes of Cardano and Ethereum one day.

Moreover, the idea of applying blockchain-based solutions to the internet is a groundbreaking vision.

Top smart contract platforms like Ethereum, Polkadot and Cardano have a vague dream of being world computers. Mostly those projects give developers tools to decentralize what they want. There are no projects on the scale of ICP on the Ethereum blockchain.

If it succeeds ICP can truly become one of the most important cryptocurrency projects in history.

The Bear Case

Centralization.

Some argue there’s way too much of it on ICP.

For instance…

  • You’ll need an Internet Identity to operate in the network. This is a single identity tied to everything you do. That means if you’re banned from the network you’re screwed. No more internet for you — forever.
  • The Network Nervous System (NNS) weaves together all of the Internet Computer’s protocols. It’s so powerful a central authority that, in fact, it can make changes to the economics of the ICP token.
  • The majority of the Internet Computer code is not open-source. Access to use the blockchain is permissioned not permissionless. And the NNS seems like a single point of failure.

Bottom Line

While ICP has many interesting prospects, there’s a strong case against it for being too centralized.

Some like the popular YouTube channel Coin Bureau even postulate that ICP is just a more centralized internet controlled by a smaller group of people.

Clearly, the project still has a long way to go if it’s to gain credibility.

Keep your eye on how ICP develops — it’s certainly too interesting to go unnoticed.

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USA Today Reporter and Ultramarathoner. I write about Cryptocurrency, Fitness Hacks, and Greek Philosophy. Also a diehard Trekkie | mccallisaiah@gmail.com

Jersey City, NJ
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