You might have heard the buzz lately about the Internet Computer – an initiative of Dfinity. It’s another layer 1 standalone blockchain, which has gotten the crypto community intrigued. It has been in development since 2018 and the mainnet was recently launched. The interesting part is that it claims to solve the blockchain trilemma. Now, Dfinity and its Internet Computer have the native ICP token. It is currently trading, but what is it and what does it do?
Origin Story Of The Internet Computer
Dfinity’s Internet Computer program started in 2018, privately raising funds, and is run by the DFINITY foundation – a not-for-profit scientific research organization based in Switzerland, though there are research centers operating worldwide. Their aim is the promotion and development of the Internet Computer. It has a highly diverse team, both culturally and skill set-wise. The founder and the chief scientist is Mr. Dominic Williams for both the foundation and its project, having experience and background in blockchain tech/cryptography.
Once slated to go online in 2019, the Internet Computer finally did it on May 10, 2021. Its literal name is Decentralized Infinity DFINITY and it aims to run smart contracts on cloud computing architecture at internet speed. Now, building an internet computer has never been simple, but what’s the Dfinity concept?
The concept of the DFINITY is simple yet nuanced. Imagine, the blockchain mainnet integrated with the world wide web or the Internet. Its wide accessibility and power enhanced to run a powerful decentralized computing platform to build information systems. Now, Dfinity is a Layer 1 blockchain piggybacking on the existing functionality of the cyber net, but one which eliminates the needs for traditional cloud services doesn’t require databases, etc.
According to the description on the website “The Internet Computer extends the functionality of the public Internet so that it can host back-end software, transforming it into a global computing platform. Using the Internet Computer, developers can create websites, enterprise IT systems and internet services by installing their code directly on the public Internet and dispense with server computers and commercial cloud services.”
It’s formed by uniting the ICP protocol with the internet, supported by a large number of independent data centers, hosting, and running smart contracts. Instead of relying on a centralized stack, users can simply upload their software onto the Dfinity verse. It promises hyper-fast performance, algorithmic governance, and unobstructed access. The resultant project is secure, open, unfazed by IT problems, and free from tech monopolies.
However, there are concerns about the decentralization, because of the platform’s design and reliance on special independent data centers, which should have high specifications and as such maintenance costs, putting them outside the reach of average users, people who typically secure the network for major blockchains like Bitcoin or Ethereum. But, it might be mitigated by having a sufficiently large number of nodes or data centers, dispersed globally.
The ICP token is used by the Dfinity’s Internet Computer. It was sold during the private sale in 2018 in small amounts and only recently has been generated/made claimable. ICP can be thought of as the gas required for the creation and launching of smart contracts, as a deposit for node runners and for joining the infrastructure, etc. It has a max supply of 469M and is tradable on Coinbase Pro, Huobi Global, Binance, OKEx, KuCoin, etc.