What is Internet Computer

Internet Computer (ICP) represents a suite of blockchain protocols designed to enhance the capabilities of the public internet through an innovative serverless cloud model. This framework empowers users to develop applications, websites, and various web-based services.

ICP, serving as the designated cryptocurrency, enables holders to participate in voting on the future trajectory of the web. It functions as a reward system for network participants exhibiting positive behavior and serves as the medium for settling transaction fees.

Beyond establishing a more decentralized internet infrastructure, ICP holds promise in reducing costs and enhancing global user speeds.

Evolution of Internet Computer

The inception of ICP dates back to 2019, coinciding with the introduction of a Software Development Kit (SDK) and a dedicated programming language called Motoko for crafting smart contracts.

Dominic Williams, a notable figure in the crypto space since 2010, spearheaded the development of Internet Computer and later founded Dfinity. This project garnered attention in the crypto community due to its ambitious objectives.

During the 2019-2020 period, Dfinity progressively launched different project phases:

  • Copper (2019): This release updated the initial public version of Canister, Dfinity’s SDK, introducing specialized smart contracts known as “canisters.” The Motoko language, inspired by WebAssembly (WASM), also made its debut.
  • Bronze (2020): With the integration of Bronze, ICP transitioned from a terminal-based stage to a platform capable of developing web applications. This phase extended the capabilities of containers to self-store their state, frontend, and backend logic.
  • Tungsten (2020): In this phase, ICP opened up to third-party developers, enabling the creation of applications and enterprise systems. Tungsten introduced mobile app development capabilities alongside previous web app development features.
  • Sodium (2020): Sodium introduced the Dfinity Network Nervous System (NNS), an autonomous master subnet responsible for protocol economics and subnet management. It also introduced concepts like “loops” and a system of “neurons” supporting management and stacking via ICP coin.
  • Mercury (2021): This marked the official release of the Dfinity core network, signifying the blockchain’s transition to full public availability on May 7, 2021.

Functionality of ICP

ICP operates as a protocol facilitating decentralized communication among computers, eliminating the need for a central server. It utilizes a new consensus protocol where multiple machines globally collectively determine the state of software.

The Network Nervous System (NNS), a decentralized system of algorithms, governs the Internet Computer network’s operation, leveraging chain-key cryptography for security and functionality breakthroughs.

ICP employs “Chain Key Cryptography,” a novel cryptographic framework allowing the creation of public “chain keys” for signing messages using a distributed private key. This cryptographic approach enhances data authenticity verification.

Blockchain Features

ICP establishes multiple “subnetwork blockchains,” independent blockchains that integrate to boost capacity. The Network Nervous System (NNS), controlled by a master subnet blockchain, oversees a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) guiding network structuring.

Smart Canister contracts, hosted by Internet Computer, validate interactive web content, enabling various applications, including decentralized web experiences for Ethereum.

Unique Features of ICP

Three distinct features set ICP apart from other blockchain networks:

  1. User-Friendly Interface: ICP allows anyone to create decentralized applications (dApps) on its blockchain platform through a simplified user interface.
  2. Decentralized Network Infrastructure: Unlike traditional cloud-supported setups, ICP operates on a decentralized network with dedicated hardware provided by independent parties.
  3. Transaction Speed: ICP stands out for its rapid transaction processing, in contrast to other cryptocurrencies where transactions may take 30 minutes or more to complete.