Despite Volatility – Internet Computer (ICP) Sees Growing User Base

Internet Computer is in the headlines again as the ICP token is recovering its price after dropping 95% shortly after its debut on the market. What is driving ICP’s value again and soaring the network with new users every day?

Recent IC Developments

What’s driving ICP’s price up again is several protocol upgrades that we might have missed in recent days. One thing holding developers back was insufficient funds to incentivize them to keep working on IC and develop upgrades, features, and tools that were left as mere ideas at first.

However, a recent grant of $1 million has put the project back on track, focusing on areas like infrastructure, dApps, internet computing, among others. There are now hundreds of projects coming to Internet Computer, which has prompted the crypto community to retake IC trading, calling the attention of DeFi investors and projects besides the ones we already know, including Distrikt, Origyn, and Fleek.

One of the upgrades is allowing users to hold, view, and send NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) on the Plug wallet, with ICPunks being the first supported project. NFTs will become more important for the IC ecosystem with time, and one of the protocol’s approaches to the trend is an ICmojis NFT airdrop to holders in mid-September.

Among other upgrades is a proposal of increasing smart contract canister memory to 300 GB, and while the team is evaluating the idea, there will be more work to do considering it will need a NNS proposal as well to upgrade the IC network.

What is Internet Computer?

Internet Computer (IC) is a cryptocurrency developed by Dfinity Foundation —a nonprofit organization headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. Dfinity claims IC is the world’s first blockchain running at web speed and serves content on the web with high scalability.

ICP is the protocol’s token. It reached a maximum of $731 in mid-May, outpacing high-market cap cryptocurrencies like Cardano. Yet after crashing almost 95% shortly after its launch and the IC team being accused of dumping $6 million, it seems user base interest is recovering thanks to day traders who managed to raise the coin 41% in June last month.

At the time of writing, IC is trading at $69.30 with a 24-hour trading volume of $758 million, according to data from Coinmarketcap. It’s currently holding the #17 position in the market with a live market cap of $10,889,301.

Its launch was highly anticipated —it managed to scale the #8 position in the global crypto market, outpacing several high-profile coins. The token was capped at 469,213,710 ICP coins, and its circulating supply is 157,140,097 ICP coins.

How Does it Work?

Internet Computer is designed on a blockchain that runs at web speed with unlimited capacity. IC is the third major blockchain innovation scaling smart contract computation and data, running them at web speed, processing and storing data, and providing innovative and efficient frameworks to developers. But it doesn’t stop there. Users can create a wide variety of projects, including tokenized social media platforms that run on-chain, dApps (decentralized applications) or extend Ethereum-based apps, or an entire decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. Let’s see some of the IC’s technologies:

Chain Key Cryptography

The Chain Key cryptography is one of the fundamental technologies of the Internet Computer. According to Dfinity, it consists of a set of cryptographic protocols that arrange the project’s nodes. Unlike traditional blockchains like Ethereum or Bitcoin, Internet Computer has a single public key, allowing devices like smartwatches and mobile phones to verify the authenticity or artifacts from the Internet Computer. Ethereum, for instance, needs an abundant amount of data to verify a small artifact.

Governance System

Internet Computer uses an autonomous, on-chain software governance system called Network Nervous System (NNS). IC is currently compatible with 48 independent data centers spread all around the globe, including the USA, Europe, and Asia. Combined, they run at least 1,300 nodes. The NNS responsibility is to perform several network management operations, including economics and managing the remuneration of those data centers, ensuring network tokens are distributed to them in a democratic manner.

Non-Interactive Distributed Key Generation (NIDKG)

The NIDKG is a non-interactive publicly verifiable secret sharing scheme that consists of a dealer constructing a Shamir secret based on Shamir’s Secret Sharing —a scheme formulated by Israeli cryptographer and computer scientist Adi Shamir.

Dealers will construct a Shamir secret sharing of field elements and then confidentially distribute shares to several receivers.

The NNS oversees everything happening in the network. Here’s where things get interesting: you can submit a proposal to the NNS by staking a “neuron.” A neuron means locking up a balance of IC tokens (ICP) for a certain period, allowing you to submit and vote on proposals that govern the ecosystem. Voting rewards you with ICP tokens, and if your proposal gets approved by the Internet Computer community, it gets immediately executed.

History and Founders

While the Internet computer was launched four months ago, the project was being developed since 2016 headed by Dominic Wiliams, an entrepreneur born in the United Kingdom. Williams has had a long trajectory in the cryptographic and computing space, creating projects like Threshold Relay and Probability Slot Consensus. He was also one of the first-time BTC members.

The main idea behind IC is to create the world’s first “blockchain computer.” Its first mission is to decentralize the internet and cloud computing, which is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, data storage, and computing power.

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