The Korean-based ICON Foundation has a project they claim will “hyperconnect the world”. On the back of this promise, the cryptocurrency linked to the project soared to a total circulating value of more than US$4.5 billion at its highest point. All just months after the token’s launch.
Learn what exactly ICON is setting out to do for the blockchain community, and why many people think this project is so special.
Connecting The World via Smart Contracts
Since the explosion of the blockchain over the last couple of years, a huge number of blockchain platforms and networks have been created (over 2000 cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap as of writing this). No doubt, there are many advantages to competition between different networks. But it also presents a significant barrier to blockchain’s adoption.
Imagine: you use a service that requires you to pay with Bitcoin, another that uses Litecoin, and another using Dash. Now you need to hold all these different currencies. Also imagine you’re trying to use a software based on Ethereum, with hardware operating on NEO, and the issues of sideways compatibility that arise. It’s a very simplified view of ICON’s project, but an example of its use case nonetheless.
ICON exists to link blockchain “communities” in a way that each is compatible with one another. The communities form the “ICON Republic”. A collection of networks which are independently governed, yet also acting as nodes of the ICON network. Using more complex smart contracts than those developed by existing platforms, each network will be able to operate on its own. While maintaining the ability to work with each other.
The ICON network will allow individuals to create decentralized applications (dApps) that have operability across all ICON community networks. Additionally, ICON has an in-built decentralized exchange, which allows for token swaps and compatibility between different networks. For example, it would let Bitcoin holders pay for something on Ethereum, by acting as a middleman to swap between different currencies.
A Short History of ICON
Originating out of South Korea, it was founded by DAYLI Financial Group, one of Asia’s top Fintech companies, worth around $4 billion. The company also owns Korean crypto exchange Coinone, which sees on average around US$10-30 million trading volume, with support for 16 cryptocurrencies and the Korean Won.
The project has been in development for a little over two years thus far. Their very successful ICO in Q4 of 2017 saw them raise more than US$40 million. Not long after, the ICX token rose to become one of the top 30 in the world by market capitalization. ICX reached a price of more than $12 at its highest point thus far, in January 2018.
The first version of ICON’s mainnet was launched in early 2018. As of writing this, the ICON blockchain is averaging slightly under 1000 transactions per day. Last month, it announced a partnership with SK, its home country’s largest telecom provider.
The ICX Token
Much like ETH on the Ethereum platform, ICX is the token used on the ICON blockchain. All the services and activities are paid for with ICX, so the coin’s value ties itself to the level of adoption ICON is able to achieve. As usage of ICON goes up, so will demand for ICX, and thus the coin’s price. As the coin cannot be mined, scarcity should conceivably drive the price up significantly in time.
A token swap from ERC-20 tokens to a token native to the ICON blockchain started in June 2018, extending through until late this year. As of September 21st, 84% of tokens had been exchanged. Any tokens that aren’t swapped before the deadline will be burned – a good sign that the price could be set to rise.
ICON’s End Goal
Hyperconnecting the world is no small feat. That’s why, while ICON is starting to secure more partnerships, they still appear to be a way off achieving their goal.
In time, the ICON foundation hopes to connect not only the world’s blockchain networks, but to provide interactivity between all kinds of communities on a single network (not just blockchain platforms). The ideal future for ICON will be to link industries such as finance, insurance, healthcare, security, commerce and more.