According to information from the official website, the ICON project intends to create a ‘global hyper-community’ by creating ‘one of the largest decentralized networks in the world.’
To implement the plan, the team is building a large platform that allows several blockchains to interact with each other using smart contracts. Existing within the so-called “republic” of ICON Republic, communities are united with each other using their own project technology – loopchain. The ultimate goal of all this is to create a platform on which players in financial, insurance, healthcare, educational, security, commercial and other fields could coexist and conduct transactions in a single network.
ICON development has been going on for 2 years. The company was founded by Dayli Financial Group, a Korean financial technology company valued at $ 4 billion. The same company owns the popular Korean exchange Coinone.
How does ICON work
Using its loopchain platform, ICON integrates blockchain communities into one ICON Republic ecosystem. As the name of the platform says, Republic plays a controlling role in the federation of independent blockchains. ICON Republic is compared with the USA: each community is a state.
In a general sense, community communication with the republic is ensured by community representatives (C-Reps) who maintain contact with Nexus, the lupchain underlying ICON Republic. Representatives (C-Reps) play the role of the so-called Portals, which allow interacting with a single Nexus center and other ICON Republic communities. Blockchains using ICON can exchange currency using the platform’s decentralized exchange (DEX).
ICON Community is a separate blockchain or protocol with its own management system. Community nodes (Community Nodes or C-Nodes) make up the infrastructure of each community. C-Nodes are responsible for the control and maintenance of the corresponding blockchain. Each community works according to its own rules and uses its own consensus algorithm. This means that the project itself does not control how community members implement their programs outside of ICON Republic.
Nodes Citizen Nodes – a way to connect to the ICON network for the average user. These nodes can be used to create transactions and use decentralized applications. However, these nodes do not have any power either on their own blockchain or in ICON Republic.
C-Reps function as selected officials of their respective communities. Each community selects its own representative, and each C-Rep is responsible for management issues (such as transaction verification, etc.) within ICON Republic. Like delegates in the DPoS system (see Ark), C-Reps receive a reward for their work in the form of the local ICX cryptocurrency.
The so-called ICON Republic is a hub-supported center that combines individual communities that coexist on a single platform.
Although communities may individually use their own consensus mechanisms, ICON Republic operates on the Loop Fault Tolerance (LFT) consensus algorithm. LFT is a lot like DPoS, where representatives (C-Reps) work as delegates to their assigned communities in the large ICON government. Representative nodes also vote on various issues such as a reward policy, the nuances of issuing currency, eliminating problems with transactions on DEX, and maintaining network integrity. Again, ICON Republic acts exclusively as a communication channel for ICON communities, and its group of representatives does not have authority over individual blockchain communities.
Decentralized ICON Exchange
ICON has its own decentralized exchange (DEX). It sets up foreign exchange reserves for each blockchain so that communities can exchange cryptocurrencies through ICON Republic. Thus, DEX ICON complements the portals of representatives, providing another way to connect communities with the republic.
Instead of focusing on management, as representatives do, the decentralized ICON exchange focuses on currency transfer. The DEX exchange enables transactions and trade between blockchains within ICON Republic. The DEX reserve sets exchange rates for transactions using an artificial intelligence analysis model. In addition, on this exchange, the local ICX coin is used as an intermediary currency.
As of November 2018, the exchange is still not launched. At the moment, we have no information when this will happen. There is also no information on the cancellation of the DEX release.
- A.I. And IISS: ICON uses artificial intelligence to manage currency reserves and exchange rates, as well as its Incentives Scoring System (IISS). Using the financial solution DAVinCI, IISS determines the remuneration in ICX currency for the contribution of nodes to the network. According to the information indicated in the white paper, IISS determines the amount of remuneration based on the following criteria:
1) frozen ICX,
2) the status of the representative of C-Rep,
3) the volume of exchanged ICX,
4) the volume of exchanged ICX in the whole community,
5) traded on DEX ICX volume. When the decentralized exchange is launched, community members will be able to trade the currencies available in the DEX reserve without the need to use exchanges such as Binance.
- DAPPs: As with Ethereum, any user can use the ICON platform to create a decentralized application on the Nexus Public Channel. These applications then go to the ICON app store, after which any Citizen Node owner can download and use them.
Where to buy ICON (ICX)
Currently, the ICON coin is most traded on the Binance exchange in the amount of 60% of the total ICX trading. ICON can also be purchased on OKEx, Upbit, Huobi and other smaller exchanges.
Where to store ICON (ICX)
After a token swap in 2018, ICX can no longer be stored in the wallet for ERC-20. ICON team launched its own wallet versions: online, desktop version and Android wallet. Ledger wallets like Ledger Nano S also support ICX coins.
ICON Team and Roadmap
The ICON team is full of representatives from all sectors, including the field of artificial intelligence, engineering, as well as blockchain and marketing. One of the company’s advisers is Don Thepscott (a Canadian business administrator who built his career on technological innovation), as well as Jason Best, one of the ten best crowdfunding organizers according to Forbes.
A recent acquisition of the company is Ricky Dods, appointed head of institutional markets and investor relations. He has extensive experience in banking investment services and in analyzing the stock market.
The team working on the project has not yet published a single official roadmap, starting in the summer of 2018, which has caused criticism in its ranks among Reddit users. The criticism is compounded by the fact that the team dragged on a token swap after the January launch of the main network. The ICON team recently posted a blog post on this subject, where they acknowledged that employees should share more information. One way or another, now the official roadmap is still unavailable.
Other projects are focused on finding a blockchain compatibility solution today, although at the moment ICON is ahead of them all. The closest competitors who are not far behind ICON are AION, Wanchain and ARK.
Also, two similar projects are being prepared for the launch of their main network: Polkadot and Cosmos. However, it is still difficult to say whether at least one of these projects will become a serious competitor.
If ICON works in reality the same way as on paper, this project can take the compatibility of blockchains and the relationship between them and all of the above industries to a new level. A draft whitepaper tells how ICON will fit into these industries, including healthcare, education, business, insurance, capital markets, etc.
Individual users and organizations could not only use ICON to exchange data and currency, but also use their blockchain identifier on the platform to verify their identity and other security measures.
It is worth noting that the progress of the company this year was rather slow or limited due to the many back-end updates in the main network that did not have a special effect on the popularization of ICON. Although the project remains the most interesting in its niche, ahead of the price list of its closest competitors, whether ICON will achieve its goals is still unknown.