ICON Network, A Blockchain of Blockchains For Real-World Applications

A Top Ranking Cryptocurrency

On occasion, it’s the ideas and technologies behind projects that make people go crazy for them. Having a blockchain of other blockchains is one such idea. The ICON token sale occurred on 20th September 2017, and now it already resides on the top 20 list of cryptocurrencies on CoinMarketCap.com. It’s worth looking at what the ICON network offers and understand why it ranks so high.

In a time when cryptocurrencies available on Korean exchanges basically took turns to reach all-time-highs, the first Korean ICO was sure to enjoy similar treatment. ICON was backed by a fintech group known as DAYLI financial group and was also government funded. More importantly, the ICO was not a mere sale of their whitepaper. The technology was already in use. There were institutions such as banks, universities and hospitals on the ICON network before their ICO was launched. The above are all good explanations for the current market cap of over $1.15 billion, giving the platform an enviable top 20 position on CoinMarketCap.com at the time of writing.

This article will focus on the technology behind ICON and how it is applicable in the real world.

The Make-Up Of The ICON Community

ICON is a part of the Blockchain Inter-operability Alliance, which aims at connecting different blockchain networks. This means it also aims to link different cryptocurrencies. In addition, bridging the gap between cryptocurrencies, in general, with their real-world applications is a goal for ICON.

The ICON network constitutes an ecosystem of different communities made of up of institutions from different industries. For instance, a cryptocurrency could be a community on the ICON network. So could a blockchain of institutions from any capital market. Each community is independent and decides how to govern itself internally.

Linking all these communities of institutions with their own blockchains is the Loopchain platform. With the Loopchain platform, all the various blockchains on the ICON network are able to communicate with each other, while remaining independent in terms of governance and protocol. All blockchains are connected to what is called the Nexus. The Nexus has a public channel on which ICON (ICX) transactions can take place. DApps can also be utilized on the public channel by anyone.  The Loopchain is, therefore, at the core of ICON’s technology.

Decentralized Apps and Exchange On The ICON Network

Also part of the ICON package are decentralized apps (DApps). The DApps are important because the project is all about real-world use cases. DApps are the means through which the various technologies can be made useful in the real world. One of such DApps is the ICONick. The idea is that, instead of complex and lengthy alpha numeric wallet addresses, nicknames can be used. These addresses with names or ICONicks can be sold. Also, there is only one ICONick allowed for every address.

The decentralized exchange (DEX), which allows direct trading of tokens, is a necessity for a multi-blockchain network like ICON. At the moment, the official wallet of ICON, known as ICONex, allows the exchange of the ICON token ICX with other currencies on the ICON network. However, the ICON DEX supporting other cryptocurrencies currently outside the network is yet to be launched.

The ICON Republic has the Power to Lend

The ICON whitepaper states “connector of communities” and “communication channel” as roles to be played by the ICON republic. The ICON republic is made up of representatives of the various communities and decision making by the republic is done by vote.

In an interview in September 2017, Min Kim, CEO of ICON mentioned that the ICON republic could lend to communities or institutions on the ICON network.  This feature of lending money seems similar to that of central banks. This is practically a government-funded project with a feature similar to a major role played by central banks. Many could find this antithetical to the purpose of cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, lots of cryptocurrencies have come out with different ideas. One could say that the endgame of many cryptocurrency projects out there is not to usurp the current financial system but to improve it or coexist.

In the case of ICON, as mentioned earlier, the goal is to make cryptocurrency technology more applicable and useful in the real world. This is already happening with all the real world institutions making use of the technology to overcome the restrictions created by national borders and also to provide various practical, real-world services. ICON could be even bigger in the future, if the ecosystem continues to grow and the technology passes all the stress tests that come its way.