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An Introduction to ICON (ICX): The Interconnecting Blockchain Network

An Introduction to ICON (ICX): The Interconnecting Blockchain Network

New public and private blockchains are popping up everyday. So much so that research and consulting firm, Deloitte, identified that blockchain interconnectivity as an essential technology development for 2018. The report states that,

“Companies should look to standardize the technology, talent, and platforms that will drive future initiatives—and, after that, look to coordinate and integrate multiple blockchains working together across a value chain.”

Say Hello to ICON

ICON is an interconnecting blockchain network. ICON can connect independent blockchains without the use of additional third-party intermediaries.

ICON, a blockchain-based platform developed theloop, a distributed ledger solutions company in South Korea, is striving to be the leader of this initiative.

Its token presale, which concluded in September 2017, rasied 75,000 ETH in the first six hours and brought in 150,000 ETH in total.

As the company noted in its presale roundup, the coin offering was “designed for smaller contributors,” and the enthusiasm closed the pre-sale earlier than expected.

Immediately after the token launch, the ICX token remained under $0.50 for more than a month. However, by Christmas, it surpassed the $2 threshold, and its value is surging in the new year. On January 8, ICX reached its all-time high of almost $13, and it has since settled around $8 or roughly a 16x gain from its pre-sale price.

ICON 3 Month Price Chart
ICON traded for a high of $12.28 on January 8th , but is currently being traded for $8.05. If you invested only 1 ETH into ICON’s pre-sale, you would be sitting on around $20,000 USD at today’s price (ICO price: 1 ETH = 2500 ICX).

ICON Foundation

The ICON foundation is comprised of a team of experienced blockchain advisers, including:

  • Don Tapscott – established the Blockchain Research Institute
  • Jason Best – selected as one of the the 10 most influential people in crowdfunding by Forbes
  • Yiseul Cho – an MIT alumni who set up a blockchain R&D lab in London that works with major credit companies and investment banks

In addition to an impressive group of advisors, the ICON foundation boasts a considerable team of almost 30 people that are managing every aspect of the product’s development.

How ICON Works

ICON Blockchain ID
ICON has created Blockchain ID — an identity issued through Smart Contract and can be used for verification in all communities.

In many ways, their slogan, “hyper connect the world,” says it all. ICON seeks to connect independent blockchains without the use of third-party intermediaries. In their documentation, they assert that “ICON blends the crypto-world and the real world to open and inspire new business possibilities and connectivity.”

ICON is striving to achieve this in two distinct ways.

First, ICON is developing a compelling solution to the problem of digital ID verification by implementing smart contracts as a tool for effectively establishing and conveying an individual’s identity.

ICON envisions customers using Blockchain ID to verify their identity for essential services like bank accounts and also for less sophisticated use-cases like customer loyalty cards or student discount initiatives. In other words, this feature could soon be everywhere, but it is not currently being used anywhere.

ICON DEX
The ICON Wallet can transfer, settle, and exchange currencies in real time through DEX (Decentralized Exchange).

In addition, ICON is also focusing on payments and exchange through an integrated DEX (decentralized exchange). Decentralized exchanges, such as Radar Relay, will transform how cryptocurrencies are traded by removing the middleman. ICON uses these features to facilitate online payments and currency exchanges.

As major financial institutions including American Express, UBS, and MoneyGram enter into strategic partnerships to test Ripple’s capabilities to help their platforms, it seems plausible that other banks and financial outfits could do the same for ICON.

ICON Blockchain Comparison
ICON seeks to differentiate itself from other blockchains, such Ethereum and EOS, by adding features such as interchain connectivity, real time transactions, a decentralized exchange and smart contract versioning.

ICON Mainnet 1.0 Launched

On January 24th, 2018, the ICON Foundation successfully generated the Genesis block of the ICON Mainnet and minted all ICX. According to a company blog post,

The mainnet launch is a giant step towards achieving our vision — Hyperconnect the World. Clearly, this is exciting news for our team and community. However, we want to remind you that this is only the beginning, there is a lot more works to be done, and subsequent announcements will follow. The ICON Team will continue to perform tests and monitor the network until the official opening of ICON Mainnet for ICX Wallet release.

People who currently hold the ICX ERC20 token will soon be able to swap it for the native ICX token and the ICON Foundation has promised that a detailed token swap instructions will be published soon.

ICON Partnerships

In January, ICON announced a strategic partnership with Kyber Network, a top-100 token and decentralized exchange. According to their joint release,

“[ICON and Kyber Network] will closely work together to help employ scalable protocol of Kyber Network’s token exchange services and interconnect with other blockchains participating in the ICON network.”

In addition, ICON’s parent company, theloop, boasts an impressive list of corporate partners including Samsung, CoinOne, and Kyobo.

ICON Community

The ICON Foundation’s outreach and social media connectivity have increased along with ICX’s value. Their following includes over 11,000 Reddit subscribers and over 60,000 Twitter followers.

Where to Buy ICX

Currently, crypto investors can purchase ICX tokens from Binance, HitBTC, and Huobi. Moreover, the majority of its trading is occurring on Binance, which has had to temporarily halt new user registrations because of the high demand for access to their exchange platform.

ICON is currently developing an ICX wallet for the Chrome browser called the ICONex, but, despite rumblings on Reddit, it has yet to release the official details.

As the time of writing, ICON has a market cap of nearly $3.4 billion, which makes it the 15th most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap, according to the coin rankings.

Conclusion

At this point, ICON has all the makings of a initiative that could develop into the legitimate interconnected blockchain platform that it seeks to become.

The need to connect blockchains is both an enterprise problem in need of a solution and a scalability problem for other blockchain initiatives. Moreover, the sudden rise of the ICX token price will provide the ICON Foundation with the exposure necessary to attract more partnerships that can further accelerate the platform’s integration.

Of course, the best way to evaluate a coin project is to consider how likely the development team is to successfully accomplish the product roadmap and how adequately they are fulfilling their current promises. While those metrics won’t always be conveyed through the price of a digital token, it may help demystify the platform and whether or not it’s living up to its own high expectations.

Only time will tell whether ICON will be able to live up to the expectations of interconnecting all blockchains, but if it is successful, its future token price will certainly reflect that.

For more information about ICON, check out this short video (2:11) for a quick explainer of how it all works:

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Bill DeLisle

Bill is a writer who frequently covers cryptocurrency and the fintech movement. He lives in the Indianapolis area with his wife and two kids.

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