ICON (ICX): A Deep Dive Into Its Public Blockchain Architecture and Utility


We look at the key components of the ICON (ICX) blockchain, including the notable consensus, staking, and delegation features of ICON 2.0.

Summary

To guarantee its integrity, openness, and longevity, the ICON Network employs a sophisticated technical design and governance mechanism.

It also includes Public Representatives (P-Reps), the Network Proposal System (NPS), and the Contribution Proposal System (CPS) as part of its governance system (CPS). The platform’s Delegated Proof-of-Contribution (DPoC) consensus mechanism and the ICON Incentives Scoring System (IISS), which decide coin incentive allocations for network participants, are key to ICON’s governance paradigm.

Finally, ICON 2.0: Batang provides various new cutting-edge technical innovations that will help the ICON Network grow faster.

Contents

Main Components of the ICON Network

The ICON Network is a trustless transactional system made up of human participants and technology parts that communicate with one another. The following are the major components that assure the ICON Network’s integrity, transparency, and longevity:

  • Public Representatives (P-Reps): P-Reps are in charge of the ICON Network’s governance and block production. Up to 100 P-Reps are presently supported by ICON. Each P-position Rep’s is decided by the number of votes received from currency holders, with one ICX (the ICON blockchain’s native token) equaling one vote.
  • ICONists: ICONists are voters who are rewarded for casting a vote and are in charge of electing P-Reps. This is especially essential because the voting process is a big aspect of the Delegated Proof of Contribution (DPoC) governance mechanism on the ICON blockchain. ICONists are rewarded for voting for P-Reps who contribute more to the ICON Network and support policies that they believe in.
  • Network Proposal System (NPS): The P-Reps are in charge of the NPS, which they use to develop new or alter existing network policies. P-Reps have the chance to sway ICONists by introducing significant ideas.
  • Contribution Proposal System (CPS): The CPS is a decentralized grant program run by the P-Reps of the network. Proposals are put to a vote, and P-Reps can sponsor or vote on them. The P-Rep receives additional benefits for sponsoring a proposal, but they must also provide ICX collateral equal to 10% of the budget if the proposal is harmful or unsuccessful.
  • Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP): Through the usage of BTP, ICON’s public blockchain aspires to be a hub of economic activity for both public and private networks. BTP is a one-of-a-kind interoperability architecture that doesn’t rely on trust, game theory, or network operator consensus. Smart contracts on the connected blockchains verify all data.
  • Relayers: Relayers are in charge of using the BTP to send messages between connected blockchains. They are critical to interoperability and are rewarded for their efforts by the network.

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A Closer Look at P-Reps

P-Rep nodes are used by the ICON Network to ensure transparency and efficient governance. P-Reps on the network build and verify blocks while also participating in ICON policy decisions.

There are 22 Main P-Reps and 78 Sub P-Reps in the ICON Network (100 in total).

To strengthen the network’s transparency, decentralization, and security, Proof of Stake (PoS) and associated consensus processes rely on nodes that stake the network’s cryptocurrency as collateral (or receive a delegation of stake).

ICON’s BFT-DPoS is no exception, as the network’s numerous node types rely on the same basic structure – each node is backed by the votes of its constituents.

The voters stake ICX tokens and delegate to validator nodes of their choice in this example. Because ICON is a permissionless network, new P-Rep candidates can be introduced at any moment. A total of 37 P-Rep node candidates are now competing to become one of the top 100 P-Reps that contribute to network validation.

The P-Reps are led by groups of software engineers, marketers, corporations, and other stakeholders who all contribute to the ICON project’s long-term vision.

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ICON Network’s Governance Structure

The ICON Network uses a consensus technique called Delegated Proof of Contribution(DPoC) as part of its governance framework.

ICX coin holders utilize their coins to stake and assign their governance power to the P-Reps through this procedure. The P-Reps can then use the delegation they’ve been given to vote in the Network Proposals System (NPS) and the Contribution Proposal System (CPS). There are various distinct types of proposals in the NPS.

The following are the most common proposal types:

  • Text Proposal: Used for agreeing on a direction before development.
  • Revision Proposal: A Revision Proposal is used to adopt new software after the production of a software update (i.e., development of what was agreed in a Text Proposal).
  • Step Price Proposal: Used to change the base transaction fee.
  • i_rep Proposal: P-Reps’ reward rate is adjusted using this variable. A higher i_rep results in more rewards and inflation, whereas a lower i_rep results in lower rewards and inflation.

In comparison to the NPS, the CPS is more open-ended. Anyone who wants to apply for a grant can do so by submitting a proposal to the CPS. The P-Reps will then vote on whether or not the grant should be approved.

Block rewards are used to fund the CPS. On the condition that they provide a good progress report, approved grants will receive monthly installments from the CPS. The approval bar is the same for both the Network Proposals System and the Contribution Proposals System.

They must receive more than 66 percent approval from both a stake-weighted vote and each P-Rep node’s individual vote (i.e., 1 P-Rep = 1 vote).

ICON Network’s Economic Structure

The ICON Network’s incentive system is the ICON Incentives Scoring System (IISS). Voters and P-Reps are rewarded by the IISS.

Depending on the percentage of the network that has voted, voters receive rewards ranging from 6% to 36%; more voters equals a lower reward rate. P-Reps are rewarded based on the number of votes they earn in comparison to the other P-Reps. All IISS prizes are made up of newly created ICX coins. All transaction fees on the ICON Network are burned to prevent this inflationary effect.

The long-term purpose of ICON is to achieve a deflationary environment, hence its economic balance is based on aggregate transaction fees and aggregate rewards.

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The Launch of ICON 2.0: Batang

The ICON Network is developed with programming languages that are targeted at mainstream developers who are creating scalable corporate systems, and it has undergone a series of updates to improve this trend.

ICON released the Gangnam testnet in October 2020, paving the way for the introduction of ICON 2.0: Batang, the company’s next-generation blockchain platform. ICON 1.0 was created entirely in Python and was mostly designed in 2017. ICON 2.0: Batang, on the other hand, is written in Golang. ICON 2.0 intends to improve cross-chain asset and data interoperability between the ICON Network and other major blockchain networks.

ICON 2.0 is set to debut in Q1 of 2021, with all data transfer from ICON 1.0 to ICON 2.0 expected to be completed by June of that year.

Here are some of the notable features of ICON 2.0: 

  • Java SCORE Executor and Java-based Virtual Machine (VM): ICON 2.0 will employ a cutting-edge virtual machine technology aimed at enhancing the network’s capabilities dramatically. Unlike the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which is written in the Ethereum-specific Solidity programming language, ICON’s new VM will be written on the more widely used Java programming language. The VM in ICON 2.0 is meant to securely construct smart contracts utilizing ICON’s SCORE (Smart Contract On Reliable Environment) smart contract framework, rather than the time-consuming smart contract auditing mechanism that developers had to deal with in ICON 1.0.
  • Fast Sync Technology: Fast Sync technology is introduced in ICON 2.0, allowing services to synch recent block data quickly, resulting in a better user experience.
  • Multi-Channel Technology: Multi-channel technology is a scalability enhancement framework that allows each decentralized application (dApp) created on ICON to act as a dedicated channel for that application (essentially its own blockchain). Channel chains will become more essential as more transactions are sent to the core network.
  • Improved Economic Structure: P-Rep nodes will be obliged to stake and risk an amount of ICX equal to 5% of their votes received (for example, if a P-Rep receives 100 votes, it must stake 5 ICX), further linking P-Reps with the network’s performance. P-Reps, Voters, Relayers, CPS, and any other smart contract accepted by the network will all receive rewards in clearly defined segments. This framework allows the network to allocate resources to a variety of future initiatives while keeping reward distribution logic on the smart contract layer and away from the primary blockchain layer. In ICON 2.0, BTP provides extra value to ICON’s economics framework (as mentioned above).

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