The Internet Protocol: DFINITY’s Answer to Web Decentralization

DFINITY’s Internet Computer is a public blockchain network that aims to disintermediate commercial cloud service providers by replacing the traditional IT stack.


DFINITY’s Internet Computer is an Ethereum competitor that claims to be able to scale infinitely and function at web speed.

The Internet Computer is a network of sub-blockchains administered by an ownerless master blockchain that is aimed to enrich the Internet with an innovative type of serverless cloud capabilities. It can host everything from DeFi platforms to enterprise IT systems.


What is DFINITY? Team, Foundation, and Goals

DFINITY’s Internet Computer — a public blockchain network hosted by a collection of independent data centers around the world — promises to disintermediate huge IT corporations by replacing the traditional IT stack.

The Internet Computer Protocol (ICP), which underpins DFINITY’s Internet Computer, allows the software to run on the internet in a distributed manner rather than on servers controlled by huge corporations.

This allows developers to create programs that are not owned, controlled, or censored by a single party, allowing for the open, decentralized rebuilding of popular internet services like social media applications.

DFINITY says that its Internet Computer is scalable and performs at web speed, with certain functions requiring milliseconds to complete. The Network Nervous System (NNS), an open autonomous algorithmic software system, governs the network, and ICP is its native utility token (previously known as DFN).

The DFINITY Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Zug, Switzerland, created the Internet Computer.

After completing a significant study into blockchain from 2014 to 2015, the company’s CEO and principal scientist Dominic Williams came up with the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP). Williams devoted a lot of work during that time studying various consensus techniques, such as Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT).

He came to believe that many of these techniques had severe weaknesses, therefore he created the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) to improve on BFT and similar technologies.

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Use Cases for The Internet Computer (ICP)

The DFINITY Internet Computer is intended for a variety of applications, including Decentralized Finance (DeFi) platforms, enterprise IT systems, and websites.

DFINITY debuted LinkedUp, an open professional profile network, and CanCan, a video-sharing social networking service, in 2020 to show how popular social media apps may be rebuilt to be decentralized and ownerless.

DFINITY has open-sourced the projects’ code for developers who want to expand on them, despite the fact that it has no plans to continue developing them.

Fleek, which allows websites to be developed on the Internet Computer, and Capsule Social, a censorship-resistant social media network, are two projects currently developing on DFINITY.

The Internet Computer’s Network Structure

The DFINITY Internet Computer network is made up of four hierarchically structured building blocks. The standalone data centers that house network nodes are located at the bottom of the pyramid. Internet Computer nodes, unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum, must meet a minimal set of technological requirements, hence not every computer or system can host a node.

Subnets, a type of blockchain structure that can be merged with other blockchains, are hosted by nodes collectively.

Internet Computer subnets, unlike other blockchains, do not use a Proof of Work or Proof of Stake consensus technique to execute transactions. Subnets instead communicate with one another via chain key technology, which enables the Internet Computer to complete transactions that change the status of smart contracts in one to two seconds.

Chain key technology works by dividing the execution of smart contract functions into two types (query calls and update calls) — a “divide and conquer” strategy that improves the ICP crypto network’s overall efficiency and speed.

Software canisters, which DFINITY defines as “smart contracts that scale,” is hosted on subnets. To fuel computations and memory management, software canisters employ “cycles,” a method similar to Ethereum’s gas.

ICP tokens are used to construct cycles, and their value is nearly constant, ensuring that the cost of computing remains constant. When cycles are consumed, they are burnt to reflect operating costs such as hardware, energy, storage, and bandwidth.

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NNS and ICP Coin: Cryptoeconomics

The Network Nervous System of the DFINITY Internet Computer manages numerous aspects of the network, including its structure, economics, and which data centers can host nodes.

The NNS is a master blockchain that operates independently of a central authority and contains a public key that confirms all ICP transactions. On-demand, it also builds new subnets.

ICP tokens can be used in two ways: first, they can be locked inside the NNS to establish “neurons” that can vote on governance proposals and earn voting rewards, and second, they can be turned into cycles to fuel computing done by canisters.

Your voting power and rewards will be proportional to the number of tokens locked when you first lock them in the NNS to create a neuron. Each month, there is a maximum award for voting, and the NNS keeps track of your neuron’s participation to decide your share of the prize.

You can even instruct your neuron to vote on your behalf by instructing it to follow other neurons you trust.

You must “dissolve” your neuron in order to withdraw your tokens. The “dissolve delay” defines how much time you have until you may dissolve your neuron and release your tokens. You can increase your dissolve delay to gain greater voting power and rewards.

Neurons must have a dissolve delay of between six months and eight years in order to vote. Your voting power and incentives rise as your neuron gets older.

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The Internet Computer: To DFINITY and Beyond 

Because it does not hold itself to the same norms of decentralization in its nodal network and consensus process as open, public networks like Ethereum and Bitcoin, DFINITY’s unique infrastructure unlocks the benefits of speed and efficiency.

DFINITY is especially helpful for limited interaction networks and uses cases appropriate for businesses, rather than for general public use that necessitates more fair access. DFINITY has launched a wholly unique iteration of blockchain technology that is brimming with utility and potential.

While many blockchain networks are slight variations of one another built to achieve incremental gains in utility, DFINITY has launched a wholly unique iteration of blockchain tech that is brimming with utility and potential.

DFINITY’s Internet Computer could help solve some of the industry’s most pressing difficulties, such as security and scalability issues, as well as monopolization of internet services.

In the race to create the infrastructure for the future generation of the internet, DFINITY is one of many projects striving to solve these concerns.