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What is the Internet Computer (ICP)?
The Internet Computer is the world’s first blockchain that runs at web speed with unbounded capacity. It also represents the third major blockchain innovation, alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum — a blockchain computer that scales smart contract computation and data, runs them at web speed, processes and stores data efficiently, and provides powerful software frameworks to developers. By making this possible, the Internet Computer enables the complete reimagination of software — providing a revolutionary new way to build tokenized internet services, pan-industry platforms, decentralized financial systems, and even traditional enterprise systems and websites. The project was founded in October 2016 by Dominic Williams, and attracted notable interest from the crypto community. DFINITY raised a total of $121 million from contributors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, SV Angel, Aspect Ventures, Electric Capital, ZeroEx, Scalar Capital, and Multicoin Capital, and several notable early Ethereum supporters. In 2018, over 50,000 registerter participants received ICP utility tokens in an airdrop. On December 18, 2020, DFINITY launched the alpha mainnet of the Internet Computer. In a final step towards decentralization, on May 10, 2021, DFINITY launched the Internet Computer into the public domain. This major milestone means that the internet now functions as a decentralized global computer — marked by the release of all of the Internet Computer’s source code into the public domain, as well as ICP utility token allowing tens of thousands of community members to govern the Internet Computer network.
Who Is The Founder of the Internet Computer?
Dominic Williams is the Founder and Chief Scientist of DFINITY. He is a crypto theoretician, responsible for inventing Threshold Relay, Probabilistic Slot Consensus, and other novel crypto techniques, serial entrepreneur, and early member of the Bitcoin and Ethereum technical communities. Previously, he was President and CTO of String Labs, an incubator for venture-backed crypto projects, early pioneer of DeFi at Mirror Labs, and Founder and CEO of Fight My Monster, a MMO game for children that scaled to millions of users. He also founded several startups such as System7, Airdocs and Smartdrivez. Graduated King’s College London 1st in Class in Computer Science.
What is the DFINITY Foundation?
The Internet Computer was incubated and launched by the DFINITY Foundation, a not-for profit scientific research organization based in Zurich, Switzerland, comprised of the world’s top cryptographers and distributed systems and programming language experts, with nearly 100,000 academic citations and 200 patents collectively. Notable technologists at DFINITY include: Jan Camenisch, PhD (VP of Research) – world-renowned cryptographer & privacy researcher, led IBM’s Cryptography / Research department for 19 years Andreas Rossberg, PhD (Principal Engineer and Researcher) – the co-creator of WebAssembly and former team lead for the Google Chrome V8 engine Ben Lynn, PhD (Sr Staff Engineer and Researcher) – world-renowned cryptographer and Google Engineer, the “L” in BLS cryptography, the key signature system being used in Ethereum 2.0 Jens Groth, PhD (Principal Researcher) – world-renowned cryptographer, known for pioneering non-interactive zero knowledge proofs Timo Hanke, PhD (Principal Researcher) – creator of AsicBoost, one of the few proven algorithmic optimizations for Bitcoin mining Paul Liu, PhD (Staff Engineer) – architected Intel’s Haskell compiler and received his PhD under Paul Hudak, a key designer of Haskell * Johan Georg Granström, PhD (Director of Engineering) – former Sr Staff Software Engineer at Google responsible for scaling YouTube system infrastructure After public launch on May 10, 2021, the DFINITY Foundation will now be one of many organizations committed to improving and maintaining the Internet Computer network.
What Makes the Internet Computer Unique?
The purpose of the Internet Computer is to extend the public internet, so it can also be the world’s compute platform. Today, the internet is a network that connects everybody and everything, but systems and services currently run from private infrastructure. The scientific breakthrough behind the Internet Computer is Chain Key Technology, which encompasses dozens of advanced technology such as novel Consensus, Non-Interactive Distributed Key Generation (NI-DKG), Network Nervous System (NNS), Internet Identity, etc. Chain Key Technology consists of a set of cryptographic protocols that orchestrate the nodes that make up the Internet Computer. It is one of the fundamental breakthroughs behind the Internet Computer, enabling it to have a single public key. This is a huge advantage because it allows any device, including smart watches and mobile phones, to verify the authenticity of artifacts from the Internet Computer. In contrast, this is not possible for traditional blockchains. The single public key is just the tip of the iceberg: Chain Key Technology is the engine that drives the Internet Computer and makes its operation possible. It allows for adding new nodes to form new subnets to scale the network infinitely; replacing faulty or crashed nodes with new ones without ever stopping; reviving subnets even if too many nodes within have failed; and upgrading the Internet Computer Protocol seamlessly, allowing the network to fix bugs and add new features. The DFINITY R&D team has invented a new noninteractive key resharing protocol. Each of the old signers only needs to broadcast a single message to the new signers. To ensure that this is done securely, many concepts from advanced cryptography are utilized, including encryption with forward secrecy and noninteractive zero-knowledge proofs. Because it is noninteractive, the way the key resharing protocol operates is ideal for an asynchronous environment, and the benefits include key preservation. Throughout the lifetime of a subnet, it is known by a single public key, and the other parties on the Internet Computer do not have to keep track of changing public keys.