The purpose of ICON project is to unite all blockchains into a single network. Each project in this network has almost complete autonomy: it can have its own cryptocurrency, set its own rules within its own blockchain, use its own consensus building algorithm. All crypto projects that wish to join are united on a single decentralized platform called ICON Republic. In addition to possibility of creating a blockchain network within another blockchain network, third parties can create their own DApps that can interact with communities and with each other, or to simply be autonomous.
ICON is a project developed by Korean company Theloop. Theloop engineering team began its research and development in June 2015. Theloop is a joint venture established between DAYLI and three Korean universities. Theloop's parent company is Dayli Financial Group (a platform for financial and technical startups in Korea that has collected more than $100 million from venture capital companies).
Theloop heads four blockchain consortium, including Korea's largest Blockchain Consortium, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world, consisting of 25 companies, including Samsung Securities, Hana Financial Group, Korea Investment & Securities, and others.
DAYLI owns DAVinCI brand — it's an artificial intelligence consisting of four solutions, each of which performs its tasks: intelligent predictions, reporting automation, innovation in working with customers and trade, working with "Big Data". DAVinCI is being already used by the largest world famous financial institutions. The role of AI in ICON is to study various indicators and variables for the optimal distribution of reward for nodes and to achieve full decentralization.
One-time issue of ICX tokens in the amount of 400'230'000 coins was made.
Distribution of emitted tokens:
ICO was held on September 20, 2017. During the first 6 hours, the target hard cap was collected in the amount of 150,000 ETH ($42.7 million).
Distribution of funds collected on ICO:
Additional emission of tokens will be carried out in the end of the cycle of 15'552'000 blocks (approximately 1 year). The annual rate of the additional emission of ICX will be determined by the value of logistic function depending on the activity of network participants, but the total can be further adjusted in a certain range based on consensus between C-Reps nodes (for more details on these nodes see the "Architecture" section). The parameter is set so that the maximum speed of additional ICX emission does not exceed 20%. More details about this mechanism can be found in White Paper of the project.
The transaction fee is currently set at 0.01 ICX. All transaction fees are accumulated in a special store — Public Treasury, and then distributed as a reward between participating in the network nodes.
In June 20, 2018 the exchange of tokens began. Tokens which were originally issued in ERC-20 standard, were exchanged to ICON mainnet tokens with the rate 1:1 (1 ERC20 ICX token = 1 mainnet ICX coin). The details of the exchange are in the official announcement.
ICON uses its own LFT (Loop Fault Tolerant) consensus building algorithm. This is an improved Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) algorithm that contributes fast processing of a large number of transactions in real time by creating trusted nodes groups. It is also possible to set the number of votes allocated to such group, that allows to create different versions of consensus building system. The main goal is a final consensus without forks.
More details about the algorithm can be found in the article on ICON project website.
ICON is based on loopchain, which is a high-performance blockchain (Theloop product), which can make transactions in real time (in the project documentation this phrase is used to indicate that the blockchain has high performance, see "Performance and scalability" for details) and supports smart contracts.
SCORE (Smart Contract on Reliable Environment) is an environment for performing advanced smart contracts in loopchain, which provides realization of high-performance contracts directly in the working environment of the node without a separate virtual machine (VM). SCORE is easy to deploy and can be created for different applications, because it is executed separately from the basic processes of blockchain.
ICON is a network in which various independent blockchain communities connect through specific nodes to form a larger community, or ICON Republic. In ICON, the network that forms the "republic" is called Nexus, and the connecting nodes (C-Rep) are configured as portals through which the blockchains, connected to Nexus, can quickly and reliably transmit tokens and various transactions.
Nexus is a blockchain based on loopchain technology, which uses LFT (Loop Fault Tolerant) consensus building algorithm. Nexus can connect to another network equivalent to Nexus, and this allows the blockchain networks to scale and expand.
The portals are nodes of Nexus network and are connected to it through Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP). Depending on the structure of connecting blockchain, the portal can be organized by one or several nodes.
Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP) provides the ability to transfer transactions between independent blockchains connected to Nexus through the corresponding portals. Inside Nexus the transfer of transactions from one blockchain to another is carried out through notary channels. Nexus nodes with voting rights for notary channels have several channels, where the Light Client of each blockchain, connected to Nexus, is considered as one channel. The notary channel is implemented on the basis of multi-channel loopchain function. It can identify transactions, that are confirmed by corresponding blockchains, through the Light Client of blockchain that is connected to Nexus.
This structure works like Internet, which connects each computer into one network, creating a "Network of Networks".
Social components of ICON network:
ICON is the first blockchain project with official support from Korea government.
ICX is utility token, which means it does not fall under SEC restrictions.
Mechanisms and principles of emission - 2 points out of 3 (the possible 20% of inflation looks too high).
Blockchain (architecture and consensus building mechanism) - 4 points out of 4.
Licensing and legal aspects - 3 points out of 3.
The outlook is positive. The own high-performance blockchain and the support of Korea government make the ICON project very attractive.
Multi-channel network provides management of many tasks at the same time, for each task a separate channel can be configured. The system has a modular architecture, and each module provides high scalability.
Loopchain technology supports real-time transaction processing. Unfortunately, White Paper on loopchain is only available in Korean, so there is no way to get information about the performance of basic blockchain from the source. However, according to available information in the network, the speed is 6000-9000 TPS. This is a high figure for a blockchain with such functionality, however, under high load or when attaching a blockchain with higher performance, "in real time" definition may not correspond to reality.
As mentioned above, ICON network is designed to provide interaction between different Communities that can work both on ICON blockchain and on their own.
There are 4 types of interactions in ICON network:
Since ICON unites blockchains, each of which has its own cryptocurrency, this system can not do without an exchange platform. ICON uses DEX (Decentralized Exchange) for this purpose. It is the decentralized trading platform, transactions on which are carried out automatically. DEX is based on the platform token — ICX, it allows to make transactions between different cryptocurrencies, determining the exchange rate through a reserve based on Bancor protocol. More details about the mechanism of work can be found in White Paper of the project.
Nexus is not only an intermediary between connecting blockchains, but is itself a full-grade blockchain that functions through ICX token. For transactions within Nexus, so-called public channels are used, that are open to all network members. These channels are implemented through multi-channel loopchain function. Users participating in a public channel can not only participate in ICX transactions, but can also create and use various DApp. The concept of DApp in a public channel is similar to the concept of Ethereum, but Ethereum uses compiled codes in the transaction data that are executed by virtual machine (VM), and Nexus public channel DApp develops and registers in the application store in advance; nodes that want to participate in the transaction must download and install DApp from the store to use them.
The nodes participating in the open channel are divided into nodes based on a light client, which can register and confirm transactions, and full nodes that check transactions. In the case of a full node, certain qualifications are required because it plays a key role in ICX transactions, smart contract operations and DApp operations. Only nodes that meet certain requirements within ICON Republic can become a full node by voting of each C-Rep.
ICX tokens, collected in the form of commissions for transactions from participants, will be provided to full nodes and light clients, acting as incentives for each principal to generate blocks and verify transactions.
Another type of channel in Nexus is a representation channel, it consists of C-Rep nodes that have the right to vote. This is a consensus system that manages Nexus network. In a representation channel, it is possible to manage node policies for adding and removing nodes in Nexus, correcting ICX transaction fee, managing the selection and removal of nodes from the notary channel and the representation channel.
Also ICONick service is available in the network — a convenient "wallet identifier" used in ICON network. It allows to use own unique alias instead of long and complex wallet address by default for easy transfer or exchange of ICX.
Intersectoral interaction, in which ICON does not affect the functioning of its individual members:
Insurance. Collecting of information about the patient among all medical institutions that have data on him, and communication with insurance company to allocate funds for treatment. Major insurance companies and hospitals in South Korea have launched a pilot to include Theloop blockchain technology in their insurance claims and payments processes. The pilot project was implemented through SCORE (the environment for implementation of smart contracts based on loopchain) and began in December 2017 initially to choose insurance products. The project received a government grant from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning in April 2017 and is expected to gain additional impulse for development through adding more products and inviting other insurance companies to the consortium.
The capital market. Korea Financial Investment Blockchain Consortium is the first industry consortium of blockchains supported by 25 securities companies. It leads the innovation in domestic capital markets using loopchain, blockchain technology developed by Theloop. Chain ID, launched in October 2017, is the first service of Consortium. Based on the Blockchain Signature Infrastructure (BSI) technology, Chain ID is able to authenticate, and also generate and verify digital signatures in the absence of third-party control. Consortium plans to expand its blockchain services to other capital market processes, including post-trading and commerce, through SCORE — the environment for implementation of smart contracts based on loopchain.
Health care. Precision Medical Hospital Information System (P-HIS) is the largest consortium in the field of healthcare blockchain in Korea, to which large hospitals join and Ioopchain will provide the basic technology for this network. This project aims to create a network for the reliable transmission of accurate medical data and the global dissemination of medical data on global networks, including OHDSI (Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics).
The active development of ICON accounts for 2017. However, individual mechanisms and ideas have being tested and worked out by developers since 2015. The main network was launched on January 24, 2018.
On June 16, 2018, an incident occurred: due to a small error in the code, the entire ICON network was temporarily paralyzed. In the onlyFromWallet modifier that enables / disables the ability to send ICX tokens, instead of the wrong part of the "! =" code, "==" had to be used. The same error was already detected earlier in the Yggdrash (YEED) altcoin network, then this led to the fact that no one could transfer tokens for several hours. In the case of ICON, this caused the ICX trade stoppage on the Binance crypto exchange, as well as work with deposits in this cryptocurrency. One of the founders of ICON called it a minor mistake, but in fact, it led to a fall in the rate of token.
For storage and exchange of ICX tokens and cryptocurrency of other blockchains participating in the project, the team developed its own ICONex wallet. It is available as an extension for Chrome browser and applications for mobile devices running on iOS and Android. In addition to official client, any service can be used, that supports ERC20 standard, for example Mist, Myetherwallet or Trezor (only for those tokens that have not yet been exchanged for the tokens of the main network).
ICON (ICX) is fully compatible with traditional blockchains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as with many other blockchains networks.
Performance and scalability - 2 points out of 2.
Built-in mechanisms and functions - 3 points out of 3.
Product - 3 points out of 4 (minus one point for a failure in the work of network because of the error, which has already been previously found in other network).
Integration options - 1 point out of 1.
The outlook is positive. The main network has been launched and works successfully in general. During six months of operation there was stated only one failure. For the project, which uses a new technology this is a good indicator. The network has a quite high performance and scalability rate.
ICX tokens were listed on exchanges on October 27, 2017 at the rate of $0.4. ICON cryptocurrency is mainly traded on Binance, Huobi and OKEx. On March 21, 2018, the token was added to the list of the largest South Korea exchanges — Bithumb and Upbit. The daily trading volume of ICX is more than $40 million, of which more than 75% accounts for Binance.
According to coinmarket.com as of June 20, 2018, ICX trading on exchanges is distributed as follows:
Among other exchanges, the volume of trading on which is less than 1%: Bitbns, CoinTiger, COSS, DragonEX, Gate.io, HitBTC, Hotbit, Huobi, IDEX, LATOKEN.
The maximum capitalization was reached on January 10, 2018, the capitalization on that day exceeded $4.7 billion. At the moment (June 20, 2018), the capitalization is a little bit over $818 million and the project takes the 22nd place by capitalization in the list of all cryptocurrencies.
Dynamics of capitalization from the moment of listing the token on exchanges:
In just a week, after the official access on the exchange, the rate of cryptocurrency has increased by more than 19%.
The peak of the price happened on January 10, 2018. Then the cost of cryptocurrency went up to $12.47. After that, the rate of the token was only falling.
After the network failure on June 16, 2018, ICX has lost 2% of its cost, falling to $2.04, and on June 18 its rate was already $1.96, it has dropped in 3.3% in 24 hours. At the moment (June 20, 2018) the price of the token is $ 2.11.
Token price dynamics:
Distribution - 1 point out of 3 (despite the fact that the token is presented in a large number of platforms, two-thirds of trading accounts for a single exchange).
Capitalization dynamics - 3 points out of 4 (at the beginning of entering the market there was observed high dependence on the market movements).
Price dynamics of tokens - 2 points out of 3 (at the beginning of entering the market there was observed high dependence on the market movements).
The outlook is neutral. In the last quarter the token demonstrates the low volatility. But there are several factors that do not allow to make a positive outlook: a big trading volume on the single platform, a possible inflation rate up to 20%, the lack of organic growth after the launch of network. It's necessary to follow how an additional issue of tokens a year after the launch will affect the token price. The fall of the rate is predicted, but in fact it will depend on the percentage of inflation that will be selected and on the state of the market at that time. Also it's needed to follow the distribution of trading volume on the exchanges.
White Paper of the project is both in Korean and English languages and contains all the necessary information about ICON network and ICX token. There is thesis information about loopchain technology, on which blockchain of the project is built. But there is a separate White Paper on loopchain, although it is available only in Korean.
On the official ICON website, in the Projects section, Business Roadmap is presented, which is divided in various sectors: security, insurance, banks, universities, hospitals. This Road Map has a small planning horizon: maximum until 2019.
There is no Road Map on development on the official website. On January 30, 2018 at the summit in Seoul, the team has presented a Road Map for 2018:
It can be found in the project blog in the report on the holding of this summit. There is also a small planning horizon — only until the end of the year.
Both Road Maps are not detailed, there are no mechanisms to monitor the progress of the team's fulfillment of project obligations.
White paper - 5 points out of 5.
Road map - 2 points out of 5 (small planning horizon, weak detailing).
The outlook is neutral. White paper of the project has a quite high quality, but the quality of Road Map is very poor: small planning horizon; in order to be aware of development work, it's needed to regularly read the project blog where the team plans in this area are being published and the facts of the specific steps are being announced.
ICON team has about 30 engineers, developers, designers and business development specialists. The base of the project is Min Kim — the founder of number of companies, including DAYLI Financial Group.
Among the members of the team can be identified:
ICON also has a professional team of advisers, including:
Members of ICON constituent council are KJ Eee, JH Kim, Jay Kim, Hoon Lee, Min Kim and Guido Schmitz-Krummacher. They are experts in the field of artificial intelligence, blockchain, information security, financial analysis and entrepreneurship.
A complete list of the team and advisors with a detailed description of their experience and competencies can be found on the official website.
The project has a large team, whose members have experience in the field of: blockchain technology, creating artificial intelligence, finance, cybersecurity and other areas related to software development.
ICON is supported by large investment funds, such as Kenetic Capital, Pantera Capital, CM Crypto Capital, Coinsilium, MIND FUND.
Daily Finance Group, the parent company of developer, has announced a partnership with Ripple in September 2017. DAYLI Intelligence provides blockchain solutions and AI-based technology infrastructure for financial institutions and will work with SBI Ripple Asia to provide instant cross-border payments between customers in Japan and South Korea, as well as on other global markets.
Aion, Wanchain and ICON had formed Blockchain Interoperability Alliance (BIA). The Alliance establishes common standards for inter blockchain communication. Each member hopes to establish himself as the dominant player in different regions. Aion focuses on the North American market, Wanchain — on China, and ICON focuses on the South Korea market. Aion is a third-generation blockchain that is designed to connect and unite other platforms, as well as to manage applications. ICON aims to become the largest decentralized network connecting blockchains without intermediaries. Wanchain aims to create a new distributed financial infrastructure, with the goal of uniting the world's isolated digital assets.
At the moment, the company-developer of ICON has agreements on cooperation with 25 brokers, 6 hospitals, 3 universities and several banks.
The company-developer of Theloop project cooperates with leading financial institutions, offering such services as authentication system, settlement systems without intermediary agencies and trading systems offering real-time operations. It also works with insurance industry, to automate insurance claims and payments.
On May 14, 2018, it was announced about the beginning of cooperation between ICON and LINE PLUS, a global social platform with more than 200 million users (MAU) worldwide. The companies have jointly founded Unchain to create blockchain for LINE network. Unchain project is aimed on developing of various services for decentralized applications to expand blockchain ecosystem. Unchain will create a blockchain ecosystem, fueled by tokens economy, where users will be rewarded for their contribution to network development. The services of decentralized applications, developed with the help of ICON and Unblock, will be devoted to blockchain researches and speeding up the development of industry. It is expected that this joint venture with LINE will facilitate the connection of a significantly larger number of users to ICON network.
Also among the partners of the project are:
MME — Swiss business consulting company for solving legal and tax issues. Supports the entry and growth of foreign business in Switzerland. MME consultants are experts in developing effective user solutions for international investors.
The number of team - 2 points out of 2.
Team structure - 3 points out of 3.
Team competencies - 3 points out of 3.
Affiliated persons - 2 points out of 2.
The outlook is positive. Large and experienced team, large investors, a very wide partners range which is constantly growing.
Another competitor is Hyperledger Fabric and R3 Corda, which are leading in the direction of implementing corporate network technology in various industries, including finance, logistics and public sector.
Technically any blockchain that supports smart contracts can be considered a competitor to ICON to some extent. However, few can provide the same functionality. Although the idea of uniting crypto projects is not innovative. For example, B2BX and Liquid Plus aim to unite cryptocurrencies exchanges to increase liquidity. CardStack is going to solve the problem of integrating several blockchains into one project, creating its decentralized Internet and open source blockchain platform, which will allow to merge several blockchains within one network. OneLedger is a protocol with which it is possible to interact between different blockchains. Polkadot and Cosmos claim to become a "blockchain of blockchains." Raiden has involved Interledger Protocol (ILP) to join seven blockchains, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP. The list of similar projects is quite large, since the idea of ensuring interaction between different blockchains is a logical step in the conditions of the rapid blockchain ecosystem development and the emergence of a huge number of blockchain projects.
Direct competitors - 2 points out of 4 (high competition).
Industry competitors - 2 points out of 4 (high competition).
Project monitoring of competition - 2 points out of 2.
The outlook is neutral. In spite of high competition, ICON has a number of competitive advantages, including: experienced team, working network, the support of Korea government, high-performance technology.
Popularity of the project in social networks:
The project has a large and active thread on bitcointalk, where the team representatives respond promptly to questions from users.
Information about the network status can be seen in ICON Tracker.
As of June 21, 2018, only a little more than 8 thousand transactions were conducted in the network. Since the beginning of June, the number of transactions has not exceeded 62 per day:
The network has 40 C-Rep nodes registered, the total number of addresses is 6813, on one of which 16% of tokens are concentrated.
Initially, the token was released on Ethereum network, so it is also worthwhile to take into account etherscan.io data, according to which the holders of tokens are more than 36,000 addresses and more than 273 thousand transactions are made. Etherscan takes into account only transactions related to the movement of tokens issued for ICO, they do not reflect the activity associated with operation of main network.
ICON platform can also be used as a platform for ICO. Scheduled ICO on ICON: Stove Smilegate (Smilegate is a large gaming studio estimated at $5.9 billion by Forbes), Bluewhale (a block-center for freelancers economy), TINK (aggregator for social networks rating), Silkroad (the project that fights with fraud in the supply chain), Sentinel UPPSALA (decentralized intelligence security platform on blockchain that helps to identify and pursue hackers and unscrupulous members of blockchain) and AD4th (decentralized advertising platform that is a partner of major players of advertising industry in Korea).
The project that works in ICON network — DAYLI Intelligence, consists of more than a hundred employees, most of whom have contributed to the development of the project.
ICON is considered to be the leader in Korea cryptocurrency market with the largest network of blockchain projects, in which more than 40 enterprises operate in the field of insurance, financial and health services.
In particular, ICON is used by:
Also, ICON system is currently being tested by a dozen of other major Korean and foreign companies.
The team does not have high-profile names, its members are professionals in their field, known only in their professional areas and within the Asian market.
Citation, social networks - 3 points out of 3.
Usability / distribution - 1 point out of 2 (low activity in ICON main network, launched in the end of January 2018).
Projects based on technology - 3 points out of 3.
Famous persons in the team - 0 point out of 2.
The outlook is neutral. Despite the fact that ICON is considered to be leader in Korea cryptocurrency market with the largest network of blockchain projects, which includes 40 enterprises, the low activity in ICON main network confuses.
Rating. "ICON" evaluation: 54 points out of 70 - 77,14%. The outlook is positive.
The outlook is positive. A strong team, an interest to the project, a large number of partnerships, the own technology and support from both - a large national business, and the public, ICON has all the chances for success.
A wide variety of blockchains is being created around the world, adapted to this or that business in various fields, such as finance, public services, logistics, healthcare, IoT, energy, manufacturing and e-commerce. With the development and spread of blockchain technology of these projects it is expected there will appear more and more. Under such conditions, most tasks will be solved with the help of smart contracts within the project, and the role of many centralized agencies and intermediaries in each area will gradually decrease or disappear. It is expected that the changes will not only influence how the blockchain project works inside of itself, but will also fundamentally change the ways of working between blockchains. In general, most blockchains initially start with the goal of increasing the efficiency of work among internal participants, but in many cases they naturally develop in the direction of increasing transactions with the outside world. In this case, instead of processing external transactions through a separate centralized institution, the smart contract of each blockchain will become the subject of transaction, and the work will be processed through the connection between smart contracts. In centers that can appear as a result of the spread of blockchain technology, ICON aims to become a leader by being the first to unite communities for creating an environment in which all communities in ICON Republic can work in real time on the basis of smart contracts.
The advantages of the project are:
Official website: https://www.icon.foundation