If you’re part of the ICON community you likely already know all about consensus algorithms, hard (or soft) forks and smart contracts. And you’re probably familiar with terms like sharding, hashing and hyperledger.
However, can you explain what ICON is, including what it does and why, to your friend down at the pub? Can you deliver an ‘elevator pitch’ for ICON that makes sense to the average Joe?
Many of you have asked for just that and we’ve been working with the team at ICON to break it all down into plain English. Feel free to use these explanations as you see fit when you’re spreading the word about ICON.
ICON: The Pub Pitch
To understand ICON, first you need to grasp the basic concept of blockchain. Essentially, it’s a tamper-proof, transparent online ledger. Once information has been recorded on the blockchain it is permanently saved and cannot be changed. For example, if the record of an asset transfer (e.g. money, artwork or a house) is conducted on the blockchain, the details of that transfer are held safely forever.
How is that new?
Today, your bank manages your transfers and saves a record. Centralized systems like traditional banking depend on intermediaries (e.g. your bank) that are prone to mistakes, sabotage (e.g. hacks) and conflicting interests (e.g. high service fees). But blockchain eliminates the need for intermediaries. Instead, a global network of independent computers (what we call ‘nodes’) update and verify information on a single online ledger. This information is stored in ‘blocks’ and is secured forever in a ‘trustless’ environment. Trustless, because the system does not require people or centrally controlled entities to register or store information. Instead it’s controlled and protected using unhackable, unchangeable technology.
ICON has a mission to ‘hyperconnect the world’ utilizing developments in blockchain technology, including their own proprietary blockchain called loopchain. ICON imagines a world in which previously disconnected industries like healthcare, finance and education cooperate seamlessly and in real time to boost efficiencies, improve customer experiences, improve transparency and maximise sustainable revenue. The ultimate goal is to provide an underlying technology infrastructure upon which any product or service could be delivered and connect seamlessly to other complementary solutions and technologies. For example, a blockchain system might be set up that instantly calls you a taxi as soon as you settle your tab at this pub — and your taxi fare would be automatically charged back to your bill for the beers.
ICON’s doing great stuff like this already! To date (as of August 2019) 14 decentralised apps (called DApps in blockchain jargon) have partnered with ICON to develop real life use cases atop ICONLOOP. These include:
- AC3: Monetization platform for content creators and educators
- Airbloc Protocol: A protocol that monetizes personal data
- Blue Whale Foundation: A sharing/gig economy platform
- Cosmochain: A marketplace ecosystem for cosmetic goods and data
- DiscoverX: Blockchain-powered travel ecosystem
- LogisticsX: Offers traceable and verifiable last-mile logistics
- Mecacoin: Decentralized casino
- MixMarvel: LAYER2 gaming solution
- Somesing: World’s first karaoke service on blockchain
- Stayge One: Blockchain platform for the entertainment industry
- VELIC: Cryptocurrency management DApp
- weBloc: Decentralized advertising platform
- Zensports: Sports betting with cryptocurrency
- ICONbet: Decentralized gambling platform
ICON: The Crypto-Nerd Pitch
ICON is a blockchain network that aims to connect the real world to the crypto world. It is building a decentralized network that allows independent blockchains with different governances to transact with each other without the need for intermediaries. It interconnects enterprise (private) and public blockchains, as well as public to public blockchains. Essentially, ICON hopes to achieve a world where anyone can participate and connect to any blockchain, a world of true hyperconnectivity and seamless value and information exchange.
ICON’s ecosystem is rapidly growing, with 14 decentralized apps (DApps) being built on top of its network. It is accelerating mass adoption of blockchain by developing collaborations for blockchain-based solutions with major private and public sector institutions in Korea, with the ultimate goal of gradually reducing the role of centralized systems to bring about a paradigm shift in the way that technology facilitates the seamless, transparent and efficient delivery of a full range of products and services across the full spectrum of industry verticals. Furthermore ICON serves as the public chain for their very own private blockchain called ICONLOOP, which is also proactively forming important use-cases for many government and corporate organizations. A few notable examples include:
- Seoul Metropolitan Government: Working on a number of projects
- broof: Blockchain certificate issuance, used by Seoul Metro
- myID: digital identification service, Financial Services Commission (FSC)-approved
- World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization: Smart city project collaboration
- International Telecommunication Union (UN): Collaboration agreement signed
ICON has its own token — ICX — and a fully decentralized governance model. ICX holders can stake their tokens to vote for public representatives, community representatives and officially subsidized ICON projects. Furthermore, all community members who take part in staking — both voters and delegates — as well as all DApps built on the network stand to gain ICX as a reward for their contributions to the ICON Republic. Staking and delegating starts this August, with the platform making a groundbreaking move to be fully decentralized this September.
Having a short ICON pitch at the ready can be invaluable for ICONists looking to convince more people to get involved in the ICON revolution and support one of the world’s most ambitious blockchain projects. As the general public slowly comes to grips with the phenomenal opportunities presented by blockchain, those projects that present clear use cases will be those that win their respective markets. You, ICONists, are an important part of the ICON revolution, and we’re here to help you understand the ICON platform, so you can convince friends, family and fools about the potential of blockchain and enter discussions about ICON, armed with knowledge to answer any questions that might get thrown at you.
To help further, we’ve compiled a short list of useful links about blockchain and ICON for further reading.
- To better understand blockchain, check out this video of an expert explaining blockchain in 5 levels of increasing complexity:
- Here’s a great video resource to get anyone started on ICON: