On Thursday, December 2, ICON strategist Scott Smiley was interviewed on Paul Barron Network, a cryptocurrency-centered Youtube channel with over 235 thousand subscribers. They covered topics including ICON’s evolution, BTP, NFTs, blockchain adoption and challenges. You can check out the video below, or read on for a written summary if you’d prefer to skim the topics that way.

ICON ICX interview | A Decentralized Aggregator Network

Evolution of ICON

The interview began with a brief introduction of what ICON is and what they are trying to achieve as a whole. To which Smiley outlined the change of focus from ICON’s inception to its current situation:

“ICON is an interoperability project. It always has been and it’s always been our focus,” Smiley said. “I’d say in the earlier days, in 2017 when the project first launched, it was much more of an enterprise focus, where the ICON public blockchain was meant to be a bridge of communication between various enterprise blockchains. All in the industry have seen that enterprise adoption of public blockchain technology — and even private blockchain technology — has been a little slower than everyone had expected. So, over the last year, maybe longer, we’ve pivoted to make more of a focus on just straight up interoperability — public blockchain to public blockchain communication. And that’s exactly what ICON stands for these days.”


BTP (Blockchain Transmission Protocol) is ICON’s generalizable interchain communication protocol that can be used for a number of different things. BTP itself could be thought of as a bridge between networks, but Smiley explained that a better analogy might be to think of it as a web: “If you deploy BTP smart contracts onto one network, it’s immediately connected to all other networks that have our BTP service integrated.”

BTP’s initial use case was for token transfers between networks but “the architecture is easily extendable to many different use cases,” Smiley said. For example, data transfer and querying data from different networks would be easily implemented. BTP can also be used to query other networks and if you find the yield on an asset on one network, the same process can be repeated across many other networks and ultimately the entity can decide to deploy capital to whichever one has the highest yield at any given time.


Paul also asked about ICON’s involvement with NFTs and what the benefits of the NFT ecosystem are. As a reader of The Iconist, you already know about ICON’s two NFT marketplaces, Craft Network and NFT Bazaar. Smiley believes that the major value of Craft Network is the community it creates. Specifically, the mini communities that have formed around the larger ICON community. ICON also partnered with Fandiem (a nonprofit-focused fundraising platform) which could bring new opportunities to the ICON NFT ecosystem given its involvement with sports, musicians and creators.

Blockchain Adoption and Challenges

The interview ended on the topic of blockchain adoption and challenges. Regarding blockchain adoption, Smiley agrees with Paul that user experience will be the game changer.

“User experience will really be the game changer that brings in the next crop of users,” Smiley said. “This next group of users, they’re not going to care what blockchain they’re on, they’re not even going to want to know. Would they even want to know that they’re using blockchain at all?”

He used cloud servers as a good analogy. They’re used in so many web services nowadays. But for the people watching a Youtube video, do they care at all what cloud servers the site is using? Are they even remotely interested in the difference between AWS and Digital Ocean?

“I do view blockchain as a backend technology and user experience. Abstracting away that piece of it is going to be extremely important,” Smiley said. “And ICON, with our interoperability technology, allows you to interact with all these different networks without even knowing, combined with a good interface to use that.” He cited Bridge as a good example.

Lastly, of all the challenges the blockchain market is facing right now, Smiley believes legislation is the biggest challenge. 

“The ever-changing, evolving and nebulous regulatory environment certainly isn’t enjoyable to work with, but that’s part of being on the frontier of new technology,” Smiley said. “I did just say it’s not enjoyable, but it does add a special challenge and sort of excitement to the job seeing all of this panning out live in front of me. Seeing new regulations put out, seeing senators actually putting an effort to adjust the latest language and the infrastructure bill about what a broker is — this is the type of stuff I’m actually starting to find very interesting. There’s going to be a ton of changes in legislation coming and being at the forefront of this industry can be stressful, but it also adds an element of excitement to the job for sure,” he said.