“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Buckminster Fuller
When I first stumbled upon the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP), I could not see its potential. It had just been released to the market, and I wasn't even sure it could be considered truly a cryptocurrency. After drowning myself in the subreddits, FAQ, developer forums, and DSCVR (A decentralized alternative to Reddit, running on ICP blockchain), I realized just how robust ICP actually is for a public blockchain. Thanks to my research, I think I can simplify your introduction to ICP and show you how to get started using it.
Tutorial - Introduction
I won’t be talking much about how ICP works. Instead, I will talk about how I use it. Therefore, I recommend you all read the FAQ answered by DFINITY and get familiar with some of the terminology. In addition, this illustration by the Internet Computer Association gives a glimpse into ICP's infrastructure.
What is the Internet Computer?
Creating an Internet Identity
The Internet Identity blockchain authentication system enables you to sign in securely and anonymously to dapps on the Internet Computer.
To fully enjoy the ICP dapps and services, create an Internet identity with a few simple steps.
To create an Internet Identity, you need a device with a security authentication feature (a security key like Yubikey or biometrics: fingerprint/face ID). Identities can be used across multiple devices, which can be authenticated based on the authentication mechanism of the device. Once you create your Internet Identity, you can add as many devices as you want.
Steps to create an Internet Identity
Open your browser (at the moment, only a few browsers are supported - Chrome, Firefox, and Safari)
- Go to identity.ic0.app to create your internet identity
- Click on register with a new identity - Enter your device’s name (mine is Bumblebee). Then click register
- Then select your choice of authentication mode and authenticate either with your security key (Yubikey) or biometrics/device password and Confirm Registration. The rest of the process should be self-explanatory.
- You will be provided with your Internet Identity number. Note the number, and it may be saved in the browser autofill for faster authentication (if you lose the number and the device, you can only recover it using recovery mode). Press continue; you will be directed to a warning page that asks you to Set Up Account Recovery.
- Continue and choose your recovery option. You can select either Seed Phrase and/or a Security Key ( if you have one).
- You can also set the recovery mode whenever you want by logging into identity.ic0.app, where you can also change your seed phrase or security key whenever you want to manage the devices authorized by your particular Internet Identity.
- I chose a seed phrase as my recovery option, and a seed phrase was provided to me. Save it, then click on copy - then press continue. Make sure you save your seed phrase. Even if you lose it, you can still change your seed phrase by logging into identity.ic0.app using existing devices.
- Press continue. Tada! Now You have an Internet Identity. With just your Internet Identity and authentication, you can create accounts in DeFi or decentralized social media and dive into the ICP ecosystem.
- Take your Internet Identity for a test drive. Log in and explore the NNS UI or check out DSCVR.
Getting Started with the Internet Computer
With your Internet Identity, you can dive right into using services on ICP. The mainnet was launched recently and many services are still in development, but a few have entered alpha or beta testing. However, ICP can scale exponentially with an increasing number of nodes, adoption, and usage. It can run smart contracts at Web speed and scale amazingly well - well enough for developers to build a Web service on the blockchain itself. This opens lots of new opportunities for developers and entrepreneurs to build services on ICP.
I find myself using DSCVR a lot and enjoy meeting new users who are joining every day. DSCVR is a public internet forum that runs entirely on a blockchain. Yes, social media running entirely on a blockchain is fascinating! With the security of the blockchain and user sovereignty, thanks to decentralization, it feels liberating to use social media where your data is completely yours.
A completely decentralized social news aggregator platform running on the IC
Take a look at DSCVR, browse it, and use it. It’s as simple as it gets. DSCVR is a decentralized news aggregator analogous to reddit and with a few steps, you can create your profile using your Internet Identity and start posting/commenting or upvoting content. At the time of writing, DSCVR has around 4,500+ daily users and 55,000+ posts and comments. Users earn tokens for their contributions, which can then be used to govern the platform.
The founder of DSCVR stated that there will be tokenization, confirming that it will be an Open Internet Service. Tokens can be used to govern the platform using the Service Nervous System (a smaller version of the NNS). To learn more about it, hop on to DSCVR and start browsing or posting. At the time of writing, DSCVR is running entirely on a canister and does not depend on any cloud services for its functions.
The Entrepreneur’s Journey - Explains how the open internet services can be tokenized and therefore monetized decentrally.
Did you know that three mining pools make up more than 51% of the Ethereum Network? And around 61% of the nodes run on centralized Web cloud services such as Amazon, whereas ICP runs entirely on nodes hosted by independent data centers that are approved by the Network Nervous System - in other words, they are governed by the community. ICP can adapt and evolve owing to the Network Nervous System, thus there is no need for ICP 2.0 (I love ETH, I have nothing against ETH, but it requires a fundamental redesign to overcome the challenges of speed and scalability). Although there is FUD around ICP price at present, the DFINITY team members often address doubts and FUD in r/dfinity subreddit.
OpenChat (Alpha Version): A Truly Decentralized Alternative to WhatsApp
OpenChat is an end-to-end text messaging service, which runs entirely on canister smart contracts installed on the blockchain. The alpha version supports up to 10,000 users. OpenChat can scale up to millions of users while being free to use for everyday users. This is possible through tokenization. When OpenChat becomes an open internet service, the platform can be governed through tokens using the Service Nervous System, just like how NNS governs the IC as a whole.
As OpenChat runs on a blockchain instead of cloud servers, the risks associated with cloud server hosting are nil on OpenChat.
To start using - open www.oc.app. Sign in with your internet identity and Create a username for your OpenChat and start texting. The alpha version enables instant messaging, a group chat function, and a few other basic features. Once OpenChat becomes an open internet service, public chat rooms can be moderated using the Service Nervous System.
Distrikt, a decentralized version of LinkedIn, is a professional social media platform, which also pushes us closer to user sovereignty. At the time of writing, Distrikt is yet to be launched, but 6,300+ people have registered for early access. Distrikt will likely be another open internet service that will have its own token and SNS. Check out the Distrikt.io website to take a look at their progress.
Canistore is a decentralized media service provider. I would describe canistore as a decentralized Spotify that had a baby with Soundcloud and Youtube. Being an open internet service, tokenization is on the table, and the content creators get paid for their content by directly licensing it, without any need for third parties. Check out their Website Canistore.io to learn more. Canistore received $6.7 million worth of offers during their seed round but has accepted only $577,500 USD, as this amount was estimated to be what was required in their white paper.
Nuance by Aikin.io is a blogging platform for Web3, currently under development, although it has released a few snapshots of its UI. Nuance aims to be the world’s first blogging platform that is owned and operated entirely by its users (via tokenized governance).
The Internet Computer is basically a canvas waiting to be painted with amazing ideas and services by countless developers and entrepreneurs
Let’s try out some games
Scalability and latency is a basic necessity for the gaming industry, and a few simple games are already running on IC.
Want to play 2048? Check this out - 2048 Game and play ad-free on the blockchain.
I have played MMO games for over 7 years, and I am very excited to play “The Rise of Magni” by toniqlabs. Sadly, I could not find more information on this project. I am a big fan of MMORPG games, and I want to see some running on the ICP as soon as possible.
Saga Tarot is a fortune-telling game, which by the way has an awesome UI.
Let’s take a look at DeFi
I may not the best person to talk with about DeFi to, but that's okay - I’ll give it a shot. There are many projects under development right now and I will talk about the ones I find most interesting
Wrapped Trillion Cycles (WTC): The Stable Coin backed by Computation
The moment I found out about this project, I wanted to acquire and use WTC, because most of the stable coins I came across were tethered to USD. Whereas WTC is tethered to XDR (or SDR, which is a reserve currency created by the International Monetary Fund to reduce the pressure on gold and the U.S. dollar in international transactions) For reference, 0.1 WTC = 1 XDR = 1 trillion cycles (the computational fees/gas fee of ICP); therefore this token/wrapped cycles can be traded like a stable coin or utilized to power the canisters (canister smart contracts need cycles to be able to perform computation or execute the contract)
ICPSwap is a DeFi hub that's being developed on ICP, has already conducted 2 airdrops a few weeks ago, and honestly, I can’t wait to use a fully functional Decentralized Finance exchange on ICP. The simplicity of Internet Identity enables you to use multiple services on IC with just a few clicks. And I have struggled to connect my Metamask to Pancake and Uniswap multiple times. Here’s an illustration that points out most things about ICPSwap
DfiStarter is an infrastructure project with the ambitious vision of becoming the keystone of Dfinity ecosystem and an accelerator for the Internet Computer's mainstream adoption
DfiStarter aims to jump-start new open Internet services and projects that are being developed on the Internet Compute using their technological services. DfiStarter is currently developing many services, among which is a one-click tokenization service, that allows the developers to tokenize their service without any hassle. DfiStarter aims to support and provide DeX, Money Market services, and Oracle integration. Check out their official website DfiStarter.io for more details.
Ic.rocks, created by Norton Wang, provides information about transactions, accounts, canisters, nodes, neurons, and many other interesting metrics. On the other hand, IC Dashboard - developed by the Internet Computer Association - is one of my favorite go-to websites for ICP metrics. It is way more simplistic and self-explanatory compared to ic.rocks.
The Internet Computer Weekly podcast is hosted by Arthur Falls, where he talks about ICP and projects developing on the ecosystem. Demergence podcast (audio in ICP) hosted by Jordan Last also gives quality content about the Internet Computer. There are two episodes at the time of writing.
The IC ecosystem is growing rapidly and more than 1,000 canisters have already been deployed to the network. ICP will continue to drive the adoption of Web3 and DeFi through its novel cryptography technology.
- Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original author and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Dfiinty Community staff and/or any/all contributors to this site.*