Today’s article focuses on ICON, which hails from South Korea. It aims to demolish the borders that exist in the current centralized systems, and bring inter-connectivity of blockchains into the everyday life. It recognizes that assets tokenization is continuing at an accelerated process, and has positioned itself to cater to the masses.
ICON (price at time of writing ICX 8.12USD) is a decentralized network that first aims to connect blockchain technology in South Korea, followed by Asia, and finally the rest of the world. It aims to provide a platform where every major institution in the world can be connected to each other via the ICON Republic, without having to give up its existing infrastructure.
The ICON Republic
Just like the United Nations (UN), the ICON Republic is a collection of independent blockchain communities that participate voluntarily under the umbrella of ICON. Built upon the loopchain platform, there are several key components of the ICON Republic that allow it to function as a decentralized platform.
Communities within the ICON Republic are like the various countries that participate in the UN. And just like countries, each Community has their own governance system, which may not be the same as other Communities within ICON. In the context of the ICON Republic, Bitcoin and Financial Institutions each have their own differing consensus algorithm which is consistent within their own Community.
Each Community is comprised of C-Nodes, which are the fundamental building blocks of a Community.
Community Node (C-Node)
Much like each country has its own infrastructure that best suits the needs of its citizens, each Community in ICON has their own C-Nodes. C-Nodes are the nodes within individual communities that affect how the consensus is run. The policies for C-Nodes are left to the discretion of members of the Community, and the ICON Republic has no say in how individual Communities are governed.
Just like an actual Republic, each Community has a Representative called a C-Rep, which is elected by their respective Communities. The position of the C-Rep is transferable, and each Community can decide to transfer the C-Rep position from one Node to another to suit their needs. The C-Rep is responsible for maintaining the Loop Fault Tolerance (LFT) consensus within the ICON Republic. For their efforts, the C-Rep is awarded ICON tokens (ICX) as a form of payment. This functions very much like the Delegated Proof of Stake protocol adopted by cryptocurrencies such as //medium.com/@info_53583/what-is-eos-13ebccd96d59" data-href="https://medium.com/@info_53583/what-is-eos-13ebccd96d59" class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.54); background-repeat: repeat-x; background-image: linear-gradient(to right, currentcolor 100%, currentcolor 0px); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">EOS, and is further explained in the next paragraph.
ICON’s Consensus Algorithm
The ICON Republic has its own consensus algorithm, separate from its communities. While individual Communities have their own consensus algorithm, the ICON Republic is the grounds on which they communicate. As such, ICON Republic is built on the Nexus loopchain, which utilizes the Loop Fault Tolerance (LFT) algorithm to maintain consensus. It is an enhancement of the Tendermint consensus protocol.
LFT consolidates messages from the network, and achieves consensus based on the messages relayed between participants without any third-party intermediary.
When a transaction is submitted, the C-Reps act as validation nodes, which verify that the information in the block is accurate. If the transaction is genuine, they transmit a ‘vote’ to the rest of the C-Rep nodes in the ICON Republic, and the new block is committed to the chain.
Decentralized Exchange (DEX)
The DEX is how Communities and ICON Republic are connected to each other. This connection is in real-time, and the DEX has its own currency reserve (currently using ETH) as a liquid reservoir to provide exchange values.
Nexus is the loopchain-based blockchain that ICON Republic runs on. Communities can communicate with the NEXUS via Portal, which is their C-rep.
Image Taken From ICX Whitepaper
This makes the ICON Republic a ‘network of networks’, where networks with different governances are able to communicate with each other.
The Nexus also has a Representation channel, where policy changes can be proposed, and votes can be cast in response. The votes are cast by C-Rep nodes, and it is here that the rules for issues that occur within the Nexus take form. ICON’s whitepaper has described the process as ‘similar to an Electoral College System’, where each Community is allocated a number of votes based on their size and transaction scale.
For regular individuals, they are unable to vote on these processes. Rather, they are considered as ‘Citizen’ Nodes within the ICON Republic. They are able to connect to DApps within ICON, but have no say in its governance.
Smart Contracts On Reliable Environment (SCORE)
SCORE is a smart contract feature of loopchain, which does not run on a separate Virtual Machine like Ethereum. Instead, it is run directly on the nodes within the Community. It is easy to deploy, and anyone can use ICON to build a DApp through Nexus. The contract is run separate from the blockchain, so that a faulty contract would not compromise the blockchain process.
The Multi-Channel feature allows two business nodes to open a channel between themselves. Within these private channels, the transaction data is held off the main blockchain. While it is useful for businesses that have frequent transactions between each other, the integrity and safety of these transactions are determined by the parties involved.
With the idea of creating a network of networks between existing legacy systems and blockchain systems, ICON Republic has adopted a tiered system, where certain nodes can be imbued with the ability to monitor transactions. This is useful in the case of auditing or supervision, and will be a key point in facilitating mainstream adoption.
ICON has a strong team of developers who have been working on the project since 2015. The LFT consensus is a way of ensuring both speed and safety, and makes it possible for various blockchains to interact with each other despite having different governing systems. With ICON, it would become possible for a hyperconnected society, where the Blockchain ID of an individual could be used to verify medical history, insurance coverage, education fees and more, without various intermediaries in between. It is well positioned to cater to the needs of the masses, and provide a level of convenience and security that is unprecedented.