As the last project to capture the crypto ecosystem’s imagination before the recent bloodbath, there are many interesting things about the Internet Computer. A recent report made a compelling case against it, though. And now it’s time for the Dfinity Foundation to indirectly respond and explain. How will that work? Continue to find out.
This is the last article in an unofficial trilogy. First, there was Bitcoinist’s initial reaction to the project and the explanation of ICP’s tokenomics. Then, we echoed the concerning report that painted a centralized and censorship-inclined future. It would be beneficial if you read them both. There are a lot of ICP-specific terminology in the following text.
With that being said, we’re going to give them the mic. In this Dfinity Foundation Medium report, they describe the value of their project:
Society has grown increasingly aware of the costs and problems associated with the corporatization of the internet. Big data and high-market-cap tech companies offer services that allow users do things more quickly and conveniently — but they also hijack and leverage user data and relationships to maintain the advantage of immense network effects.
Perfect. We all want a solution for all of that.
ICP price chart on HitBTC | Source: ICP/USDT on TradingView.com
Does The NNS Have Too Much Power Over The Internet Computer?
About the Network Nervous System, this Dfinity member that answers questions on Reddit promises that “People can make proposals and vote on anything via NNS.” The system “manages the Internet Computer’s architecture,” and one of the criticisms was that “The full extent of its power over the Internet Computer is not entirely clear.” Moderator diego_DFN clarifies:
The NNS is the ultimate promise of crypto: let the community decide and vote. It is fair if some people are afraid “of the community” (I though I am a hodler of Bitcoin and ETH, I have no votes or influence in the direction of the projects). I have read some people afraid of the NNS voting to kill canisters deemed bad… but then if that is the case, that is more of a concern on what the community does and wants, not the technology.
Related Reading | This Is How Many Records Ethereum Broke When It Reached $3,000
So, the community will have control over the NNS. Great. But that doesn’t answer the original poster’s concerns about Neurons:
Neurons are not freely tradable. There is no way to change the beneficiary of a neuron after the neuron has been created. Neurons will exist at genesis, but their functionality is restricted until the beneficiary has passed KYC/AML via Acuant. Neurons will be held liable by their jurisdictions and be responsible for content on the network.
And the Dfinity Foundation defines Neurons as:
The Network Nervous System works by allowing users to stake ICP governance tokens to create voting neurons. Anyone can create a neuron, and we expect tens of thousands of neurons will be created post-Genesis, which together shall exert the will of the community, mediated through algorithms.
What About The Unique Internet Identity?
Not all concerns were unanswered. The original poster said:
The Internet Computer also replaces usernames and passwords with a single digital identity. If your booted out by the foundation, then it’s game over.
And Dfinity’s moderator answered:
Identity service is just one potential authentication for the IC. Our intent is to show the world what is possible. And it’s very early days, more will come. Canisters can use their own.
So, the Internet Identity is not as final as Coin Bureau thought it was. Fine. But, how can the user authenticate itself if it’s in place? Dfinity answers:
The built-in biometric authentication methods in your smartphone or your laptop (e.g., Face ID, Touch ID, or fingerprint scanner).
The password or pin that users normally use to unlock their computer or mobile phone.
A security key plugged into the USB port of your computer (e.g., YubiKey).
When you first register with Internet Identity through the Internet Identity service portal, the security chip on your device will generate a unique cryptographic key that will be stored on the Internet Computer together with the user number that is generated for you.
That sounds like a dystopian nightmare.
Who Funded The Internet Computer Project?
In the Reddit discussion, another poster asked about the amount of VC funding they received. This is not characteristic of cryptocurrency projects, because a VC requires results and profits, and a decentralized organization can’t guarantee that. The poster insinuates that the Internet Computer will not be as decentralized as they claim as a result of what they owe for all that money. Dfinity’s moderator answers that they need the money because they employ:
Over 200 people specializing in cryptography, virtual machines, operating systems, compilers, data center integrations, SDK teams, apps teams, networking teams, legal team (both US and CH), system engineers, etc… we are an outlier in that we spent years researching and building before genesis. We built many versions of the IC until we had a path we liked. That is certainly an outlier. Most projects launch tokens and then build. We did do the reverse. That is certainly unusual.
Related Reading | Could Self-Sovereign Identity Level Up Blockchain Adoption?
About the kind of money they raised, Bitcoinist’s first report says:
Dfinity, sits amongst the longest and best-funded smart contract platforms in the crypto space, claims Messari. As shown below, only Polkadot has raised more capital than the $121 million obtained by Dfinity for their project with an estimated additional $40 million for ecosystem development.
Dfinity Foundation's promotional material about the Internet Computer
Dfinity’s Last Words
To close this off, let’s quote the last paragraph of their status report:
As we enter the new year, nearly 1,000 independently owned and operated nodes across dozens of geographically diverse data centers — each of them certified to meet high standards of performance and physical security — are approved to run special machines that will allow the ICP protocol to weave together compute capacity to create the Internet Computer.
Oh yea, that’s right. Each node will need “special machines,” manufactured by Dfinity, to run the ICP protocol.
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