The promise of cryptocurrency lay in freedom from traditional paradigms. At first, this meant distancing global finances from those that sought to manipulate them. The advent of smart contracts offered a new way of decentralizing – creating a vast network of interconnected computing without a physical location. Many projects touted their blockchain as the first ‘feasible’ platform for decentralized computing, but Dfinity’s Internet Computer (ICP) may have the infrastructure to back that claim. Leveraging their Internet Computer Protocol, or ICP, Dfinity’s system operates at unheard-of speed when compared against their peers.
Prior attempts at decentralized computers lacked the necessary speed to allow for regular use. Ethereum arguably created the idea, but high transaction fees and slow processing make it currently unfeasible for the job. Other projects either lack the volume or the technology, creating a potential opportunity. Internet Computer remains a brand new project – releasing in early May on Coinbase Pro – but already shows considerable promise in this regard.
How Does the Internet Computer Operate?
Compared to similar projects, Dfinity boasts an entire department of software engineers supporting their protocol. Much like Ethereum, they also work for a non-profit organization aimed at toppling major tech dynasties. In theory, the protocol will allow for the creation of projects rivaling Amazon Web Services and Google.
To do so, it uses a series of international data centers. Approved via the internal Data Center Identity program, these centers provide computational power for the greater Internet Computer. Doing so allows them to collect tokens as a reward – a familiar mechanism for the cryptocurrency world. The health of the network depends, to a degree, on the volume of available nodes. To this end, the initial design of the protocol takes into account scalability requirements.
The Race to Kill Ethereum
Ethereum holds first-mover status in the smart contract field, but growing pains have paved the way for other projects. As with any new technology, others will seek to improve and circumvent the original offering – especially if it fails to meet expectations. As Ethereum slowly plods on towards ETH 2.0, projects like Polkadot and Cardano have earned the questionable moniker of “Ethereum-Killer.”
Given Ethereum’s staying power and recent all-time high value, these projects are unlikely to succeed in stealing the spotlight. Yet, the sheer capital behind the Internet Computer may make for a different situation. If it can provably solve the problems that Ethereum can’t, it may be the first true ‘Ethereum-Killer’ to make a dent in the second-place cryptocurrency’s market share.