The Internet Computer: Revolutionary or Hype?

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2021-06-11 15:00:06

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You may be hearing much more in the near future about something called "The Internet Computer" (IC), which may radically change how the Internet works. The Internet Computer is a new decentralized network based on a new protocol that will run on the computers of multiple, independent data centers around the world. Actually, a small number of websites already run on it (see this one). A non-profit company called Dfinity incorporated in 2016 specifically to develop and manage the project. Dfinity claims to have nearly 100,000 academic citations and 200 patents. The company is financing the Internet Computer partly through the sale of its cryptocurrency, also called "Internet Computer" (ICP). People and organizations wanting to run websites on the Internet Computer pay to have them hosted by buying ICP's from the data centers. Internet users pay nothing to visit and interact with websites hosted on the network.

ICP also stands for Internet Computer Protocol, the communications protocol upon which the Internet Computer's network runs as an overlay on top of the regular Internet Protocol (IP). The network is managed by something called the Network Nervous System (NNS). NNS is the software that ties all the computer nodes together, including storing the encrypted data securely and privately. Reportedly, NNS prevents individual data centers from having access to the data they store. In other words, when a user interacts with a website, data is transferred between him and the website without individual data centers being able to access the user's unencrypted data and sell it to, for instance, advertisers. Readers can get a more complete overview of the Internet Computer from an article entitled "An Introduction to Dfinity and the Internet Computer" on, a website that tracks and reports on cryptocurrencies.

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