What is Internet Computer?
The Internet Computer is the world’s first blockchain that runs at web speed with unbounded capacity. It also represents the third major blockchain innovation, alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum — a blockchain computer that scales smart contract computation and data, runs them at web speed, processes and stores data efficiently, and provides powerful software frameworks to developers. By making this possible, the Internet Computer enables the complete reimagination of software — providing a revolutionary new way to build tokenized internet services, pan-industry platforms, decentralized financial systems, and even traditional enterprise systems and websites. The project was founded in October 2016 by Dominic Williams, and attracted notable interest from the crypto community. DFINITY raised a total of $121 million from contributors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, SV Angel, Aspect Ventures, Electric Capital, ZeroEx, Scalar Capital, and Multicoin Capital, and several notable early Ethereum supporters. In 2018, over 50,000 registerter participants received ICP utility tokens in an airdrop. On December 18, 2020, DFINITY launched the alpha mainnet of the Internet Computer. In a final step towards decentralization, on May 10, 2021, DFINITY launched the Internet Computer into the public domain. This major milestone means that the internet now functions as a decentralized global computer — marked by the release of all of the Internet Computer’s source code into the public domain, as well as ICP utility token allowing tens of thousands of community members to govern the Internet Computer network.
Dominic Williams is the Founder and Chief Scientist of DFINITY. He is a crypto theoretician, responsible for inventing Threshold Relay, Probabilistic Slot Consensus, and other novel crypto techniques, serial entrepreneur, and early member of the Bitcoin and Ethereum technical communities. Previously, he was President and CTO of String Labs, an incubator for venture-backed crypto projects, early pioneer of DeFi at Mirror Labs, and Founder and CEO of Fight My Monster, a MMO game for children that scaled to millions of users. He also founded several startups such as System7, Airdocs and Smartdrivez. Graduated King’s College London 1st in Class in Computer Science.
The Internet Computer was incubated and launched by the DFINITY Foundation, a not-for profit scientific research organization based in Zurich, Switzerland, comprised of the world’s top cryptographers and distributed systems and programming language experts, with nearly 100,000 academic citations and 200 patents collectively. Notable technologists at DFINITY include: * Jan Camenisch, PhD (VP of Research) - world-renowned cryptographer & privacy researcher, led IBM’s Cryptography / Research department for 19 years * Andreas Rossberg, PhD (Principal Engineer and Researcher) - the co-creator of WebAssembly and former team lead for the Google Chrome V8 engine * Ben Lynn, PhD (Sr Staff Engineer and Researcher) - world-renowned cryptographer and Google Engineer, the “L” in BLS cryptography, the key signature system being used in Ethereum 2.0 * Jens Groth, PhD (Principal Researcher) - world-renowned cryptographer, known for pioneering non-interactive zero knowledge proofs * Timo Hanke, PhD (Principal Researcher) - creator of AsicBoost, one of the few proven algorithmic optimizations for Bitcoin mining * Paul Liu, PhD (Staff Engineer) - architected Intel’s Haskell compiler and received his PhD under Paul Hudak, a key designer of Haskell * Johan Georg Granström, PhD (Director of Engineering) - former Sr Staff Software Engineer at Google responsible for scaling YouTube system infrastructure After public launch on May 10, 2021, the DFINITY Foundation will now be one of many organizations committed to improving and maintaining the Internet Computer network.
The purpose of the Internet Computer is to extend the public internet, so it can also be the world’s compute platform. Today, the internet is a network that connects everybody and everything, but systems and services currently run from private infrastructure. The scientific breakthrough behind the Internet Computer is Chain Key Technology, which encompasses dozens of advanced technology such as novel Consensus, Non-Interactive Distributed Key Generation (NI-DKG), Network Nervous System (NNS), Internet Identity, etc. Chain Key Technology consists of a set of cryptographic protocols that orchestrate the nodes that make up the Internet Computer. It is one of the fundamental breakthroughs behind the Internet Computer, enabling it to have a single public key. This is a huge advantage because it allows any device, including smart watches and mobile phones, to verify the authenticity of artifacts from the Internet Computer. In contrast, this is not possible for traditional blockchains. The single public key is just the tip of the iceberg: Chain Key Technology is the engine that drives the Internet Computer and makes its operation possible. It allows for adding new nodes to form new subnets to scale the network infinitely; replacing faulty or crashed nodes with new ones without ever stopping; reviving subnets even if too many nodes within have failed; and upgrading the Internet Computer Protocol seamlessly, allowing the network to fix bugs and add new features. The DFINITY R&D team has invented a new noninteractive key resharing protocol. Each of the old signers only needs to broadcast a single message to the new signers. To ensure that this is done securely, many concepts from advanced cryptography are utilized, including encryption with forward secrecy and noninteractive zero-knowledge proofs. Because it is noninteractive, the way the key resharing protocol operates is ideal for an asynchronous environment, and the benefits include key preservation. Throughout the lifetime of a subnet, it is known by a single public key, and the other parties on the Internet Computer do not have to keep track of changing public keys.
At Genesis on May 10, 2021, the Internet Computer is supported by 48 independent data centers — located across North America, Europe, and Asia — running 1,300 nodes. The network will continue to grow exponentially to support the next generation of mega dapps, with 123 data centers running 4,300 nodes scheduled by the end of the year, and eventually thousands of data centers running millions of nodes to support the decade-long building out of the Open Internet. Importantly, anyone can become a node provider, interested parties apply for a Data Center ID (DCID) to the Network Nervous System (NNS), procure specialized machine nodes, install the ICP protocol, and connects to the Internet Computer network.
The scientific breakthrough called Chain Key Technology allows the Internet Computer to run at web speed — where query calls execute in milliseconds, and update calls take 1-2 seconds to finalize. More importantly, at Genesis, the Internet Computer will have a block rate of 2.5 blocks per second (bps), then quickly to an industry leading bps of 10.3 bps, and ~1,000 bps by end of the year. In the case of an open version of Reddit running on the Internet Computer, when a user browses the forum, customized views of the hosted content would be formulated and served into their web browser by the execution of query calls, which run in milliseconds on a nearby node, providing a fantastic user experience. But when a user wishes to occasionally make a post, or provide a tip of tokens to the author of a post, this would involve update calls, which would take 1–2 seconds.
ICP are native utility tokens that play three key roles in the network:
Cycles power computation in the role of fuel. They also have a constant value over the long-term, which contrasts with ICP, whose value will naturally vary over time. Moreover, Cycles will be pegged to the SDR, which is a logical currency unit defined by the International Monetary Fund, and 1 SDR worth of ICP can be converted into exactly one trillion Cycles to power computation.
1. Create accounts
In order to buy Internet Computer in Canada you will need both a Canadian (local) exchange account and a global exchange account. You will need to buy one of the main cryptocurrencies on the Canadian exchange and then transfer that to the global exchange you registered with which trades Internet Computer.
If you want to buy Internet Computer right now, without going through the full verification process, and if you want to buy only a small amount ($375 CAD or less) consider using Coinbase.
For a more comprehensive guide and comparison of the various exchanges, see the Exchanges Guide.
Next, you will need to create an account on a global exchange. This will allow you to trade the cryptocurrency you bought in the previous step for Internet Computer. Unfortunately, it's not possible yet to do it all on the same exchange. Which is why you need to use multiple exchanges.
We recommend using Binance
For a more comprehensive guide and comparison of the various exchanges, see the Exchanges Guide.
In order to fund your local exchange accounts you will need to verify your identity. This often involves sending in copies of your drivers license, a utility bill, and in many cases a selfie of you holding your ID. This is normal ask for verification on exchanges.
As for verification on global exchanges, the verification is usually faster and less intense, as long as you are strictly using cryptocurrencies and not doing fiat transactions. For example on Binance you do not need to verify if you are withdrawing 2 BTC or less.
2. Buy your cryptocurrencies
Now that you have both a local exchange account and a global exchange account it's time to make your purchases. You need to buy XRP or ETH, transfer it to a Global exchange, and then place an order to trade it for Internet Computer.
If you are not using Binance, it is a important to verify that your global exchange will trade the cryptocurrency you are buying in this step for Internet Computer.
Login to your local exchange and buy your desired amount of Internet Computer in XRP or ETH. We currently recommend buying with XRP as it provides a faster network transfer time and cheaper network fees than Bitcoin/Ethereum. BTC is ok if you are using Shakepay as they will cover the network fees to transfer to Binance or another exchange.
This involves getting the funding wallet address from Binance account and withdrawing to it from your Newton or Shakepay account.
You will need to wait for the transaction to complete. Once you see the funds appear in your global exchange account you are ready to proceed to the next step.
The next step is to actually buy Internet Computer. In your Binance (or similar) account place an order to trade the crypto currency for Internet Computer.
Binance has a trading pair for both USDT and BTC.
- If you bought BTC originally you can now trade it for Internet Computer at the ICP/BTC trading pair.
- If you bought XRP originally, first you need to trade it for USDT and then you can trade it for Internet Computer at the ICP/USDT trading pair.
The fastest way is to place a market order which buys Internet Computer for the current market price on the exchange. However, consider using a limit order to get a better price, but remember if the market price does not hit your limit price your order will not be filled.
3. Storing your Internet Computer
If you just bought some Internet Computer you are currently storing it on the exchange you bought it on. This is OK if the value is small. However, if you own a significant amount it is best practice to transfer your cryptocurrencies to a wallet that is not an exchange.
If you are just getting started you will probably want to use a software wallet. They are typically free and are considered more secure than leaving Internet Computer on a exchange.
Feel free to do a google search to research what wallets are available and know what the options are.
Once you have decided on a wallet, follow the instructions to get it setup then withdraw your Internet Computer from your exchange account. It is common for a small network fee to be associted with the withdrawal.
The safest way to store Internet Computer, or any cryptocurrency, is with a hardware wallet that is not connected to the internet. This is to prevent it being stolen or hacked from a exchange or a wallet connected to the internet.
Consider looking at the Ledger line of hardware wallets. They have been in the industry a number of years and offer one of the widest selections of devices.
This is generally not recommended. However, you might want to do this if you are actively trading Internet Computer. Be aware you are taking an extra risk. Exchanges have been known to get hacked or disappear, search QuadrigaCX scandal.
The main advantage of doing this is instant access to your Internet Computer, and saving the fees associated with transactions and withdrawing.
Always consider the reputation and size of the exchange if you are storing a cryptocurrency asset on it.
Generally speaking, I do not keep a balance on any of the local exchanges. If I am going to hold a balance of a cryptocurrency coin/asset on an exchange it will be Binance as they have the most robust platform. However, use this information at your own risk. The safest place for your crypto assets is a hardware wallet like Ledger.
Regardless of the exchange, if you are holding assets on the exchange, make sure you enable two factor authentication and use a separete secure password on the account.
- Create an account on a local exchange.
- Create an account on a global exchange.
- First, buy XRP or BTC on the local exchange and transfer it to Binance.
- Next, trade XRP or BTC for Internet Computer
- Store your Internet Computer, consider getting a software or hardware wallet.