The ICON ICO was one of the most anticipated of 2017, and raised over $42M. Since then, the ICX token has appreciated considerably in value, even in a bearish market, but there are significant concerns about the progress of the technology and the ecosystem, as we will see.
ICON and ICX Token Overview
ICON is a decentralized blockchain network, purpose-built to facilitate interoperability between communities of independent chains. The ultimate aim of ICON is to serve as the framework for a web of chains comprised of enterprises and organizations from industries like banking, health care and education, which can each formulate their own governance system, while remaining connected through the “loopchain”.
ICON refers to this network of interconnected communities as the ICON Republic. Communities converge via “Nexus”, the blockchain which serves as the connection point between all network participants.
Disparate communities are connected via C-Rep nodes, which serve as a representative of the community, forming the basic unit of governance in the ICON Republic, in addition to validating transactions on the network. All other nodes that participate in the network are referred to as “Citizen Nodes”, which maintain the right to initiate transactions.
C-Reps participate in the network via a designated blockchain called the Representation channel. The Representation channel provides the platform for governance that decides the rules of the Nexus chain. For generating ICX, the native token on the network, ICON maintains a separate blockchain called the Reserve channel.
ICON utilizes an AI-based component for governance and reward distribution called the Incentives Scoring System (IISS). The reward each node receives is calculated according to a number of factors, which include the amount of frozen ICX, C-Rep status, total ICX exchange volume, exchange volume of the whole community, and DEX-trading volume (if the community has one).
In other words, higher participation in the network results in higher rewards.
ICON Proposed Roadmap
Business and Tech
- Q3 2017:
- Open source loopchain, partnership with major bank
- Nexus testnet launch
- Q4 2017:
- ICO and exchange listing, Blockchain ID service open for finance consortium, U-coin pilot at 3 universities, blockchain-based autoclaim insurance service open
- Nexus Mainnet launch, Reserve Channel open, IISS implementation, DEX (ETH/ICX) launch, Wallet for web/iOS/Android
- Q1 2018:
- Expansion of DEX reserve pool to major cryptocurrencies, expansion of partnership with blockchain networks
- Representation channel open
- Q2 2018
- U-coin expansion to 10 universities, launch of second service for financial consortium
ICON Project Development Progress
January 24th marked the ICON Mainnet genesis block generation, with the release of the the ICONex Wallet for Chrome following a month later. While the mainnet was launched, it remains inaccessible to the public at this stage.
The ERC-20 to native ICX token swap process, which was first delayed and then drawn out over a period of months, required an explanation from the ICON team to address the confusion and concern among holders. According to the most recent announcement from the team, the tokenswap will continue until September 25th, 2018.
ICON released a schedule for the gradual open sourcing of the network components on August 7th, 2018. Over the course of two months, ICON will release source code for the desktop/iOS/Android wallets, Java and Python SDK, in addition to module support for ICON main functions, loopchain, and Citizen Nodes. If the open source release is completed by the second week of October 2017, developers will have access to the necessary tools to begin building dApps on the protocol.
Along with the announcement of the open sourcing schedule, ICON also released the ICX Developer Portal Beta. The purpose of the developer portal is to support dApp growth on the network by providing additional development resources and a forum for knowledge sharing.
Partnerships and Implementation
ICX Station was launched on August 17th to create a global network of incubators for the ICON Network. With the inaugural launch in San Francisco, ICON plan to establish branches across the world to help drive adoption of projects built on the protocol. As an incubator, ICX Station offers blockchain projects support for fundraising, tech development and funding in the form of ICX tokens.
ICON has yet to announce any projects that are currently being incubated through the initiative.
ICON has a Medium page on all partnerships related to both the foundation and other organizations. A cursory scan of the partnership list reveals 10 of the 20 articles pertain specifically to “theloop”. Theloop is a proprietary blockchain solution created by Dayli Financial Group, the same entity behind ICON.
On August 7th, the ICON Medium released a Q2 progress report that included an announcement that theloop will undergo a rebranding process, which includes a new name- ICONLOOP. The announcement included a quote from ICONLOOP CEO JH Kim:
“The rebranding makes a lot of sense as we are now finally ready to push the ICON project here in Korea (…) our team is fully committed to contributing to the ICON project and servicing the ICON Foundation.”
What that commitment to pushing the project entails remains ambiguous. As ICON branded the public chain project an attempt to link various disparate sectors via the blockchain, exploratory partnerships with the likes of Line and the Seoul Metropolitan Government, whether through ICON or ICONLOOP, may serve to instill confidence in the progress of the project.
Yet half of the purported partnership announcements concern the proprietary chain, and the rest remain inconsequential so long as developers don’t have access to the tools for building dApps and there is no publicly available mainnet to run them on.
ICX Token Performance
ICX currently holds 28nd place on CoinMarketCap at the time of publishing, with a market cap of around $343M USD. The total supply at present is 800,460,000 ICX, with a current circulating supply of approximately 390 million.
On January 9th, ICX peaked at an ATH of $12.11. Between January 30th and February 6th, ICX experienced a dramatic fall from $9.56 to $2.52. ICX again saw a steady price increase in April, peaking at $4.81, only to then slowly downtrend over the following five months without any significant recovery.
Our Verdict on ICON
As for substantive progress indicators nearly a year post-ICO, the ICON project and ICX token appear to have missed the mark on both tech development and ecosystem growth.
The availability of developer tools only begun to roll out in August 2018, and partnership agreements have largely focused on building out the ICONLOOP proprietary blockchain enterprise user base.
Without a solid foundation, the price of ICX for now appears primarily tied to speculation.
Learn more about the progress of ICON from our Telegram Community by clicking here.
Token Name: ICX
ICO Date: September 20th, 2017
Raised: $42,800,000 USD
Crowdsale Token Ownership: 50%
ICO Price: 1 ICX = $0.11 USD
Current Price: $0.86 USD
Token Return: 8x
Market Cap: $357,564,384 USD
The author is not invested in ICON