The Internet Computer is a blockchain network serving as the decentralized version of the public internet. The protocol allows developers to create websites, enterprise IT systems and internet services by installing their codes directly on the public internet.
The Internet Computer aims to address two pain points of the public internet, namely system security and the monopolization of internet services.
The Internet Computer team states that the complexity of managing the internet's legacy system makes it insecure and vulnerable to hackers. The Internet Computer hosts tamper-proof systems to offer users a secure environment. The protocol's security does not require maintenance of databases and firewalls by centralized technology vendors. Instead, the Internet Computer runs a mathematically secure protocol operated by independent data centers across the globe.
The Internet Computer addresses the monopolization of internet services by providing "autonomous software" to its users. The software is known as the Network Nervous System, which brings transparency to using internet services, as it allows users to track their data in the network. While the Internet Computer does not rely on large tech enterprises, it facilitates a network effect from the collaboration of enterprises and developers community.
ICP is the utility token of the Internet Computer, which also goes by the ticker ICP, and is used for governance and reward incentives for users. ICP can be dissolved and converted into cycles, which are used to run websites and internet applications, and to power the computation of the Internet Computer protocol.
The Internet Computer reduces the complexity for users in building websites and enterprise systems. The protocol facilitates an open internet to power pan-industry platforms and decentralized finance applications.
There were 469,213,710 ICP tokens minted at genesis. Of this, 52.93% of ICP tokens were allocated to a foundation endowment, as well as to the team and partnerships. These tokens are kept by the DFINITY Foundation and are used to fund research and development, as well as employee and partner incentives.
The remaining ICP tokens are allocated to contributors to the Internet Computer, of which 24.72% goes to investors in ICP's seed funding round. The investors in the strategic and presale funding rounds received 6.85% and 4.75% of the total ICP tokens, respectively. Early contributors to the Internet Computer protocol received 9.5% of the ICP tokens and the remaining 1.25% was airdropped to the community in May 2018.
The Internet Computer was founded by Dominic Williams, who is also the chief scientist of the protocol. Williams is also the founder of DFINITY Foundation — the entity behind the Internet Computer. Founded in October 2016, the foundation comprises reputable cryptographers and software engineers and has research centers in Palo Alto, San Francisco and Zurich.
The DFINITY Foundation conducted a total of three funding rounds and a community airdrop to date. The foundation first raised $3.9 million in a seed round in February 2017, followed by a strategic round and private sale in 2018. The foundation also airdropped $35 million worth of ICP tokens to early supporters in May 2018.