A new cryptocurrency, the Internet Computer (ICP) token, has been making waves in the market this week after it appeared seemingly out of nowhere and landed on several notable crypto exchanges.
Since its listing on its first exchange on Monday, ICP has surged in value, jumping around 54% to £205.30 on Coinbase, although this is a steep fallback from the all-time high of £531 reached on Monday evening.
The frenzy has left ICP with a market cap of around £25.7bn, making it the world’s eighth most valuable crypto behind XRP, also known as Ripple.
What is the ICP token?
While the token’s true nature may prove a disappointment to fans of Insane Clown Posse, ICP’s surge to prominence may prove to be more than the usual hype the surrounds a new cryptocurrency.
Created by the Switzerland-based Dfinity Foundation, a non-profit organisation, the ICP token is used to run the Internet Computer Protocol, a system designed to allow anyone to build software and publish content online without having to rely on services provided by tech giants such as Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Instead, the ICP uses blockchain technology to create a decentralised development platform that runs at the same speed as the web. The ICP token, meanwhile, allows owners to vote on governance proposals for the protocol as well as providing fuel for the computational processes on the blockchain network.
Why is it popular?
Despite being relatively fresh on the crypto scene, the ICP token has a number of factors behind it that may make it a more attractive and stable investment than other coins on the market.
One is that unlike a lot of new crypto’s, ICP has already secured hefty amounts of funding, raising around US$121mln from investors including venture capital firms such as Aspect Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital.
Another reason is that for some the ICP protocol represents another step in the development of crypto and blockchain technology, as well as reviving hopes of an ‘open internet’ that will allow anyone to create software and applications without having to pay hosting fees to giant corporations to bring their creations online.
Given recent criticisms of the control Big Tech exerts over the most popular internet sites, the advent of ICP could help rebalance online power back towards smaller businesses and individuals.