ICON ICO Review - First South Korean Public Blockchain
At a glance
ICON is creating a massive scale ecosystem, allowing different blockchains connecting to one another through their protocol. Universities, security firms, banks, hospitals and other private blockchains can all share information through ICON's online ledger without intermediaries.
ICON can also bridge public blockchains such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Qtum, and NEO. It is a completely different blockchain at the protocol level, meaning that it is not based off of an existing protocol such as Ethereum. ICON uses its own proprietary LFT (Loop Fault Tolerant) consensus algorithm, here is a brief introduction of LFT,
LFT (Loop Fault Tolerance) is an enhanced BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance)32-based algorithm that
promotes faster consensus and ensures the finality of the consensus without the possibility of forks
within the network. LFT supports faster consensus by creating a group among trusted nodes. LFT can
accommodate diverse consensus structure by allowing such groups or nodes to freely determine the
number of votes.
ICON is not a from scratch project, it is based off of loopchain, a distributed ledger that provides industry specific blockchain solutions. Theloop has partnered with leading financial institutions, offering services such as common authentication system, settlement systems without intermediary agencies, and trading systems that offer real time trade matching. Loopchain also works with insurance industry, to automate its insurance claims and payments. The project has been running strong and solid for well over 2 years. ICON will further expand loopchain's capabilities by bridging existing blockchains, as well as introducing its own ICX token. An ICX token can be viewed similar to ETH, in that it will be served as an utility token that can be spent and transfer value within the ICON ecosystem; furthermore, ICX tokens will eventually be used as the currency for ICON based ICOs. ICON will also provide its own DEX (Decentralized Exchange), where ICX can be used as a trading pair. It is expected to be launched Q4 of 2017.
The core of ICON called Nexus, is a multi-channel blockchain comprised of light client of respective blockchain. It is based off of loopchain, testnet is already launched and mainnet is expected to launch in Q4 of 2017. Native ICX wallets for each platform will also launch around the same time.
South Korea is ranked top 5 in ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and the 11th largest economy in the world. South Koreans also have immense interest in the crypto space, where daily trading account for ~20-40% of total global volume. Most consider cryptocurrencies as an investment vehicle rather than payment solution or functional blockchain platforms. It'll be interesting to see when one of their own public blockchain introduced in the country, how sectors from different industries come up with new use cases, and actual form of payment adapted by end consumers.
If you really want to label ICON, what it is comparable to today, some think of it as the NEO of Korea, some think its a spin-off of Ark. The most accurate version, this is also mentioned by several ICON team members that it is more like a combination of Cosmos and Ethereum.
ICON ICO is hardcapped at 150,000 ETH in presale and crowdsale (~40 million USD as of this writing), a relative modest fund raise given today's ICO standards. This also account for 50% of total supply, again a fair amount given out, rest goes to reserve, team, and partners and foundation. The presale will be divided into 3 stages, where in each round a cap is set for each individual. Starting at 30 ETH, 100 ETH then finally 1000 ETH. This is to ensure smaller investors get a chance to join the network, rather than whales jumping in early to manipulate the prices. If the hardcap is reached in the presale, there won't be a public crowdfunding.
ICON team is stacked with talents, currently with around 20-30 engineers and designers who graduated from top universities in South Korea and overseas. Business development team who worked for top tier investment companies like JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank. It appears that most of the team members are fluent in English, so they'll be able to collaborate with world's leading intelligence in the open source blockchain communities.
Notable advisor include Don Tapscott, co-author of international best-seller book "Blockchain Revolution", one of the most influential person in the space. Here's an example speech from one of his appearances at TED.
ICON is a project under the legal entity Dayli Financial Group, one of the biggest FinTech companies based in South Korea, formerly named Yello Financial Group. Dayli currently offers services and owns companies in several industries,
DAVinCI is a practical artificial intelligence brand and consists of four solutions: DAVinCI Labs, DAVinCI Analyst, DAVinCI Bot, DAVinCI Big data. Each solution offers optimized features: enhanced predictive analytics, automated report generation, sales and customer service innovation, big data collection and utilization.
loopchain is an enterprise blockchain engine consisting of distributed ledger, smart contract, and management module. Based on its own modular structure, loopchain can be optimized for variety of financial and non-financial services, including authentication, settlement, trading, and IoT.
Solidware utilizes its AI-driven analytics solution DAVinCI Labs to offer various data based predictive modeling services, including credit scoring, underwriting, target marketing, fraud detection, and CRM.
Leevi offers NLP based unstructured online data analysis and AI based chatbot solutions for risk management and target marketing.
Heenam provides bigdata aggregation and other data-driven analytic services with proprietary scraping technologies.
theloop (theloop seeks to create ‘Hyper Connected Society’ by implementing blockchain technologies in the financial industry, including distributed ledger based financial transaction, digital currencies, and IoT.)
Nomad Connection develops Fintech specific solutions based on bigdata and machine learning technologies, including robo analytics, chatbot builder, and non-face-to-face authentication.
Neuro Associates offers customized digital strategy services from data-driven real time infographics to AI strategy consulting.
Quarterback Robo-advisor is an asset management service that aims for systematic and stable investment returns through big data and machine learning based global asset allocation. Quarterback currently provides optimized portfolio via top domestic financial institutions.
Life-Cycle financial planning platform
Quarterback PALMS is a customized financial planning platform that recommends optimized portfolios based on life-cycle, goals, risk profile, etc. PALMS offers asset allocation using ETF, mutual funds, and other savings & depository accounts.
Quarterback Investments is robo-advisor based asset management firm that offers global asset management portfolio based on financial bigdata and automated algorithms.
Quarterback Technologies offers personalized asset management service platform ‘PALMS’ optimized for individual investment objectives.
Quarterback Futures develops online platform and software for financial industry, including chatbot solutions.
Quarterback Japan, the Japan branch of the Quarterback Group, provides global asset allocation portfolio advisory service and online asset management platform.
Broccoli Personal Financial Management
Broccoli is a personal financial management platform that provides account information, spending and investment analysis, and tailored financial recommendations.
LEMON Clip Integrated Insurance Management
LEMON Clip is an integrated platform to manage insurance. From searching and comparing to buying and applying for claims, LEMON Clip offers total management services.
OLLEY Debt Crowdfunding
OLLEY FUNDING is a P2P lending platform that allow borrowers to receive loans at a reasonable rate and lenders to lend for promising returns.
UCANSTART Reward Crowdfunding
UCANSTART is a reward based crowdfunding platform that connects the ‘Starters’ with the public who wants to help businesses to raise funds and ideas to grow.
GenPort & GenMarket Smart Stock Investment
GenPort is a stock based robo advisor platform. GenMarket allow investors to create algorithms and share investment strategy. NewsyRank analyzes all listed stocks and recommends investment opportunities.
UDID Payment solution for SMBs
UDID provides payment solution and O2O service to SMBs. UDID offers payment platform PayApp, SNS commerce order solution BlogPay, and delivery management solution.
DAYLI Marketplace offers personal finance management App Broccoli and other easy-to-use financial services for everyday lives.
d.Lemon leads the transformation of Korean insurance industry through its innovative Insurtech services, including an integrated insurance management service ‘Lemon Clip’.
OLLEY FUNDING is a debt crowdfunding platform that offers easy and diverse investment products focusing mainly on SMEs in consumer goods industries.
UCANSTART is a reward crowdfunding platform that help businesses in diverse fields to raise funds through collective intelligence.
NewsyStock provides GenPort, NewsyRank, NewsyRank China, and offers an environment for individual investors to make informative investment decision and optimize returns.
UDID provides differentiated easy payment solutions and O2O services, including PayApp, BlogPay and delivery control solution.
Coinone Cryptocurrency Trading
Coinone operates a cryptocurrency exchange for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. With intuitive user interface and optimized trading features, it offers fast and secure services.
Cross Blockchain based foreign remittance
Cross provides foreign remittance services to China, Japan, Philippine, Vietnam, and India. Blockchain based service offers easier, faster, and 80% cheaper fees than the banks.
Coinone provides various blockchain and cryptocurrency related services, including cryptocurrency exchange center and foreign remittance service ‘Cross’.
Korean Blockchain Consortium
Including top security firms, financial institutions, banks, universities etc.
Including leading tech firms, banks etc.
ICON is a very ambitious project, aiming to become the biggest blockchain in the world. With proven track records and existing connections with top-tiered industry leaders. It is already providing services, running solid for a couple of years, with working products rather than a concept ICO. A very promising project that you should definitely pay attention to.