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Internet Computer (ICP) is the native token of Internet Computer, a blockchain-based platform aiming to build a decentralized version of the internet. Developed by the Zug-based DFINITY Foundation, Internet Computer is conceived as a distributed alternative to centralized cloud servers (such as Amazon Web Services). It lets individuals and organizations deploy websites, applications, social networks and other web-based services, with the network capable of processing transactions at speeds previously associated with more centralized technology and infrastructure.

As a platform, Internet Computer consists in a protocol run by independent nodes based throughout the world, with the protocol describing how these nodes can allocate computing bandwidth to applications. It’s in this context that the ICP token has its utility, being used to provide computing power, in a similar way to how ethereum (ETH) powers the Ethereum blockchain via gas fees. The token also has a governance function, letting holders and stakers vote on development proposals.

As a token, ICP has both inflationary and deflationary elements. Holders are rewarded with new ICP for participating in votes, yet ICP is also burned after being used to power transactions and computing processes. As such, ICP may become deflationary overall if the Internet Computer platform becomes widely adopted.

ICP Pros & Cons


  • DFINITY Foundation has attracted backing from big venture capital funds, including Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital.

  • ICP has a clear use case within the Internet Computer platform.

  • ICP token may be deflationary in the long-term, particularly if the Internet Computer platform gains significant adoption.

  • Growing public backlash against Big Tech corporations such as Amazon and Google, possibly increasing demand for something like Internet Computer.

  • Instant and collateral-free Flash Loans


  • Internet Computer has attracted no real significant adoption so far.

  • The platform is still relatively untested, and may need years of development work before it can be deployed securely at scale.

  • Still hard to find the token on certain cryptocurrency exchanges.

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ICP Ratings


  • Current: 126,502,138
  • Max: 469,213,710

Network Speed

  • High: around 10,000+ Tx/s, with DFINITY developers claiming equivalence with centralized computing providers.


  • Rating: Low
  • Reason: Distribution of ICP tokens is currently low, with most of the initial supply going to developers and early investors in the Internet Computer platform. This may improve over time, as ICP becomes more widely traded and as newly minted ICP is distributed to smaller network participants.

Developer Engagement

  • Rating: Medium
  • Reason: The Internet Computer team is led by Dominic Williams, the CEO of DFINITY and a former developer of video games (prior to becoming involved in blockchain in 2013). While the platform remains young, it recently launched a $220 million fund for developers, so it’s expected that this will help its developer community to grow healthily over the coming months and years.


  • Rating: Medium
  • Reason: ICP has penetrated the top ten of cryptocurrencies by market cap, and it’s been quickly listed by a number of major exchanges. So while its liquidity isn’t high by the standards of a long-established cryptocurrency such as bitcoin or ethereum, it’s improving rapidly and is much better than that of other newer coins.

History of ICP and Internet Computer

The Internet Computer platform was conceived (at the latest) in 2016, when the DFINITY Foundation was formally founded in Zug, Switzerland. Ever since 2016, the goal has been to develop a blockchain that can host websites, systems, internet services, and financial systems that are based around smart contracts, without the use of any centralized servers or infrastructure.

This idea was enough to attract a 2018 investment of $173 million from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital. With such capital, DFINITY was able to progress substantially with the project, which launched its mainnet in December 2020. It went fully live on May 7, 2021, with the ICP token hitting its current all-time high of $700 only a few days later.

There haven’t been any major developments or updates since the May launch, as of writing. Although as stated above, the DFINITY Foundation did announce the launch of a $220 million developer fund towards the end of May, with the aim of accelerating the platform’s development.

Advantages of ICP

The core of the Internet Computer platform is its use of chain key technology. In contrast to proof-of-work and proof-of-stake consensus mechanisms, its use means that the entire Internet Computer platform needs only one public key to verify transactions, as opposed to thousands or millions. This allows it to operate at scale and speed, outstripping the likes of Ethereum and Bitcoin.

More generally, Internet Computer is an extremely ambitious platform, aiming to offer a decentralized version of the Web. If it can come anywhere close to realizing its ambitions, this would likely make ICP an exceedingly valuable cryptocurrency. At the same time, as a smart contract platform, it can also be used to run applications in decentralized finance (DeFi), giving it a solid base within the existing crypto ecosystem to branch further out.

Disadvantages of ICP

As with pretty much all innovative technologies, the Internet Computer platform remains fairly untested. We cannot yet be sure that its protocol isn’t free from significant bugs and vulnerabilities, so it may be a long time before it reaches full maturity.

On the other hand, while the notion of a decentralized internet sounds attractively idealistic and novel, it’s still not clear whether a critical mass of organizations and individuals will be interested in it enough to move away from the Amazon Web Services and Google Clouds of this world. For several years now (some) people have talked about ‘deleting Facebook’ and swapping Google for DuckDuckGo, but Facebook and Google still remain the dominant platforms in their respective areas. We could envisage a similar scenario for centralized servers, with some people complaining about the dominance of Microsoft or Amazon, for instance, but too few actually caring enough to migrate to a relatively untested alternative.

ICP Frequently Asked Questions

The ICP token is the native utility token of the Internet Computer platform. It is used for governance of Internet Computer, and for providing computing power.

Internet Computer is a blockchain capable of running web-based applications, sites and services. Its network consists in subnets, which are responsible for running the nodes that process applications and transactions. The Internet Computer protocol uses smart contracts (called ‘canisters’) to facilitate communication between applications and services. It also uses chain key technology to verify transactions and provide greater throughput than that offered by Bitcoin and other proof-of-work cryptocurrencies.

The platform is still at a very early stage of its life, so it’s not entirely clear whether it will fully deliver on its aims and promises. That said, it has received over $170 million in VC funding from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital, so it does have big money behind it.

As with every other cryptocurrency, this is a difficult question to answer. That said, ICP’s current all-time high is $700, a price based on basically no adoption or real-world use whatsoever. So assuming that the Internet Computer platform does actually gain significant traction, it could rise substantially higher than $700 in the long-term.

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