On 21st of May 2020, our Community Manager Dahee had a Live AMA session with Ricky Dodds, Strategy and Communications Lead of ICON Foundation.

Dahee: Welcome to ICON x Crypto.com Community AMA! Today we are welcoming our guest from the ICON Foundation, Ricky Dodds, Strategy and Communications Lead. We’ve got a lot of questions for you. But to start, can you briefly introduce the project and your role in the ICON Foundation?

Ricky: Absolutely...  First, thanks to the crypto.com team for hosting. And to the community for joining in!

The ICON project was founded by 5 members who previously worked together and started a company called theloop (now known as ICONLOOP), which was one of the first private enterprise blockchain companies in Korea.

ICONLOOP developed a proprietary blockchain that was used by corporations experimenting with the technology as early as 2016. And in 2017, given the interest in public blockchains and our own experience seeing the shortfalls of private blockchain and the lack of scalability of Ethereum, we decided to bring our technology to the public through the ICON project.

ICON is an interoperability project that seeks to allow value and information to pass through private and public chains. We are also very focused on enterprise through our relationship with ICONLOOP. And we have a number of identity focused products in our ecosystem that are driving adoption.

As for me, I joined ICON in 2018 and lead strategy and communications. I come from a traditional finance background. I worked in investment banking for 7+ years before joining the space. At ICON I primarily work on partnerships and strategic business development - incl. exchanges, crypto projects, and service providers. Additionally, token economics and ecosystem health (ie growth). I also work on messaging, branding, and community education and outreach from a communications perspective. Wear a lot of hats!

Dahee: Thanks for the amazing introduction, Ricky. Now let’s jump into the Q&A section!

1. Staking and DeFi are very popular in crypto space. Are there any ideas to implement DeFi in ICON platform? Does ICON have a staking program?

Ricky: So the answer is yes to both questions. Defi is coming to ICON through a number of projects including Balanced (which is synthetic assets backed by ICX), LICX (liquid ICX), and Bridge (fiat-backed stablecoin).

https://balanced.network/

https://medium.com/block42-blockchain-company/icon-tools-licx-update-3-88536f866edc (Bridge to be formally announced)

Staking has been live since September of last year. Currently, the staking reward rate is ~14% annually. And 35% of the network is staked; ~54% of the circulating supply.

Check out this guide for more information on how to get started: https://medium.com/everstake/icon-staking-guide-through-iconex-mobile-wallet-648c61ed5fa4

2. How many Dapps are on ICON?

Ricky: In Q1, ICON was ranked as the 4th largest DApp platform by DApp.com with ~35k active users. This was based on just 7 Dapps recorded. So it's still early in the space and we have some exciting DApps in the pipeline (Defi mentioned above, gaming, NFTs, tokenized assets etc). But even in the early days of growth, ICON is one of the most utilized public blockchains. Last I checked we were #8 based on transaction volume.

3. Many Blockchain Platforms are available in the Market. Why should any developers go for ICON instead of other blockchain platforms? What's advance in ICON Which makes it different & unique than other Platforms?

Ricky: On the technology side, we have some interesting features that differentiate ICON from other platforms: 1st is it’s written in python, 2nd is what we call fee 2.0: which improves user experience through fee sharing and a concept called ‘virtual step’ which abstracts away blockchain for the end user. We are also about the launch interoperability with private to public chains.

But generally speaking I believe blockchain developers go to where they can be valued. Whether that be through monetary incentives or recognition. We have a lot of opportunities for developers to get noticed and rewarded through grants, a new contribution proposal fund, and a delegation program if they are interested in running a node. We are very focused on improving open-source contribution so individuals or developer groups can get paid by the network for their respective contributions.

4.  A fundamental concept is to develop a good positioning for ICON on the Smart Contract platform landscape. Taking a look on projects like "Balanced" from ICX_Station it looks like we are bringing to ICX something that already exists on DeFi. So I would ask: Is there a target to reach in the long run different than "a little bit of what everyone is doing"?

Ricky: Good question. For Balanced, it really blends a mix of a number of projects: Synthetix, MakerDao, and Compound. But I get your point. Just to be clear, ICON Network is an open public blockchain so anyone is free to build whatever they would like, and the community will ascribe a value to it by either using it or not. And we’re happy to see some good uses of our tech through a number of DApps thus far. When you think about it there are a few areas that have seen some modest success on Ethereum so it’s only logical that we're seeing some similar activities on our network. That said, we also have some unique DApps on our platform - not found on Ethereum. Like Somesing, Stayge etc.

And from the foundation's perspective, we have an identity and interoperability focus so that's driving a lot of core team activities at the moment.

5. Which Programming Languages are currently Supported by ICON LoopChain? or does Loopchain have it's own Language? Currently I know most of Programming languages like JS, C++, Go, Solidity, etc! So, can i Develop on ICON with these programming Languages too?

Ricky: Loopchain is written in Python and our official SDKs include: Python, Java, Javascript. And some ‘unofficial’ SDKs include: PHP, C#, C++. Check out this site for more detail: https://www.icondev.io/

6. Could you elaborate on your partnership with SAMSUNG? How exactly are you partnered up?

Ricky: Sure! Our ecosystem partner ICONLOOP has had several partnerships and alliances with Samsung over the past several years. But currently, Samsung Electronics and Samsung Securities are apart of the myID alliance ICONLOOP's leading decentralized ID consortium in Korea.  

You can find more info on the myid alliance here: https://myidalliance.org/en/

And I'm happy to answer any follow-up questions on myid in the next section!

7.  Will you focus on connecting public blockchains only or will you support the integration of private blockchains as well? If so, with whom are you looking to cooperate?

Ricky: We will be releasing our private to public interchain technology, BTP, (blockchain transmission protocol) next week. We'll also be sharing a PoC demo of the technology. We also plan to integrate BTP for public to public interchain and are currently researching relayer design/economics. Broadly speaking, we will be able to integrate with any smart contract platform and chains with deterministic finality.

Live Q1. ICON Foundation announced entering into a technical cooperation with LCX, can you describe how you intend using LCX technology to explore tokenization capabilities and innovation in the security token industry?

Ricky: Good question. So we won't necessarily be using their technology. However, we will be working closely with their team to navigate the ever-changing regulatory and tokenized asset issuance space. Stay tuned for more details!

Live Q2. ICON was once dubbed the "Korean Ethereum". How do you guys intend to make yourself outshine ethereum in the future so more people will adopt ICON instead of still relying on the current ETH? And being in Korea, will there be any problems trying to go global?

Ricky: Thanks for the question. Maybe we can make Etheruem the ICON of Canada? I kid. But in all reality we are still growing as a platform, both in technology and community. It's improving by the day and we're seeing actual adoption of our tech in Korean enterprise with #broof and Visitme. Also with BTP around the corner + myid launch, things are looking up!

Live Q3. Can you briefly explain how the Top milestones that the ICON team aims to execute before the end of this year or going to execute in future, will help them succeed and What ICON may look like in 2020 and beyond?

Ricky: We recently released our novel consensus algorithm which improves upon PBFT consensus. In simple terms, it's faster and requires less messaging. As I mentioned before, we're going to release BTP next week. This is a HUGE milestone for the project and the adoption of the network.

As for the rest of the year, we have a number of cool things in the pipeline focused on actual use-case and adoption that we'll share soon!

Live Q4. Can you talk about the "Broof" Product? What role does ICX play in this ecosystem?

Ricky: #broof is a digital certification platform that is seeing a lot of interest from enterprise. We actually issued diplomas using #broof for Postech University (because of Covid-19). #broof utilizes $ICX for transaction fees. If you're interested in finding more about #broof check this out. https://www.getrevue.co/profile/helloiconworld/issues/issue-5-icon-newsletter-the-broof-is-in-the-pudding-226487

https://www.theblockcrypto.com/linked/55176/south-korean-university-issues-blockchain-stored-diplomas-amid-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus

Live Q5. What will be the next killer Dapp area, you think of for mass adoption, like DeFi, Gaming or something else?

Ricky: Maybe not a dapp.. but I really think decentralized identity will be a big driver for bridging offline and online use-case. Interoperability with identity is what we're focused on.

Live Q6. What is the main use of $ICX ?

Ricky: ICX serves as a utility token to power smart contracts. It's also a governance/staking token. So you vote with it, and receive rewards for your effort in securing the network.

Live Q7. What projects are now using the ICON stack? Tell us more about the projects currently building on ICON…

Ricky: The ICON technology stack powers a number of applications across enterprise (and a number of DApps mentioned previously). Some of the most notable running our core loopchain engine are Seoul Metropolitan Government, Japan’s LINE Corp, and CENgold, the largest gold exchange in Korea. Other include: Samsung Electronics, Shihan Bank etc.

Dahee: Awesome! I recognize many well known companies. Thanks for all the questions! Much appreciation for your insightful responses, Ricky.

Ricky: Just thanks again for participating and for hosting (Dahee). If you have any more questions or your question didn’t get answered, please hop in our telegram group. https://t.me/hello_iconworld

We’d be happy to help!  

Dahee: Thank you so much Ricky! Enjoyed a lot!

Today’s ICON x Crypto.com Community AMA is done. We appreciate the folks who stayed all the way.  

All questions that were addressed during the AMA will share a pool of 1,500 ICX. Congratulations to all of the winners! Our Community Manager will reach out to the winners individually.  

ICX rewards will be issued within 14 days after the campaign ends. You can log in and see your App's ICX wallet section.

See you next time!