What Is ICON?

The ICON system is fantastic in that it allows Communities to be almost completely independent. Unlike the Globalist tones of the whitepaper, the system is the opposite of Globalism. Each Community has near autonomy, in that it can have its own currency and sets its own rules, even its own consensus algorithm. Likewise, ICON allows the flexibility to create Communities in various different countries with various different laws and regulations for crypto companies.

Connecting all these different communities is the decentralized ICON Republic blockchain. This block chain uses ICX Coins. On top of this blockchain, third parties can create DAPPs that can interact with Communities and one another, or just be standalone operations. So we can now outline where ICX tokens are used: on the ICON Republic blockchain, when communities interact with one another, when communities interact with the ICON Republic, when communities interact with DAPPs, and when DAPPs interact with each other. The most important thing to note is that the ICX coin is not needed within Communities.

The advent of the blockchain technology has introduced the world of decentralization and is challenging our preconceived perspectives of the current social, political, and economic systems, most notably, the central banking system. The rapid advancement of this technology has begun to break the boundaries between countries, providing glimpses of an improved, alternative future.

Yet, the technology is still at its infancy and is plagued with shortcomings in terms of performance, ease of use, and service quality. Apart from these demands, many blockchain projects place emphasis on the decentralization of the blockchain, but present a number of limitations in real-world applications. There are fascinating projects such as Steem that operates a crypto world, a virtual service on top of its own blockchain.

However, other projects that attempt to connect to the real-world are facing limitations, and hence, realizing the need for more research and development. To overcome such limitation of connecting the real world to crypto world, ICON was started.

Launched in 2015, Ethereum was the first project to introduce the concept of ‘Smart Contract’ in the blockchain world, opening the unforeseen possibilities of Decentralized Applications(DAPPs). Ethereum is widely considered the greatest milestone in blockchain technology since the first introduction of Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto; therefore, is referred to as Blockchain 2.0. It paved blockchain application beyond simple cryptocurrency transaction to a wider use of the technology.

Various DAPPs have been developed, most notably a USD 170 million decentralized and autonomous venture capital fund called the DAO project. Unfortunately, DAO was hacked in June 2016 and Ethereum went through hard-fork to restore the stolen funds. Many issues, particularly Proof-of-Stake consensus, are still under discussion among Ethereum developers, including the founder Vitalik Buterin and other miners.

Despite the facts above, Ethereum is gaining popularity as a ICO platform due to the simplicity of ERC20 Token generation. But ironically, the popularity of certain ICOs such as Status.im has resulted in overload of the entire Ethereum network.


Bancor provides Decentralized Exchange (DEX) that allows real-time cryptocurrency transactions based on fair price deriving algorithm that uses Ethereum reserves. With the concept of exchanging Ether and Bancor Token(BNT) via DEX, Bancor raised over USD 150 million in ICO. Bancor was successful in supporting different business models such as ETFs, by exchanging cryptocurrencies based on reserves.

However, we believe it faces significant challenges due to the high transaction fees and performance limits when running on Ethereum. Due to the reasons above, the real-time cryptocurrency conversion using Bancor tokens does not seem easy to implement.


EOS is a blockchain platform that primarily focuses on scalability issues of Ethereum. It is a Proof-ofStake consensus algorithm that generates blocks in every 3 seconds and removes the transaction fees to invigorate DAPPs. EOS, even at its current developmental stage, is counted on by many for its potential to replace Ethereum.

But so far, it appears to have no substantial difference from Ethereum other than the consensus algorithm. Furthermore, its smart contract platform is based on Virtual Machines (VM) like Ethereum; therefore, we need to see if EOS is capable of handling massive, real-time transactions.

Hyperconnect the World

The ICON Project began with the goal to enrich our everyday lives through “connection”. The history of mankind’s technological innovation is related to our history of connection. The creation of postal service made it possible to connect each other's thoughts without having to physically meet each other. Telephones made it possible to connect each other in real-time regardless of the distance, and wireless communication added freedom of mobility. With the advent of the Internet, real-time connection to everything, not just people, has become possible anywhere in the world. Despite these breakthrough, today’s level of connection is still not perfect. With the ICON Project, we are now moving closer to a more seamless connection.

We live in a world where it is possible to buy a cup of latte at Starbucks with one swipe of a credit card. But in fact, there is a more complex process behind the scenes. The information acquired from POS terminal including card number, expiration date, billing address, and CVC are stored in and transmitted to the databases of seven (7) intermediaries such as a front-end processor (FEP) company, and transmitted to pipelines; various fees are incurred at each stage of the process. The credit card network is a centralized system that depends on security and reliability of trusted third parties.

ICON is a decentralized network different from the existing centralized networks. Transactions on the ICON Network are verified by a ledger shared within the community network itself, not controlled by a centralized authority. This minimizes the involvement of unnecessary intermediaries, which significantly reduces the fees.

In addition, decentralization ensures autonomy and independence of the community. In order to connect to a centralized system, it is inevitable to passively accept the policies and system determined by the centralized organization. For instance, to use VISA or MasterCard for payment, it is required to use their designated system and follow their policies. However, the ICON Network allows each community to autonomously determine their systems and policies, while reliably connect to other communities when needed.

ICON aims to eradicate various boundaries that have been existed in the centralized system. Imagine stock investors in Korea trading Apple stocks in real-time with US stock investors, or medical researchers at Korean university hospitals obtaining permission to work with diabetes patients’ data from Sydney and London. Cross-border connections will be accelerated through the tokenization of assets and rights, and the dynamics of the network will be maximized.

Currencies, tangible assets such as real estates and automobiles, intangible assets such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks, our legal rights such as suffrage and citizenship, and even DNA data or blood tests can benefit from tokenization4 . This forces us to rethink everything, even obscures the space-time boundary, and makes distinguishing tangibles from intangibles meaningless. It is possible to trade 0.2 apartments with 0.8 cars, and pay insurance fee directly just by uploading 5 posts on our social media.

ICON brings the connection of humanities one step closer through real-time transactions beyond the boundary and infinite scalability that enables free collaborations.

Getting Started With ICON

A wide variety of communities tailored to each business are formed around the world in various fields such as finance, public service, logistics, healthcare, IoT, energy, manufacture, and E-Commerce. With the development and spread of blockchain technology, these communities are expected to accelerate both in quantity and quality.

In such an environment, most tasks will be handled through Smart Contracts within the community, and the role of many centralized agencies and intermediaries in each field will gradually shrink or disappear, accelerating the paradigm shift of business processing. It is expected that changes to the community-centered work environment will not only affect the way the community works internally, but also fundamentally change the way works are handled between communities.

In general, most communities initially begin with the goal of improving the work efficiency among the internal members of the community, but in many cases they evolve naturally in the direction of increasing transactions with the outside world. In this case, rather than handling external affairs through a separate centralized institution, the Smart Contract of each community will become the subject of the transaction and the works will be handled through the connection between the Smart Contracts.

In the megatrends that will result from the spread of blockchain technology, ICON aims to be in the lead by connecting communities to create an environment where all communities in ICON Republic can work in real time based on Smart Contracts. As the number of communities connected through ICON increases, the transactions in ICON Republic will increase exponentially, resulting in maximum utility of each and every community members connected through ICON.


ICON constitutes a network where various blockchain-based independent Communities are connected via C-Rep to form a greater community, or ICON Republic. In ICON, blockchain network constituting Republic is called Nexus, and C-Rep is configured as Portal, so that blockchains connected to Nexus can handle token transfers and various transactions quickly and reliably through Portal. A Nexus can connect to another Nexus-equivalent blockchain network, and this allows blockchain networks to scale and expand in diverse ways.

Conceptual Model

With ICON, numbers of blockchains are connected around Nexus via Portal. Nexus is a loopchainbased blockchain. It facilitates a decentralized governance by allowing Portals and different nodes to participate. Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP) facilitates transactions among independent blockchains connected to Nexus through respective Portals. This structure, connecting a network with one type of governance to another network, works as Internet that connects every computer into one communication network by establishing 'Networks of Networks'.


Internet is a computer network system across the globe that connects the world with standard Internet protocol called TCP/IP. Likewise, ICON uses BTP as the standard protocol. In order to construct a massive network of blockchains, it guarantees independent governance to different blockchains and makes mutual connections only when they are needed. It does not connect every participant to a single blockchain.


Nexus is a Multi-Channel blockchain comprised of Light Client of respective blockchains. Each blockchain is connected to Nexus via Portal and each Portal, basically the representative of independent networks, participates in Nexus blockchain network as a node. Since Nexus is built on the basis of loopchain, its consensus is achieved based on LFT consensus algorithm, one of the loopchain features with a unique function of grouping. Nexus includes a Representation Channel through which operational policies are proposed and selected by voting.

Each Portal, as the C-Rep representing its community, participates in the Representation Channel. Tokens called ICX (ICON Exchange) are embedded in Nexus and the interconnected blockchains can use ICX to transfer values. As a blockchain itself, Nexus can be connected to another Nexus, allowing different blockchains with different governance structures to execute transactions and exchange values.


As a component that connects independent blockchain to Nexus, Portals are connected to Nexus through BTP. Depending on the policy of respective blockchains, Portal can be organized by a single node or multiple nodes, or it can make another form of consensus network to serve the different needs.

The Portal is best understood as an analog to the SWIFT8 network in international banking, which facilitates communications between financial institutions with different currency systems. Likewise, the number of nodes in Nexus can also be single or plural. Nodes are managed in one group by loopchain’s grouping function. Portal represents its own blockchain as a C-Rep and suggests the policies and votes for it within Representation Channel to realize a decentralized governance.

BTP (Blockchain Transmission Protocol)

BTP is a protocol to connect transactions among blockchains that are linked to Nexus. It is through the Notary Channels in Nexus that the transmitter blockchain transfers the transactions to the receiver blockchain. In this sense, Nexus nodes with voting rights to the Notary channels possess multiple channels, where the Light Client of each blockchain connected to Nexus is counted as one channel.

A Notary channel is implemented based on Multi-Channel function of loopchain. It can identify the transactions confirmed by respective blockchains through the blockchain’s Light Client connected to Nexus.


Multiple signatures of nodes with voting rights to request Notary registration are included in the blocks to form blockchains of the Notary Channel. The block data with the transactions registered to Notary channel will then be transmitted to the Receiver blockchain via Portal. When the Receiver blockchain verifies the relevant block data, it validates the signature of each node based on the certificates of nodes from Notary channel. If two-thirds or more of the signatures are confirmed according to the Notary channel standards which follows the LFT consensus algorithm, the agreement will be confirmed and the requested transaction will be executed.


BTP consists of NotaryRequest(Tx) which confirms whether the transaction from the transmission blockchain is confirmed in Nexus and Notary(Tx) which transfers the transaction confirmed by Nexus to the receiving blockchain. Transactions initiated in the transmission blockchain are identified on the Nexus through the Light Client of the corresponding blockchain and registered in the Notary Channel. Transactions registered in the Notary Channel are delivered to the receiving blockchain, and the receiving blockchain verifies the signature of the delivered Notary block to verify the consensus in Nexus, and thereby processes the transaction.


DEX (Decentralized Exchange)

DEX9 is a trading platform that executes transactions automatically on a blockchain, rather than a centralized exchange that relies on a trusted third party, typically represented by cryptocurrency exchanges. Although centralized exchanges are easy to use and are available of various types of transactions such as reserved transactions and margin transactions, users have to completely trust the exchange and anonymous transactions are difficult to take place since users have to sign up before use.

In particular, users are the ones who suffer from the damage when accidents such as hacking break out, as in the case of the Mt.Gox security breach10. DEX, on the other hand, enables automated transactions without the need to trust a particular exchange, supports completely anonymous transactions, and is free from problems such as server breakdown and hacking. Bitsquare11 and Bitshares12 are some examples of DEX, but they had some issues of users always having to be online during the transactions, in addition to issues regarding liquidity shortfall.

As a blockchain network that links multiple blockchains with their own unique governance, ICON provides DEX based on ICX. It enables transactions among different cryptocurrencies by determining the exchange rate through Reserve based on the Bancor Protocol13. For transactions between ETH and ICX, DEX can be comprised of nodes with voting rights to Reserve Smart Contracts within Ethereum and ICON. In this case, the price of ICX is determined according to the following equation:


If one purchases ICX with ETH via DEX, the Reserve Balance composed of ETH increases and the ICX Volume decreases, resulting in an increase in the ICX Price. Conversely, buying ETH with ICX reduces the Reserve Balance and increases the ICX Volume, resulting in a decrease in the ICX Price. Please refer to the Formulas for Bancor system14 for the details on the purchase price and ICX token number calculation.

If ICX is listed and traded on another exchange, its value at the corresponding exchange and the value at ICON DEX may be different. In this case, arbitrage transactions which lead to ETH inflow and exchange will take place, thereby resulting in similar price levels of ICX. Such an ICX-based DEX scheme enables trading of the cryptocurrencies of various independent blockchains connected to ICON. In the case of blockchains that use BFT15 series consensus algorithms in particular, such as loopchain, exchanges are processed in real time.

For example, if there is a blockchain for financial institutions connected to Nexus and a cryptocurrency called Fcoin used only among the concerned financial institutions, Fcoin DEX service is provided based on the Reserve made up of Fcoin and ICX, in which Fcoin and ICX can be traded in real time. Moreover, since the converted ICX can then be used for exchange with other cryptocurrencies connected to ICON, transactions among different cryptocurrencies are ultimately realized. Another key feature of ICON DEX is that it can establish an A.I.

Analysis Model16 based on the accumulated data such as total call volume, transaction frequency, and price involved in transactions among different cryptocurrencies. Such data enable various adjustments of features such as the Reserve Rate and the Reserve composition ratio of each cryptocurrency, which in turn create a stable cryptocurrency that can be used in real life.


ICONex is ICON's Wallet supporting ICX and various cryptocurrencies. ICONex boasts faster transactions, secure payments, and liquid exchange across multiple cryptocurrencies with user-friendly UX and UI.


ICONick is a convenient ‘wallet ID’ used in the ICON network. Use your own unique nickname instead of a long and complicated default wallet address to conveniently transfer or exchange ICX.


As a key member of ‘Blockchain Interoperability Alliance’, ICON shares a common goal to interconnect with isolated blockchain networks and develop global standards for inter-blockchain networks.

How To Get A ICON Wallet?

Several organizations are involved with ICON, including the ICON Foundation, a nonprofit in Switzerland. The foundation will support the community in multiple ways and led the ICON Token Sale. Theloop is a company focused on developing blockchain engines with headquarters in Korea. It is in charge of the Smart Contracts and ICON Nexus development.

Finally, DAYLI Intelligence provides DAVinCI, which is the artificial intelligence solution that optimizes distribution and the network. The team behind ICON is extensive, including eight advisors; six members of the foundation council; 13 people in the blockchain department; five in the AI department; and an additional five team members for marketing, design, and security.

ICON Use Cases

Blockchain ID is one of the decentralized apps, or DApps, that make up the ICON network, and it provides new levels of security and identification. Members of the financial security community can use it to verify IDs in other communities. Blockchain ID works via Smart Contracts and will save time when verifying your identity to do things like get a student discount or open a bank account.


Another DApp is Payment & Exchange, which can work between communities, letting a company in one community or industry send money to a business in another community. The ICON Wallet is able to exchange, transfer, and settle various currencies in real-time using a decentralized exchange. This provides uses for nearly all industries, most notably banks, insurance, securities, and universities.

Advantages of ICON

ICON is scalable, working to provide solutions for companies of any size. It works without an issue with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other traditional blockchains. At the same time, it also works seamlessly with other third-party blockchain networks linked to the real world. This allows ICON to combine the real world with the crypto-world, opening up possibilities for businesses and connectivity.

The ICON network aims to be highly usable, making it possible to utilize blockchain technology in daily lives. Throughout project development, the team has worked to create real-world applications to be used by real communities and businesses. ICON will also have DAVinCI, the artificial intelligence solution from ICON that major financial institutions already trust.

ICON is also decentralized, following a growing trend ideal for free communities. Thanks to the decentralized nature of the network, communities can interact and connect with others, even if they have different structures of governance. Anyone can join the network with their own DApp that has independent governance.

Become A Node

Becoming a node on ICON Republic is as simple as creating your own DApp. Those who become nodes receive rewards based on the ICON activation performance. An artificial intelligence system ensures a fair distribution of rewards, optimizing distribution while ensuring total decentralization.

Token Sale

The token sale for ICON’s ICX tokens closed in September 2017. The target was 150,000 ETH, which was the only cryptocurrency accepted during the sale. The total token supply was 400,230,000 ICX, with an exchange rate of 2,500 ICX for each ETH. Fifty percent of available tokens were allocated for the sale, with a further 16 percent going to the reserve. Fourteen percent went to the foundation; 10 percent to community group and strategy partners; and 10 percent to the team, advisors, and early contributors.


The proceeds from the recent token sale are fairly divided, with 20 percent going each to the tech company and one reserve. Another reserve receives 15 percent, with the same amount going toward business development. Twelve percent is allocated for operation expenses, with 8 percent for marketing expenses and 10 percent for strategy partners. Those who missed the token sale can trade for ICX. With the completion of the MAIN NET Launch, you do not even need exchanges to do so. Check for updates on ICON’s social network channels to see when ICX is available on exchanges and where to find it.

ICON Resources

How To Buy ICON?

You are not able to purchase ICX with “Fiat” currency so you will need to first purchase another currency – the easiest to buy are Bitcoin or Ethereum which you can do at Coinbase using a bank transfer or debit / credit card purchase and then swap that for ICX at an exchange such as Binance.

Register at Coinbase

For first time buyers of crypto currency, we recommend that you use Coinbase to make your first purchase – its easy to use, fully regulated by the US government so you know it is one of the safest and most reputable places to purchase cryptocurrency from. Coinbase offers the ability to purchase Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum with a credit or debit card or by sending a bank transfer. The fees are higher for cards but you will receive your currency instantly.

You will have to carry out some identity verification when signing up as they have to adhere to strict financial guidelines. Make sure you use our link to signup you will be credited with $10 in free bitcoin when you make your first purchase of $100.


To get started, click the “Sign up” button where you will be taken to a registration form where you will need to enter your name, email and choose a password.

Purchase Ethereum

For this guide, we will be purchasing Ethereum to swap for our target cryptocurrency. The reason for this is that it has far cheaper fees than bitcoin for sending and the transaction also happens a lot faster. So in Coinbase, visit the “Buy / Sell” tab at the top, select “Ethereum”, choose your payment method and enter the amount you wish to purchase – you can either enter a US Dollar amount or a number of Ether.


You will then be asked to confirm your transaction, if paying with a card you might have to complete a verification with your card provider. Once that’s complete, your Ethererum will be added to your account.

Purchase ICX at Binance

You can now send your Ether over to Binance to make your purchase of ICX, take a look at our review of Binance here to see how to signup and purchase on their exchange.


In Q3 of 2017, ICON had the first meetup of developers and created the open source for the loop chain. It also partnered with a major bank. In Q4, it completed the ICO and listed ICX, the token. The U-coin pilot service opened at three universities, the blockchain-based auto-claim pilot service for insurance companies opened, and the blockchain ID service opened for financial investment consortium. In Q4, the MAIN NET Launch occurred, as did the Decentralized Exchange Launch. In addition, the wallet released for the web, Android, and iOS.

Latest ICON News

Air drop / Token swap announcements


ICONex, the official wallet service of ICON is open. ICONex is a wallet where you can keep not only ICX but also other various crypto-currencies. Starting with today’s PC version (Chrome extension), we will expand to mobile version (Android & iOS) wallets in the near future.

Furthermore, we have some news regarding the ICX Airdrop and Token Swap schedules.

MOU between theloop & Cyberdigm


Seoul, January 29, 2018; theloop has signed a MOU with Cyberdigm, a company specializing in unstructured contents management, in hopes of collaborating efforts to develop a blockchain-based contract platform. Both companies expect to enhance the credibility of the electronic contract system using blockchain technology. They believe this cooperation will lead to decrease in cost and simplification of the process.

The contract platform can be applied in various fields but the most actively applied sector is expected to be the frequently-repeated contracts such as rent or utility bills. The contracts could be automated on the platform through the smart contracts. Moreover, the contents will be tracked and managed on the blockchains. These changes are anticipated to save time and cost significantly. When the contract platform is applied into other various sectors of our daily lives, the benefits it could bring will be incremental.

theloop-Raonsecure MOU

Co-development of world’s first FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) system using blockchain technology.


Seoul, February 12, 2018: theloop and Raonsecure, a biometrics technology services company, have signed an MOU to co-develop a FIDO system using blockchain technology.

FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) is the global standard for biometrics using fingerprint, iris, facial recognition, etc. It is considered to be one of the rising next generation authentication technology.

Recently, the demand for integrated IDs on blockchains and FIDO authentication has been growing rapidly. The two companies have agreed to collaborate their efforts at developing an innovative FIDO authentication system model using blockchain technology.

The blockchain biometrics system will reduce the security risk which has been inevitable for the centralized systems such as banking service certificates or other private certificates. It is also expected to solidify the credibility of the authentication. We look forward to introduce this system as a new global standard.