ICON is one of the South Korea-based blockchain projects. When it was first introduced to the masses, many Korean crypto enthusiasts hyped ICON as if it was South Korea’s answer to Ethereum and NEO. ICON itself is a blockchain network with the main purpose of facilitating interoperability among independent chains.
ICON was more popular back in 2017 and 2018, but they have not been very famous anymore in recent months. So, what actually happened? And is it still worth our money to invest in ICON’s native cryptocurrency, ICX? Let’s analyze together with this article.
ICON - Summary
ICON is another blockchain project that tries to capture different use cases with an extra feature in the name of interoperability. Many of what other blockchain projects can do, ICON can do it as well. For example, ICON can do basic smart contract transactions, just like how Ethereum does it.
However, as mentioned earlier, the focus of ICON is to be able to facilitate interoperability among different chains. The long-term vision of ICON is to serve as a framework for a network of chains that includes enterprises and big organizations from different industries, such as banking, education, and health care.
Each of these chains has the privilege to create its own governance mechanism while still connect to ICON’s blockchain called the loopchain. This loopchain can connect different blockchain communities through what they call as the ICON Republic. So, the ICON Republic is like a leader of the government for a federation of these independent chains. The analogy is like this; ICON Republic is the federal leader, while each of the blockchain communities represents one state.
These communities connect to the ICON Republic through the representatives that they call as C-Reps. These C-Reps then will have to connect to Nexus (loopchain-based blockchain that directly supports the Republic), and the same C-Reps will act as Portals for different chains to communicate with the Nexus, and even to communicate with the other chains through the ICON Republic.
How they imagine ICON ecosystem - from the whitepaper
The transaction fee inside the ICON ecosystem is directly correlated to what they call as SCORE, which is short for Smart Contract On Reliable Environment. The transaction fee policy here decides the smart contract operation cost.
And then, they also have what they call as IISS, which is short for ICON Incentives Scoring System. This IISS is basically how the ICON network rewards its users when they become honest nodes. The core team claimed that their IISS system is AI-based evaluation system, so it will get better over time.
Overall, ICON is trying to do different things at once, and it is hoping that different government institutions and big corporations can connect to each other through its loopchain. The mechanism is complex, but it will be hugely rewarding if they can convince all the big institutions to use ICON.
Analyzing ICON Team
Like how I have mentioned it with my other articles, it’s quite important to know who’s behind the project. When it comes to crypto investment, you want to believe in the coin’s future for a longer period of time, and not just for the next few months. And who can help the coin’s future if not the core team itself?
So, how about the ICON team? Well, the foundation of the project is called ICON Foundation, which is created by DAYLI Financial Group, and the entity that develops the blockchain is called ICONLOOP. The weird thing is, ICON Foundation core team members do not want to show their faces on the team members page. Instead, they show the list of their advisors along with each individual’s achievements.
In my opinion, knowing about the core team members is much more important than knowing about the advisors. As everybody knows, advisors are just advisors. They are not the decision-makers nor the ones who know inside out of the project.
But, anyway, I got some slight information about the Foundation Council Members from LinkedIn and TheIcon.Ist. Apparently, the big names inside the ICON Foundation include KJ Eee, Keun Jae Kim, Min Kim, Hoon Lee, Jay Kim, and Jonghyup Kim.
Min Kim used to work as Chief Strategy Officer for DAYLI Financial Group as well as Chief Operating Officer for Tapas Media Inc. He was also the Investment Banking Associate for Deutsche Bank and the Research Analyst for FMV Opinions, Inc. According to rhizomeicx.com, Min Kim is perceived as the voice of ICON toward the international, English-speaking supporters.
Min Kim (right) with the Seoul Mayor - image source
As for Jonghyup Kim, he used to be the Assistant Manager at Jang Media Interactive, and the Co-Founder of BTWorks. Besides being a Council Member of ICON Foundation, JH Kim is also the CEO of ICONLOOP, the company that’s responsible for creating the ICON public blockchain ecosystem, along with other private enterprise blockchain solutions.
And then, we have Kyoung June Eee (KJ Eee), who is the CEO of Dayli Financial Group. He used to be the founder of Nomad Connection, which is a Korean software development company that specializes in enabling IPTV streaming on mobile devices. Compared to JH Kim and Min Kim, he seems much more invisible publicly, but he might have great influence behind the scenes due to his role as CEO of Dayli Financial Group.
Next, we have Hoon Lee, the Chief Strategy Officer of Dayli Intelligence. Before his time with the ICON project, he used to be the Senior Analyst at Woori Financial Research Institute. Hoon is a bright guy; he holds a BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He also holds the Ph.D title in Management of Technology from the Seoul National University, which is a top university in South Korea itself.
Last but not least, there’s Keun Jae Kim, who is the Chief Financial Officer at ICONLOOP. Prior to his promotion to CFO position, he used to be the CFO at Dayli Intelligence. Before his experience with everything related to ICON, he was an employee at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
It is assumed that these five names above are basically the leaders of the ICON project. It looks like they have been working together for years in the same office, and I can say they look like they have great connections and work relationships with the South Korean corporations.
Due to the well-connected individuals in the ICON team, this project has successfully obtained very important partners in recent years.
The biggest partnership announcement was their MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Samsung, where it was claimed that Samsung would use ICON’s Chain ID for the Samsung Pass application in Samsung mobile devices. For your information, Samsung Pass utilizes a biometric system that you might already aware of if you have one of Samsung phones in your hand.
Biggest announcement from ICON in the past 2 years
Another big announcement was ICON’s partnership with LINE, a Whatsapp-like messaging application that is quite popular in Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia. The partnership was about Line blockchain network and a new blockchain ecosystem called Unchain.
The next one is ICON’s partnership with Chain Partners, which is known for its exchange called Daybit. The partnership would list ICX token on Daybit, whereas Chain Partners would join ICON’s public representative election as one of the candidates.
And last one, ICON partnered with KyberNetwork in January 2018. The partnership was to help employ the scalable protocol of KyBerNetwork services and link them with other blockchains inside the ICON ecosystem.
All the four names are quite important, although Samsung news was definitely seen as the biggest announcement among them all.
ICON looks like a success story in the making. It has strong ties to big corporations, and its technology has been used as private blockchain solutions for enterprises that are interested in utilizing the blockchain technology.
That being said, ICON faces multiple potential roadblocks for its future. First of all, some ICON skeptics accuse that the ICON team does not have any clear focus. They claim that the focus of ICONLOOP is just to satisfy their enterprise clients with their private blockchain solutions. And all these projects wouldn’t bring natural demand to increase ICX token price.
Another potential problem is the lack of popularity of ICON public blockchain itself. In the past 12 months, ICON hasn’t really able to steal any crypto spotlight. It has been working under the public spotlight, mostly, which is quite different from late 2017 and early 2018, where everybody seemed pretty enthusiastic about ICON.
The rising popularity of Ethereum and other smart contract platforms might also make it harder for ICON to regain its popularity.
External Factor And ICX Price
So, we have learned the important things that can affect ICX token price in the future. But is it enough to make our decision? Unfortunately, it is not enough. In crypto space, we need to understand that there is one big external factor that hugely affects altcoin prices. That factor is called Bitcoin price action.
Yes, whether we like it or not, Bitcoin price has affected altcoin prices since many years ago. That means altcoin prices tend to go up when Bitcoin price goes up, and they tend to go down when Bitcoin price goes down. ICX won’t be any different, unfortunately.
So, what will happen to Bitcoin price this year? Nobody knows. Some analysts predict Bitcoin is very likely to keep going up following this year’s mining reward halving event. If that prediction comes true, it’s possible ICX will pump heavily end of this year or next year.
However, some other analysts predict the exact opposite. They think Bitcoin price would actually go down this year due to a lack of new demand in the crypto space. If Bitcoin price goes down, most likely, ICX price will go down as well against the fiat currencies.
Either way, you need to pay close attention to Bitcoin price action as it will decide the trend for ICX future price.
When it comes to social stats, ICON is actually doing quite decent. ICON’s official telegram channel has around 14,000 members, with around 500-900 online members at the same time. As for its twitter account and its reddit page, there does not seem to be many activities and user comments. However, that’s already expected, as most crypto recent users like to chat more on Telegram rather than on twitter and reddit.
ICON telegram channel stats
ICON is a decent project with strong ties to South Korea's huge corporations. The future is bright, and it is worth it to invest your money in ICX. That being said, it looks like ICON’s popularity has been going down recently as it is not hyped anymore as much as it was back in 2017 and 2018. Only time will tell whether ICON can pull it off or not in this very competitive crypto space.