Internet Computer is new crypto worth $35 billion in three days — here’s why

 illustration of the litecoin, ripple and ethereum cryptocurrency 'altcoins' sit arranged for a photograph beside a smartphone displaying the current price chart for ethereum
(Image credit: Jack Taylor | Getty Images)

Internet Computer (ICP) is the hottest new cryptocurrency available for purchase, and it’s already one of the most valuable coins on the market mere days after release.

Just launched on Monday, Internet Computer (ICP) is currently #8 on CoinMarketCap's chart of the most valuable cryptocurrencies based on market cap, or the total amount of coins multiplied by the current market price of each coin. As of this writing, ICP’s market cap sits right around $37 Billion. That means this new coin is rubbing elbows with longer-running cryptos like Ripple’s XRP and Cardano (ADA). 

Blockchain nonprofit foundation DFINITY has ambitious plans for its Internet Computer decentralized network, promising nothing less than a reinvention of the web as we know it. Crypto investors appear to be jumping on the hype train, hoping they don’t miss out on an opportunity to buy a coin that could potentially multiply in value several times over.

ICP is also sharing the Top 10 with heavyweights like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), although it’s not nearly as valuable. Bitcoin’s market cap sits above $1 Trillion, and Ethereum’s cap is currently just under $500 Billion after breaking that barrier for the very first time earlier today (while also setting an all-time price high).

It’s also worth noting that the price of Internet Computer has fallen significantly today, although not enough to knock the ICP out of the Top 10. According to CoinDesk, ICP began trading at 249 USDT (Tether, equivalent to $249) on Monday and hit a high of $737.20 in wild early trading, landing just above $400 by the end of the day. The price continued to creep down on Tuesday, and started Wednesday trading at about $372.

As of this writing, the price has fallen some 17% in the last 24 hours to $300. That said, most of the market is down right now according to CoinMarketCap, with some popular cryptocurrencies down in double digits (like Dogecoin, down nearly 10%), while recent bull beneficiary Ethereum is actually up a smidge. None in the Top 10 have fallen as hard as Internet Computer, however, with perhaps added volatility in play given that it’s much less established than other coins.

What exactly is Internet Computer? It’s a decentralized, blockchain-driven protocol that aims to make web publishing faster and easier, without the influence of powerful, centralized tech companies. In other words, developers and creators will be able to launch apps and services that run on nodes distributed around the world, seemingly resistant to censorship and oversight from traditional web hosts and platforms. Every node participating in the network acts as an internet server of sorts. It’s kind of like if the Internet was hosted on something like BitTorrent. 

Future improvements to the infrastructure promise to make the network run at “web speed,” and the platform is designed to support the development of decentralized apps (dapps) such as social media clients, decentralized finance (DeFi) services and more.

Aside from being a speculative investment, of course, the ICP coin is used within the Internet Computer ecosystem for network governance, as rewards for node operators, and as “fuel for computation,” as explained by crypto research resource Messari. Developers pay the fees for dapps running on Internet Computer, rather than users, so the ICP coin is not necessary for use of services that run on the platform.

Internet Computer (ICP) is already available via major cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase and Binance, and given the team’s bold aims and the coin’s quick entry to the upper echelon of current crypto projects, it’ll be one to keep an eye on going forward.

Andrew Hayward

Andrew Hayward is a freelance writer for Tom’s Guide who contributes laptop and other hardware reviews. He’s also the Culture Editor at crypto publication Decrypt covering the world of Web3. Andrew’s writing on games and tech has been published in more than 100 publications since 2006, including Rolling Stone, Vice, Polygon, Playboy, Stuff, and GamesRadar.