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[Coinlive Interview] Jan Camenisch, CTO of DFINITY Foundation

Coinlive: Good morning, this is Coinlive at World Blockchain Summit 2022 today and I am chatting with Jan from DFINITY Foundation, creator of ICP. Hi Jan, good to see you. 

Jan: Good morning. 

Coinlive: For our audience who is unfamiliar with you, could you introduce yourself and also briefly explain what ICP is? 

Jan: Sure! I’m Jan Camenisch and I’m the CTO of DFINITY Foundation; we're building or contributing actually rather to the Internet Computer. The Internet Computer is a protocol that connects different independent nodes together to the Internet Computer at the end of today. 


Coinlive: ICP is actually in fact quite a very ambitious project and as well a very complicated one. Could you generally explain it to a layman person what ICP is and how can a general internet user benefit from it? 

Jan: The goal of the Internet Computer is to extend the internet to a computer layer so that you can just upload your application, your dApp to the internet and just around their unstoppable tamper-proof, you don't have to worry about anything like that. Now I guess that's more of a developer view so as a developer I can easily write it myself to put it out there and it runs. For users, it should be quite similar to what it is today. You open up your browser, you enter a URL, and you connect to an application on the Internet Computer. Actually, it is already possible today. We have a ton of applications already; we have chat applications; we have social media; we have YouTube clones and stuff like that already on the Internet Computer. Like how the applications are being used today, users can do the same as well.  


Coinlive: So we can use any browser to access whatever has been launched? 

Jan: Exactly, you open up your browser then the Internet Computer has something that's called internet identity that allows you to securely connect to the network. It uses your web, it uses TPM chips on your mobile devices that have cryptographic keys and those keys are then used to securely authenticate the app so you no longer need to have usernames or passwords. Just switching on your biometric authentication is good enough and you're connected in a secure way to those steps. 


Coinlive: In this case, does anybody need to have a wallet or how to use it? 

Jan: No, you don’t need any wallet or anything whatsoever. You don’t need to download any plugins or anything like that in order to use it. If later on, you want to participate in that, depending on your requirements then maybe you can use some kind of hardware wallet for higher security, but at the end of the day, you can also just do that with your mobile phone. It depends on the value of your assets, that's how much security you want to have but the basic thing is that you can just connect it with your mobile phone to like wallet dApp on the Internet Computer and just have your tokens there. You don't need to download anything if you don't want to. 


Coinlive: Is there any particular dApp on ICP you recommend for new users to start with? 

Jan: Oh that’s a tough question, there’re so many out there already. There’s kinic.io, which is like a search engine and there you can just search all the dApps on the Internet Computer already, so that's probably the one that is easiest to first use. Other than that, there’s Open Chat which is a messenger application, oc.app. There is distrikt.io that is more like LinkedIn, Twitter kind of application or there’s Discover, dscvr.one which is like a forum with a ton of different portals and so on, and that actually has also been quite successful and I like it a lot as well. 


Coinlive: In the current bear market, how is ICP coping and what is the company doing? 

Jan: I guess it's hard for everybody but actually in the recent days we’re even sort of rising up the ladder on  CoinMarketCap, so I guess we're comparably well for the next couple of years without having to sell any tokens. Of course at the end of the day, token is how the DFINITY Foundation defines itself so we're not worried about that. It's also the opportunity to consolidate, to focus and the crypto winter will be over at some point as well so we'll come out stronger than anything else. 


Coinlive: ICP is one of the most ambitious projects in the space. In percentage, what's the current progress of ICP till completion? 

Jan: That's also a very hard question. We just started out. We launched a year ago and our roadmap is more like a 20-year kind of roadmap. We have so many things we still want to do. In percentage could be 5% with what we already have but having said so, we already have applications that can be built. There’s a lot of stuff there already but the foundation is to build Internet Computer even better, to make it easier for developers to be on board, to add new features and more cryptographic protocols for more privacy, and more multi-party computations. There’s a ton of stuff and I don’t really have the time to tell you, but some of the things that I'm excited about that will come up is what we call Service Nervous System (SNS), which is like a DAO kind of application though it’s really kind of like an extension. So the Internet Computer has its own governing system called the Network Nervous System, where people who stake ICP tokens can participate in voting and those votes are about how the system should evolve. For instance, if we propose an upgrade to the protocol and that actually happens weekly, then such a proposal is made to the governing system then it can either adopt it or reject it. If it's adopted then that result will automatically roll out to all the nodes. It’s like you know the DAO already controls the Internet Computer fully. This SNS is like the same system but for applications on top so dApp can also be controlled by a DAO. It’s really an extension of the governing system of the Internet Computer itself. So first you have the Internet Computer and then on top of that, it’s like an extension of that Network Nervous System which can then govern an application. So that’s what I’m excited about because it’ll allow developers to monetise their works, to hand out tokens to users to decentralise their applications. 


Coinlive: You mentioned that it’ll be a 20-year plan before you can see ICP probably reach its completion. When ICP does that, what do you foresee or envision ICP to become? 

Jan: I think eventually maybe 95% of all the world's codes and data will be on the Internet Computer so that's the goal. It’ll be good when that happens. I think early on we’ll see more applications like social media. It’s quite clear that what you can see already like Open Chat or distrikt or Discover, like platforms where users interact a lot, upload their contents. I think that’s what we’re seeing already. In the future, we could even do like a decentralised insurance. We could build a DAO that’s an insurance that hands out insurance policy. The sky is the limit here and we’ll see a lot coming in the future. 


Coinlive: In its final form in essence, it’ll still feel the same for general internet users. They can still browse through the internet as usual on their browser, but it’s mostly on the companies that will have to onboard into ICP. Is that the case? 

Jan: Yeah I guess it depends right. I think that there will be like all these new applications coming in, there will be new things that that may make all things obsolete or some companies may move to Web3 and move themselves to the Internet Computer. At the end of the day, the Internet Computer will replace the current cloud infrastructure and of course, it can be token but it doesn't have to be. It could also be just like your standard organisation, your standard company can just set up and now we'll run all our software on the Internet Computer and it could be even like proprieties itself. Because it’d just be easier for them as it’s less costly since they don't have to worry about any of the security firewalls, etc. They don't have to worry about scalability or upgrading their systems so eventually, even these kinds of applications will be run on the Internet Computer because it’s just easier, cheaper, and faster. 


Coinlive: Besides the project that has already been launched on ICP itself, any there any projects that you’re excited to launch?  

Jan: I guess you’re not meaning applications because we just had a ton of nice apps and so on, games, social media, and so on and so forth. Guess what I’d be more excited about or maybe should more talk about, is for the foundation which is going to do another thing far from the SNS. We’re also suggesting to the Internet Computer to adopt the integration with Bitcoin. It's based on a cryptographic protocol that allows for threshold ECDSA signatures between the nodes of a subnet, so that means that now a smart contract can actually hold the ECDSA public key which means now a smart contract can actually hold Bitcoin. So with that public key, the network will allow it to sign Bitcoin transactions and what also will happen is that the replica of the Internet Computer will pull in blocks from Bitcoin blocks and make those transactions to UTXO sets available to smart contracts and then people can read the smart contracts or developers can write smart contracts that interact directly with the Bitcoin blockchain. You can now do smart contracts for Bitcoin which was not possible before really in that way.  


Coinlive: When we can start creating a smart contract for Bitcoin, how do you foresee that to be a game changer.  

Jan: So far I mean people could not do smart contracts for Bitcoin. People could only do smart contracts with ETH, they could maybe do a smart contract with Bitcoin but then you had to rely on some sort of multi-party signature infrastructure to do that and I think now there's a lot of capital on Bitcoin or a lot of Bitcoin. Now with that, you can make smart contracts using that capital so I think there will be a lot of DEXs, SocialFi. I've heard suggestions that people want to build a DAO where you would lock Bitcoin as part of the DAO and participate. We'll see a ton of new applications for Bitcoin. 


Coinlive: For your supporters out there, for ICP, is there anything you’d like to say to them?  

Jan: We love our community; the community is really great. If you look on the forum of DFINITY’s website, there's a lot of engagement, a lot of positive comments and so we already have a great community. I’d like to invite everybody to join and be part of the community and have fun together, build new exciting stuff and see how this all will fold out over the coming years. 


Coinlive: For audiences who are new, can you share where can we find you and support ICP? 

Jan: Well, there's the internetcomputer.org as the website of the Internet Computer explaining how it all works and then the DFINITY Foundation you find on dfinity.org and that's also where you find me. Go on Twitter, google for our names (@JanCamenisch) and you will easily find us, we're not hiding anywhere. 


Coinlive: I think that’s all I have, thank you very much. This is Coinlive at World Blockchain Summit 2022. Do follow us for more crypto content.  


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