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DFINITY Foundation
Dfinity logo.png
FormationOctober 2016
TypeNonprofit organization
HeadquartersZurich, Switzerland
Region served
Founder & Chief Scientist
Dominic Williams
Internet Computer
White paperhttps://dfinity.org/whitepaper.pdf
Initial releaseCopper / November 2019
Latest releaseMercury / May 2021
Code repositorygithub.com/dfinity/ic
Developer(s)DFINITY Foundation
Source modelOpen source
Block time~29 ms
Block explorerdashboard.internetcomputer.org

The DFINITY Foundation is a not-for-profit[1] organisation developing the Internet Computer. The Internet Computer is a public blockchain platform which is based on a network of sub-blockchains governed by an ownerless master blockchain. The web3 platform is designed to enhance the Internet with a new form of server-less cloud-functionality. Its internal cryptocurrency ICP is the short form of its underlying protocol, the Internet Computer Protocol.[2]


Origins (2015 – 2019)[edit]

The Internet Computer was conceived in 2015 by programmer Dominic Williams, the idea being a world computer that cannot be shut down; which originated from the Ethereum ecosystem.[3] DFINITY was later founded by Williams in October 2016.[4]

In 2018, prominent venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, SV Angel, Wanxiang Blockchain provided financial contributions for less than 10% of the network's governance tokens.[5]

DFINITY raised $61 million from Andreesen Horowitz and Polychain Capital in a February 2018 funding round.[6] A further $102 million funding round in August 2018 brought the project's total funding to $195 million.[7][8][9]

In May 2018, DFINITY distributed around 35 million Swiss francs worth of DFINITY tokens in an airdrop. Due to regulatory concerns, none of the tokens were to be distributed to US residents.[5][10]

Development (2019–2021)[edit]

From 2019 to 2021, the Internet Computer was formally developed through several named versions: Copper, Bronze, Tungsten, Sodium, and Mercury.[11]

On 30 June 2020, the Tungsten (or Developer Network) version was announced in an online event.[12][13] and enabled third-party developers to start using the platform to develop web and smartphone apps.[13]

On 30 September 2020, the Sodium version was announced in an online event.[14][15] This version included the Network Nervous System (NNS), the open algorithmic governance system of the Internet Computer.[15]

Organizational structure of Dfinity[edit]

DFINITY was registered as a non-profit foundation in Zug.[16]

DFINITY oversees research and development centers in Palo Alto,[17][18] San Francisco,[19][full citation needed] Tokyo, Shanghai,[20][full citation needed] and Zürich.[4][21]

Design of the Internet Computer[edit]

The Internet Computer is maintained by many independent data centers and derives its security from a distinctive system of cryptographic signatures[further explanation needed] known as Threshold Relay Consensus.[22] As detailed in the 2018 white paper, the Internet Computer's consensus mechanism consists of the following four layers:[23]

  1. Identities and registry: Active participants are registered with permanent and pseudonymous identities.
  2. Random beacon: Using the BLS digital signature scheme[further explanation needed], registered participants jointly generate a random output, which is unpredictable to anyone until it becomes available to everyone.
  3. Blockchain and fork resolution: Using the random output from the random beacon layer, each participant is ranked deterministically. Proposed blocks are then weighted according to their proposers' ranks (so that blocks from higher-ranked proposers receive higher weight), and forks are resolved by prioritizing the chain with the highest total block weight.
  4. Notarization and finality: Blocks are notarized through threshold signatures created jointly by registered clients. Blocks must be notarized in order to be included in a chain. A transaction is final after two notarizations.

To join the Internet Computer, a data center must obtain a Data Center Identity[how?].[22]

The Internet Computer has a builtin algorithmic governance system known as the Network Nervous System.[22][further explanation needed]

ICP ()[24] is the native cryptocurrency of the Internet Computer.

Transactions on the Internet Computer are finalized in 3–5 seconds.[5][25]


  1. ^ "A plan to redesign the internet could make apps that no one controls". Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  2. ^ Cryptopedia Staff (2021-11-24). "Decentralizing the Web with Internet Computer Protocol (ICP)". Cryptopedia. Gemini.com. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  3. ^ "EIN COMPUTER FÜR ALLE" [ONE COMPUTER FOR ALL]. Forbes (in German). Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  4. ^ a b Kyora, Stefan (2018-08-31). "DFINITY steps up its activities in Switzerland". startupticker.ch. startupticker.ch. Retrieved 2021-01-07. ...DFINITY will open an office in Zurich...
  5. ^ a b c Butcher, Mike (2018-08-29). "DFINITY raises $102M from a16z and Polychain for a decentralised 'Internet Computer' to rival AWS". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-08-29. ...DFINITY is announcing that it has raised $102 million in funding, in a round jointly led by Andreessen Horowitz (via its crypto fund a16z crypto) and Polychain Capital....
  6. ^ Williams-Grut, Oscar (2018-02-07). "Andreessen Horowitz is backing a crypto-powered 'internet computer' that could be the future of cloud computing". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  7. ^ Butcher, Mike; Lunden, Ingrid (2018-08-29). "Dfinity raises $102M from a16z and Polychain for a decentralised 'Internet Computer' to rival AWS". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  8. ^ "Dfinity raises $61 million for blockchain-based cloud". VentureBeat. 2018-02-07. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  9. ^ Kauflin, Jeff. "Crypto Platform Dfinity Raises $102 Million To Take On Amazon And Google". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  10. ^ Roberts, Jeff John (2018-05-29). "Dfinity Announces $35M 'Air Drop' for Blockchain-Based Cloud". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
  11. ^ "Coinbase Pro to list ICP after 'genesis launch' of crypto project Dfinity". Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  12. ^ {{cite web|last=Minetti|first=Maurizio|date=2019-05-08|title=Dfinity boss aims to transform the internet to make it operate more quickly, safely and efficiently|url=https://www.zug4you.ch/en/news/news-articles/a/dfinity-boss-aims-to-transform-the-internet-to-make-it-operate-more-quickly,-safely-and-efficiently%7Caccess-date=2021-01-07%7Cwebsite=Zug4You%7Cpublisher=Zuger Zeitung|
  13. ^ a b Butcher, Mike (30 June 2020). "Dfinity demonstrates its TikTok clone, opens up its 'Internet Computer' to outside developers". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2021-07-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "DFINITY Sodium Network Launch – Sep 30 | Hopin". hopin.com. Archived from the original on 26 December 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  15. ^ a b Butcher, Mike (30 September 2020). "Dfinity's valuation soars to $9.5Bn after revealing its governance system and token economics". TechCrunch. Retrieved 10 July 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Marshall, Mo (2018-02-07). "Dfinity raises $61 million for blockchain-based cloud". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2021-09-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Minetti, Maurizio (2019-05-08). "Dfinity boss aims to transform the internet to make it operate more quickly, safely and efficiently". Zug4You. Zuger Zeitung. Retrieved 2021-01-07. ..It was actually in 2016 that Williams, a graduate in computer science from King's College, Cambridge (UK), set up Dfinity while in Palo Alto in California...
  18. ^ Mark Glanville (2018-10-24). Statement of Information (Report). California Secretary of State. p. 1. 201729110045. Retrieved 2021-01-08. ...DFINITY USA Research LLC...Business Addresses...Palo Alto...
  19. ^ {{cite web|url=https://boards.greenhouse.io/dfinity%7C
  20. ^ {{cite web|url=https://boards.greenhouse.io/dfinity%7C
  21. ^ Schubarth, Cromwell (2018-02-07). "Andreessen Horowitz backs cloud challenger to Amazon, Google being hatched in Palo Alto". The Business Journals. Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved 2021-01-08. ...A Swiss nonprofit operating out of Palo Alto working on a blockchain project that could upend Amazon, Microsoft and Google in cloud services has raised $61 million from Andreessen Horowitz and San Francisco hedge fund Polychain Capital...
  22. ^ a b c Biseul, Xavier (5 June 2020). "Dfinity, vers la naissance d'un nouveau géant du cloud décentralisé ?" [Dfinity, towards the birth of a new decentralized cloud giant?]. www.journaldunet.com (in French). Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  23. ^ Hanke, Timo; Mohavedi, Mahnush; Williams, Dominic (23 January 2018). "DFINITY Technology Overview Series Consensus System" (PDF). dfinity.org. Retrieved 15 April 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ Cryptopedia Staff (2021-11-24). "Decentralizing the Web with Internet Computer Protocol (ICP)". Cryptopedia. Gemini.com. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  25. ^ Mody, Seema. "Dfinity raises $61 million for platform that rivals ethereum". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-07-03.

External links[edit]