As noted in an update from its developers, the code “details the technical designs, novel protocol math, and cryptography behind the decentralized computing network.”
Back in 2016, the DFINITY Foundation had started on its mission to “upgrade” the Internet into an “open” computing network that leverages smart contracts in order to power a nascent decentralized ecosystem of interoperable dapps (or decentralized applications) and various other services.
The Internet Computer’s recent Mercury Genesis launch “marks the beginning of this integration with the public Internet,” introducing the very first blockchain that can reportedly run at “web speed” and it’s also able to increase its capacity “without bound.”
On May 10, 2021, following years of “intensive” research and development (R&D), the DFINITY Foundation released the Internet Computer’s source code. It reportedly includes technical designs, novel protocol math (documentation), and cryptography.
This release reflects the DFINITY Foundation’s vision or goal “to make the code accessible and understandable, while inviting the developer community to inspect and verify it.”
The primary components of the codebase are as follows:
- Replica: The “replica” (i.e., “client” in some blockchains) is “a collection of protocol components that are necessary for a node to participate in a subnet.”
- Nodemanager: The nodemanager is “a component of the Internet Computer that manages the replica.” Among other things, it continuously “determines the correct replica binary to run for this node at any point in time, runs this binary, and monitors this process (e.g., restarting it if it exits unexpectedly).”
- Network Nervous System canisters: The NNS is the autonomous algorithmic system that “governs the Internet Computer network and manages everything from economics to network structure.”
- The most important element is the source code for the Rust implementation of the replica that is “compiled and run by the node machines that together make up the Internet Computer.”
As noted in the update, secondary items like the build systems, testing infrastructure and the code that defines the Internet Computer Operating System (IC-OS) will be “published at a later time.”
The announcement also mentioned that the code for the Internet Computer has been licensed under the Apache License 2.0, with the exception of a few components that are licensed under the Internet Computer Community Source License and Internet Computer Shared Community Source License.
Since clarity and transparency are important and essential in this new public phase of the Internet Computer, the developers are offering useful resources to help provide a fuller or more complete picture of its technology. (Note: to learn more, check here.)
On May 25, 2021, DFINITY announced a CHF 200 million program to support the Internet Computer developer ecosystem. The program will reportedly award developer grants to teams that are creating dApps, tooling, and infrastructure on the Internet Computer.
As noted by its developers, the ongoing development of the decentralized web is creating new opportunities for innovation that “previously didn’t exist.”
In order to support these initiatives, the DFINITY Foundation developer ecosystem program will serve as a resource that will help “finance the building of dapps, tooling, and infrastructure on the Internet Computer.”
As confirmed in the update:
“The Developer Ecosystem Program, totaling CHF 200 million, is waiting to be deployed to entrepreneurs and developer teams, supporting the growth of a new ecosystem of dapps and services on the open web. A key part of the program will include non-dilutive financing in the form of developer grants to teams building on the Internet Computer. This element of the program is now open, and is accepting grant applications at dfinity.org/grants.”
These grants will “operate separately from the Beacon Fund, a dedicated venture fund supporting entrepreneurs building the future of hyper-scale software and open internet services on the Internet Computer,” the announcement clarified.
First revealed in September 2020, Beacon is a $14.5 million fund that was led by Polychain Capital and supported by Andreessen Horowitz and the DFINITY Foundation.
Polychain Capital Co-founder Olaf Carlson-Wee, remarked:
“Think from first principles about how you could enable a new type of behavior that’s unprecedented.There are no limits to the potential of what could be built here.”
DFINITY Founder and Chief Scientist Dominic Williams stated:
“The Internet Computer redefines public blockchain as a platform that can now run smart contracts at web speed, that can serve web directly to users, that can increase its capacity with demand as needed, that is efficient, that governs itself, and that can provide better usability than those systems built on traditional technology. Our aim is to support the reimagination of all systems and services in new forms using smart contracts on an infinite public blockchain, and nothing else.”
The Internet Computer ecosystem is currently producing dapps and services from a variety of entrepreneurs and developer teams.
(Note: to learn more about these projects, check here.)