The ICON Project is proud to announce a 200M ICX (valued at approximately $200M as of today) Interoperability Incentive Program (for link to CoinTelegraph coverage, click here). This is one of the largest incentive funds within the entire blockchain industry and the first ever dedicated entirely to interoperability. The launch of this fund is a critical step toward ensuring ICON’s Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP) is among the most widely used and adopted interoperability solutions.

ICON’s BTP, which has been under development for several years, is a unique, truly decentralized bridging technology that doesn’t compromise on security by custodying funds in contracts controlled by hand-picked operators. To learn more, read this BTP overview published by the ICON team.

As we continue to see large, siloed ecosystems grow and industry leaders embrace the multichain narrative, it’s undeniable that a way for these ecosystems to communicate is needed now more than ever.

These independent ecosystems can be viewed as their own digital nations, where interoperability technology is a way for the citizens of these digital nations to communicate with each other. Similar to how free trade and cross-border communication optimized and expanded economies in the real world, this ability to communicate will bring endless opportunities to users, protocols, and blockchains alike.

True interoperability entails much more than just bridging tokens between networks. Token transfers should be considered as proof-of-concepts for interoperability compared to arbitrary data transfers between blockchains, which will allow for truly innovative use cases.

The ICON Project is fully committed to becoming the network to build complex, cross-chain dApps with the best security and execution speed, scaling to connect every public and private blockchain ecosystem. As the number of layer-1 blockchains continues to increase, the industry is starting to see increased fragmentation of both communities and capital. While many bridges exist today, we believe ICON boasts the most decentralized and trustless technology secured entirely through cryptography. It is now more important than ever for ICON to lead the push towards fully decentralized interoperability.

The Interoperability Incentive Program aims to distribute up to 200M ICX tokens over a period of five years which will be funded primarily by the ICX reserve allocation issued during the Token Generation Event in 2017. The program will incentivize not only the ICON community but also communities in ICON’s partner networks to fuel the adoption of ICON’s interoperability technology, BTP.

The goal of our incentive program is not to compete for external liquidity or fragment existing development communities, but rather we envision our incentive program as a collaboration opportunity with multiple different ecosystems to connect with each other seamlessly, create cross-chain communication opportunities for our communities, solve complex problems that interoperability will inevitably introduce and build high-quality use cases that were previously unattainable.

The program will be allocated towards two specific categories, with the goal of supporting products that adopt BTP technology and funding the development of additional BTP use cases.

40% towards incentivizing the products that use BTP

This funding category will be reserved for incentivizing the usage of existing products that use BTP technology. These funds will establish long-term adoption of BTP interoperability technology within existing protocols and communities. This can include integration of BTP technology for backend bridging, front-end adoption of bridging solutions on protocol application interfaces and integration with bridging aggregator solutions.

To increase the distribution of BTP wrapped assets, we expect the first target of this incentive program to be ICON Nexus, the first product built using BTP technology. It will include boosting yields for specific BTP wrapped assets and establishing partnerships with applications built on BTP integrated blockchains. Increased adoption and distribution of BTP wrapped assets will create more awareness around our bridging solution, increase liquidity on external chains, and create “sticky” capital within our ecosystem. This will be targeted towards liquidity providers and yield farmers residing on both ICON as well as our BTP partner chains. For example, those who provide liquidity on Balanced for a hypothetical MOVR/ICX liquidity pool could receive ICX in addition to existing incentives.

60% towards incentivizing the development of new products, integrations and tools around BTP

The majority of the incentive program funds will be allocated towards developing high-quality use cases for our BTP technology. There are various cross-chain products that could be built such as DEX aggregators to identify the most optimal routes to fulfill trade orders across chains, yield aggregators that can tap into DeFi products throughout the BTP ecosystem, or structured products such as cross-chain options contracts. There are opportunities to solve issues such as liquidity fragmentation and infinitely wrapped assets.

In addition to funding the development of these use cases, the incentive program funds can be used to attract additional developers to aid in the development of these solutions through events like hackathons, developer conferences, high-quality developer education and documentation.

“We’ve come a long way to build such security into our decentralized interoperability solution, which was the main goal of the ICON Project from the very beginning. We’re very confident in BTP’s value to the world, and we’re excited to be working with our community, and many others, to finally put everything we have into BTP through this incentive program,” said Min Kim, founder of the ICON Project.

Getting started

The launch of this fund is a call to action for development teams across all ecosystems to come together and explore the cross-chain opportunities that BTP will unlock. Development teams can remain on their native chains and build protocols that will generate transactions and grow their respective ecosystems, while integrating BTP’s cross-chain communication technology.

Development teams looking for immediate funding opportunities can turn to ICON’s decentralized grant system, the CPS, where over $500,000 has been given to 30+ projects in the ICON ecosystem such as:

In addition, ICON has launched a dedicated security audit fund for smart contracts.

For blockchain projects looking to take part in this interoperability incentive program, please fill out this form: Incentive Program Application

The Future of ICON

ICON recently launched ICON 2.0, which introduces a superior core blockchain engine, support for Java smart contracts, the interoperability technology BTP and revamped tokenomics.

ICON is building integrations with prominent blockchains such as BNB Smart Chain, Polkadot, Kusama, Moonriver, Astar Network, Edgeware, Acala, NEAR, Harmony, Algorand, upcoming sister-blockchain ICE and canary network SNOW. As this list of integrations continues to grow, our team believes we will experience network effects and the pace of adoption will increase.

ICON will continue to pursue additional BTP integrations, fund innovative BTP use cases and enhance the core BTP product offering as we strive to be the industry leader for interoperability technology and cross-chain applications.

More details will be released regarding this incentive program as specific programs and teams receive support. Stay tuned for more information.