Early Inning Hiccups

Is last week's network crash a cause for concern?

Welcome to this week’s edition of RHIZOME WIRE!

Note: As I recently tweeted, if there are ICONists or P-Reps who have news or an announcement you believe should be considered for inclusion in future editions of RHIZOME WIRE, please feel free to DM me either on Twitter or on Telegram.

Growing Pains

As you may know, this past weekend, the entire ICON Network went offline for nearly an entire day. This was a frustrating occurrence for many in the community. Transactions were essentially halted. I_Score’s did not show up. Exchanges froze withdrawals and deposits. It’s as if the entire ICON economy came to a screeching halt. 

From the perspective of some, this raised some concerns about the future of the network’s stability and usability. After all, if a network can go down without notice for that long, shouldn’t people (namely, institutions) be wary of using it?

These are all valid concerns, but I’m less concerned than others at this point.

First and foremost, there was an implication that the initial days of decentralization would have some difficulty - that’s why the penalty for productivity was delayed at least a month. If the ICON team felt the network would be running without any hiccups from Day 1, they would have implemented the penalty to make sure nodes that failed to produce blocks from their own negligence would be penalized. 

Second, by detecting potential bugs and other network issues prior to adoption, we have a chance to fix them before they can do harm. For comparison’s sake, it’s like being in the beta stage of a game in development - bugs are to be expected, but until people are given a chance to test every nook and cranny (a task that a small team can’t do sufficiently), you’re not going to know if your platform is entirely secure and stable. 

Some may say, “the ICON team should have caught these bugs before decentralization.” But it’s likely that some bugs may not even be able to reveal themselves until the decentralization process. The ICON team running a node on their own has fewer moving parts. Running a collective database among 22 nodes is a whole different ball game with far more complexities - complexities that create new bugs and errors that couldn’t have been foreseen otherwise. 

There will likely be more bugs and issues we encounter in the future - hopefully none large enough to shut down the network for an extended period of time. A more optimistic take is that this past weekend’s incident gave the team and node operators a critical opportunity to fix a bug that may have reared its head 18 months from now (when far more was at stake), instead of now, when there is far less at stake.

Finally, network outages are nothing new, even to the most credible and sophisticated of operations. Some readers may not remember this, but in the mid-90’s, America Online went down for 19 hours. Here’s some fun news footage from the day it happened:

Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services - a key piece of internet infrastructure these days - had a major outage two years ago. There are dozens of other significant networks, services, and companies who have faced similarly large outages over the years.

My point in listing these examples is that these things happen. Networks go down. Technology can be hard. Blockchain is even harder. To expect perfect operations from Day 1 through infinity is unrealistic. That’s not to say we still can’t be nervous when these things happen - we still should be to some extent - but evaluating what happened, how ICON and P-Reps handled the situation, and whether or not a fix was provided should be taken into consideration as well. As long as a solution and permanent fix are in place, these incidents will only help strengthen the network over the long-term. 

Stake on the go!

The long-awaited ability to stake ICX from the ICONex mobile wallet is now available to all iOS users, with an Android release coming in the near future.

If you have the ICONex mobile wallet and would like to stake but aren’t quite sure how, be sure to watch this short video produced by RHIZOME providing you with all the guidance you’ll need.

Ricky, Ben, and Corey

After putting forth a herculean recruitment effort, Corey Costa of ICONVIET (P-Rep) was able to secure both Ricky Dodds and Changju Lee (aka “Dr.ICON”) for his most recent episode of “the Democratic Chronicle.” Prior to the interview, Corey solicited a number of questions from the community to be asked during the episode, and most of them were. Here’s Corey’s summary of the topics discussed:

“In this podcast, we discuss the My-ID alliance, the S-Coin initiative, the amalgamation of private and public chains in the ICON Ecosystem, the first BTP on track for the ICON Ecosystem, the ICON Summit, ICONgress and much more! It is incumbent that we expand upon this notion of transparency and I will, without question, have Ricky and Dr. ICON back on this podcast. We're here to serve the ICON community!”

myID Alliance has a website

Earlier this month, the ICON community was treated to the official launch of the myID Alliance - an event that was heavily documented by The Iconist and other news outlets.

Now, the alliance officially has its own website. Most of the information contained was already put forth at the announcement event. Nonetheless, it’s helpful to have everything in one central location, and I anticipate more content and updates will be added over time. 

Somesing is live!

This week we saw the long-anticipated launch of Somesing on ICON’s mainnet. Here’s an excerpt from The Iconist:

“According to PAX Economics, blockchain-based karaoke DApp SOMESING officially released its service on the ICON Mainnet after 6 months of beta testing. Since going live 24 hours ago, the DApp has already generated over 21,000 transactions with its own SSX token.

The beta testing period on the ICON TestNet allowed the team to receive valuable feedback and work on enhancing user experience, enabling them to improve functions and stabilize services ahead of official launch. According to CEO and founder Heuibae Kim, the app recorded more than 150,000 downloads, 70,000 active users and more than 3,000 daily active users during that time.”

Not only were the transaction levels for the first day encouraging, but Somesing’s ambitions appear to be quite grand:

[SOMESING CEO Heuibae] Kim also mentioned SOMESING's roadmap for the future in that “SOMESING is currently in discussions with various entertainment-related businesses, ranging from Entertainment Labels as well as Broadcasting stations to further promote and activate the social music service that SOMESING provides. We hope to lead the way of commercialization of blockchain with music and disrupt the industry as not simply a Killer Dapp, but as a Killer Application.”

If they can achieve their goals, it will be not only their success, but ICON’s as well.

Other ICON News

The most recent update of “MetrICX” - RHIZOME’s app for tracking your personal ICON wallet information - includes the ability for users to receive notifications when their ICX rewards are available each day. If you haven’t yet downloaded MetrICX (currently avaialable for Android with an iOS version in development), be sure to do so now!

Reliant Node has officially launched Ledger support for myICONWallet. To learn more about the feature and how to use it, visit their website here.

ICON continues to make the rounds at events and conferences:

Blockchain News

South Korea has taken another critical step toward normalization cryptocurrency throughout the country - “A National Assembly subcommittee on Thursday finally passed a revision to the “Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information,” a move that could bring the cryptocurrency industry into Korea’s mainstream. The “Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information,” a.k.a. The Financial Transactions Reporting Act (FTRA), is a law that imposes anti-money laundering obligations on financial institutions.”

There was a bit of Binance drama this week when The Block published an article claiming that Binance’s Shanghai office was raided by authorities. Binance, meanwhile, stated that they don’t have any offices in Shanghai. The Block contends there is evidence they do have offices there. Debate has now morphed into whether or not Binance did indeed have a physical Shanghai presence, as well as whether or not the office was actually raided by authorities or not. 

It’s all very fun to watch, and will likely continue to evolve as I write this. 

South Korea plans to invest over $380M for blockchain research and development - “South Korea’s ministry of science and technology has plans to invest 450 billion won (~$382 million) for blockchain research and development. The agency would invest the amount over a period of six years from 2021 to 2026, ZDNet Korea reported Thursday.”

Fidelity gets bitcoin custody and trading license from NY regulator - “Fidelity obtains a trust license from the New York Department of Financial Services to offer Bitcoin custody service to New York residents. Additionally, Fidelity also received the license to operate a trading platform on which New York’s institutional investors can securely purchase, sell, store or transfer Bitcoin.”

Coinbase to Offer Insured Investor Retirement Accounts (IRAs) - Coinbase has teamed up with qualified crypto custodian Kingdom Trust and alternative investments company Regal Assets to offer customers the ability to create insured cryptocurrency-based investor retirement accounts (IRAs). 

The main benefit of Coinbase IRAs is that the crypto cannot be lost or hacked, making them a stress-free way of holding crypto for a long time period such as decades. Each account comes with $200 million of insurance from Lloyd’s of London, which is apparently the biggest insurance company in the world. 

ICE Officially Confirms Dec. 9 Launch of Cash-Settled Bitcoin Futures - “The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)’s Bakkt platform has officially confirmed its forthcoming launch of a cash-settled Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract.

In a news release published Nov. 22, ICE — the operator of 23 leading global exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange — revealed that the contract will be listed on ICE Futures Singapore as of Dec. 9.”