Why the community is suspicious of a $223 million fund for the Internet computer.

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The Dfinity Foundation has established a $223 million fund to finance the advancement of an open Internet Computer network.

The Zurich-based Dfinity Foundation has launched a CHF 200 million (approximately $223 million) fund to finance growth on the Internet Computer — a blockchain-based digital network with far-fetched plans to one day “replace” most of the internet.

On May 26, the non-profit science research foundation launched “The Developer Ecosystem Program,” and it is now accepting applications for development grants.

These grants will be administered independently of the $14.5 million Beacon Fund, which was announced in September 2020 and is a dedicated investment fund that supports entrepreneurs who create open internet services on the web.

In a blog post announcing the new grants, Dfinity founder and chief scientist, Dominic Williams, stated:

“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.”

Dfinity was founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Dominic Williams and has received financing from Andreessen Horowitz and PolyChain Capital, which supported the project in a $105 million funding round in 2018.

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The goal of the Internet Computer is to substitute most of the internet with a self-governing blockchain-based decentralised network that will facilitate smart contracts at web speed directly to customers, with unrestricted scalability, thus providing greater reliability and usability than conventional infrastructure-based structures.

The Internet Computer Protocol, or ICP, is a decentralised Web 3.0 cloud-like protocol that uses a mix of data centres and high-end node devices, or validators, around the world to build a network of computers to host this modern iteration of the public internet.

The ICP is “intended as a complete replacement” for existing internet infrastructure, Williams told Forbes in 2019.

Dfinity proposes decentralization by introducing a consensus model dubbed the Threshold Relay, which is accompanied by its Network Nervous System, or NNS — algorithmic software that governs the Internet Computer, economics, and structure.

The Internet Computer, or ICP, token unlocks governance engagement by staking ICP in the NNS and trapping them within “voting neurones,” with the longer a holder stakes ICP, the more voting power they get.

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Many in the crypto world have expressed scepticism about Dfinity’s grandiose vision for the ICP, with concerns posed about how decentralised the project’s governance really is.

On May 25, user “u/Additional_Plant” said in an illustrative thread on the “r/dfinity” subreddit, “I don’t doubt that it is a powerful, game changing project.” But it doesn’t mean it’s fine for the rest of us,” he adds, adding:

“There are too many red flags. For all intents and purposes, Dfinity have total control through the NNS. Is it really a crypto? Not really. Is it actually decentralized? Far from it.”

On May 23, Coinbureau also published a common analysis and breakdown of ICP on YouTube, highlighting numerous privacy and decentralisation concerns.

The breakdown raised concerns about Dfinity’s perceived “total control” of the network, the NNS’s unknown amount of leverage over regulation, and the possible consequences of users turning over their private data to the project, since they are expected to establish a single “Internet Identity” to run on the network.

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