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What is the Internet Computer

The Internet Computer adds autonomous serverless cloud functionality to the public internet – making it possible to build almost any system or service entirely on a decentralized network using “canister software,” an evolution of smart contracts.

The Internet Computer is created by ICP, the most advanced network protocol ever devised. It enables people to build Web3 services and enterprise systems directly on a public decentralized network, which scales even to hosting social networks and media streaming. Hosted services are tamperproof, don’t need firewalls, support Web3 functionality, and can trustlessly interact with the outside world.


Canister software is tamperproof, does not need to be protected by a firewall, and cannot be infected with ransomware. Because the Internet Computer is created by advanced math, there are no backdoors.


Canisters can be made unmodifiable, creating permanent logic on the network, or placed under the control of autonomous governance – empowering communities to run Web3, or securing an enterprise.


The global spend on IT personnel is now $1.8 trillion. Canister software greatly simplifies the development and maintenance of online systems and services, driving cost savings, and making you faster to market.


If your enterprise, government or Web3 service builds on centralized traditional IT, there are kill switches and backdoors, which deny you true sovereignty. Build on the network instead.

Web3 + OIS

Canisters support more powerful tokenization models that advance Web3. Autonomous governance can create “open internet services” (OISs) that are exclusively managed by their communities.

Next-gen AI

The Internet Computer is currently adding support for Web3 “AI compute units.” AI will also run on the network, supporting native Web3 integrations, and trustlessness combinations of models and data.

How is the Internet Computer created by a protocol?

Node providers

Standardized hardware devices called node machines are run by independent parties called node providers, from different data centers, geographies, and jurisdictions around the world. Node providers run their hardware to earn tokenized rewards, rather like independent ISPs and backbone providers operate routing devices to earn peering fees.

Subnet blockchains

The ICP protocols combine node machines into highly efficient subnet blockchains, which add capacity for hosting tamperproof canisters. The Internet Computer has a permissionless automated governance system called the Network Nervous System, which instructs nodes to join or leave subnets.

Canister smart contracts

Smart contracts are a new form of software that runs on blockchain networks, which is tamperproof, unstoppable, optionally autonomous, can process tokens, and is easily composed. Canisters are a high-performance form that can be used to build anything. They interact with HTTP to serve user experiences, can interact with Web2, and can natively interact with external blockchains. Because they scale, a social network or complex enterprise system can run from the network, simplifying building, and creating a future without firewalls and trust. They offer a compelling alternative to building on centralized traditional IT.

The subnets combine into one autonomous serverless cloud

Cool things...

Internet Identity

Internet Identity enables users to quickly and securely authenticate to online systems and services using their devices, for example using their laptop fingerprint sensor, or FaceID on their phone. Under the skin, the framework relies on TPM chips inside modern hardware, which keep keys and signing secure, the WebAuthn protocol, which connects code inside the web browser to those TPMs, and advanced chain-key cryptography running on the Internet Computer network.

Identity on ICP

Open Internet Services

Open internet services are services that run autonomously under the exclusive control of a decentralized governance system called a Service Nervous System (SNS), an evolution of DAO technology. This can enable a Web3 service to be transparently run by a community of thousands, allowing services to founderize users that contribute by granting them governance tokens, for example for creating viral content, inverting the traditional Big Tech model. Enterprise can use the same technology to distribute control over system updates and configuration, greatly increasing security.

User-run Web3

Sovereign infrastructure

When the systems and services that power society are built using centralized traditional IT infrastructure – such as cloud services, closed-source software, and security hardware – there are backdoors enabling spying, and kill switches. With no alternative, governments had to surrender sovereignty over the digital foundations society relies on. Now the Internet Computer is adding special localized sovereign subnets for usage by governments, NGOs and enterprises with special needs: unstoppable, secure, and transparent sovereign platform infrastructure.

IT beyond cloud

Get familiar with the Internet Computer