Total supply, circulating supply, and staked ICP
Total supply is the sum of all tokens currently in the system (whether they are locked/staked or not).
The total supply changes over time due to inflation and deflation. Its current value can be seen on the IC Circulation page of the IC dashboard.
The circulating supply is all tokens except liquid (non-staked) tokens owned by the DFINITY Foundation. The circulating supply definition was updated to its current definition on 18APR23 through an approved vote by the NNS on proposal 117360.
The current circulating supply can be seen on the IC Circulation page of the IC dashboard.
Staked ICP supply is the sum of all the tokens that are locked or dissolving in neurons at any given time that are earning rewards. At this time, there is a minimum lockup period of 6 months to accrue voting rewards.
The total amount of staked ICP changes over time. Its current value can be seen on the Neurons page of the IC dashboard.
At network Genesis
May 10, 2021:
- Total supply: 469 million
- Circulating supply: 123 million
As of September 14th, 2023:
- Total supply: 505.8 million ICP
- Circulating supply: 444.6 million (87.5% of total supply)
- Staked ICP: 251.8 million (49.8% of total supply).
- 81.8% of ICP staked is staked with more than a 1-year dissolve delay
- 52.8% of ICP staked is staked for an 8-year dissolve
- One can see the breakdown of staked ICP by dissolve delays in IC neuron dashboard.
- As outlined in the section above Circulating supply represents ICP that was ever liquid. A subset of the circulating supply is locked in neurons as staked ICP.
The NNS mints ICP tokens for two reasons:
- For voting rewards (Governance).
- For node provider rewards.
The amount of ICP minted since Genesis can be seen in the "Total Rewards" chart on the IC dashboard.
Paying staking rewards
Voting rewards are generated by minting ICP, although this minting only happens at the moment rewards are spawned, maturity is merged, or the neuron is disbursed.
The voting rewards rate schedule is designed with the goal that 90% of the token supply is staked in neurons. With this goal in mind, in the first year, the NNS allocates 10% of the total supply to generate voting rewards. Note the term "allocates" rather than "mints", because rewards are not minted (increasing the total supply) until they are spawned, merged, or the neuron is disbursed.
As the network becomes more stable over time, this allocation rate drops quadratically until it reaches 5% by year 8. See chart below from the IC Circulation page on the IC dashboard.:
Like all parameters in the NNS, this rate schedule can be changed via NNS proposals.
See more in Staking, voting and rewards.
Node provider rewards
Node providers are rewarded for running the node machines that power the Internet Computer.
The NNS burns ICP tokens for three reasons:
- To mint cycles, used to pay for compute and storage.
- For transaction fees.
- For failed NNS proposal fees.
The amount of ICP burned since Genesis can be seen in the "Total ICP Burned" chart on the IC dashboard.
Paying for compute and storage
Dapp and smart contract developers pay computation and storage costs with cycles. Cycles are acquired from the NNS by converting ICP to cycles, which burns the converted ICP.
The cycles costs for IC computation and storage can be seen at Computation and Storage Costs.
Transferring ICP across accounts incurs a transaction fee of 0.0001 ICP, which is burned.
Failed NNS proposals
It costs 10 ICP to submit a proposal. If the proposal passes, the 10 ICP is returned to the proposer. If the proposal is rejected, the 10 ICP is burned. Note that this only happens at disbursement or merging of neurons, so accumulated failed proposal fees can persist for a while before finally contributing to deflation.
Historical factors affecting circulating supply
The Internet Computer blockchain is a result of several years of unyielding R&D. By Genesis, the DFINITY foundation, a major contributor to the Internet Computer was over 200 full-time members. Over the past several years the foundation raised financing in three main rounds and also allocated ICP tokens to the community in the form of an airdrop event.
For a breakdown of the different rounds and vesting schedules, see Messari's report "Introduction to ICP". The unlocking of neurons has been the largest contributing factor to circulating supply since Genesis, so it's important to understand the context.
1. Seed Round, Feb-2017 (Public ICO): This round was advertised by a tweet and open to the public by downloading a web extension. DFINITY raised CHF3.9 million (US$3.9 million) from 370 participants, at a valuation of $16 million, or a price of $0.03 per token. It held a portion of these funds in ETH and BTC during the 2017 crypto bull run. Seed round participants received all of their tokens at genesis but are staked inside 49 neurons. Each neuron has a different dissolve delay counting from 0 to 49 months. So this is practically equivalent to a 49-month "vesting schedule" see How to Access ‘Seed’ and ‘Airdrop’ ICP Tokens and Participate in the Internet Computer Network.
2. Strategic Round, Jan-2018: DFINITY raised $20.54 million for 7.00% of the initial supply (the number has been revised from the previously cited 6.84%). This allocation will vest monthly over three years starting from mainnet launch (May 2021). Participants include Polychain Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, CoinFund, Multicoin Capital, and Greycroft Partners. This round marks the first token a16z invested in. Polychain and DFINITY later collaborated to create the "DFINITY Ecosystem Venture Fund" (later renamed "Beacon Fund") of an undisclosed size. The goal is to fund new projects that would grow the IC's application ecosystem. The media reported that DFINITY raised a much larger amount of $61 million, some of which related to funds committed to projects building on the Internet Computer.
3. Presale, Aug-2018: 110 participants contributed $97 million for 4.96% of the initial supply, sold at 4 CHF (around $4 at the time) per ICP token. This number has been revised from 4.75% previously reported. This allocation came with a monthly vesting schedule of one year from mainnet launch. Vesting began one month after the initial token distribution event on May 10, 2021. Participants in this round include Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, SV Angel, Aspect Ventures, Electric Capital, ZeroEx, Scalar Capital, and Multicoin Capital.
4. Airdrop, May-2018: $35 million worth of ICP tokens (formerly DFN), or 0.80% of the initial supply, was airdropped to early supporters by being part of their mailing list, forums, and community. At this time, valuations reached $1.89 billion. Airdrop participants received the IOU version of their ICP tokens in September 2020. This allocation came with a monthly distribution schedule of one year from mainnet launch, which began on May 10, 2021.
Ultimately, the NNS is controlled by the community so it can vote to change any of the parameters. The parameters and mechanisms described are the current ones.
The ICP token has a Total Supply of 505.8MM, Circulating Supply of 444.6MM as of August, 2023. 251.8MM ICP (49.8% of total supply) is staked by token holders in the form of neurons with over 81.8% locked for over 1 year.
The number of tokens is constantly changing. The rewards paid out to the node providers and governance participants contribute to the inflation in token supply while factors like compute/storage fees and transaction fees cause deflation in the total supply.