A so-called “Internet Computer” launches tonight — and if it lives up to even half of its backers’ bold claims, it’ll be something.

The Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital-backed blockchain project aims to completely reinvent the public internet so it can host data and software natively, creating a global computing platform.

“Using the Internet Computer, developers can create websites, enterprise IT systems and internet services by installing their code directly on the public Internet and dispense with server computers and commercial cloud services,” the DFINITY Foundation, which is behind the project, says on its website.

A distributed team of 188 computing engineers, cryptographers and operational experts has been working on the project for the past five years from around the world, led by Palo Alto, California-based British computer scientist Dominic Williams.

Williams says the project will let developers abandon Big Tech cloud services and web servers and instead rely on a seamless network of computing power from independent data centres around the world.

Melbourne-based crypto fund Apollo Capital has been an investor in the project for quite some time, chief investment officer Henrik Andersson told Stockhead.

“They’ve got some of the top engineers in the cryptography space that have been working on that for quite some time,” he said. “That’s a major event that is coming upon us very quickly now, after all these years.

“We are going to watch Dfinity play out in the coming years… We think it has a lot of potential.”

Some 125,000 people have registered for the launch party, which is being livestreamed, complete with speakers and giveaways. Unfortunately for Australians, it begins at 3am Saturday AEST (10am Friday, PT), although the event is scheduled to last until 7am.

And yes, there’s a token — which, in an unusual step, is being listed directly on Coinbase, the US-based exchange.

The ICP token will be used to pay for computing services on the Internet Computer and will let tokenholders vote on governance proposals to improve the network.

Dfinity raised a total of US$166.9 million ($214 million) in six fundraising rounds, according to Crunchase. Placeholders for ICP tokens were trading this afternoon for US$407 apiece on the MXC exchange — up from US$10 a year ago.

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