IOTA, one of the first machine-to-machine cryptocurrency networks, is garnering huge attention from multiple institutions. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Tron, and Ethereum often get the most media attention, with the ever-volatile bitcoin price hogging the front page almost every single day. In the background, however, IOTA keeps demonstrating a number of viable use cases that solve real-world problems. It has been mentioned in over 700 papers and reports published by organizations with a practical interest in the coin. The citations can be found in the IOTA archive.
IOTA is a tangle-based architecture. Technically, a Tangle is not a blockchain. Blocks are not resolved sequentially in a chain, and that’s why it’s called a tangle, where the blocks spread out in a cobweb fashion. One of the advantages of Tangle is that it does not have miners, unlike most other cryptocurrencies. This solves several headaches, as miners can gain considerable power and even overhaul the network, if a ‘mutiny’ was ever to occur.
Instead, every user on the network actually works as a miner. So you join the Tangle and your device, such as a mobile phone, becomes the miner, solving problems and creating new blocks. Without going into too much detail, it is quicker than a blockchain, and it uses fewer resources. The use cases for this technology are endless. Users could purchase a drink from a vending machine connected to the IOTA network, as small purchases would be made feasible because of tiny transaction fees.
The IOTA currency is known as MIOTA. IOTA is technically a foundation based in German, designed to facilitate a new era of machine-to-machine communications.
IOTA has already been used to deliver wireless updates to a Volkswagen vehicle as a Proof of Concept for the tech. IOTA is something of a pioneer in the IoT (Internet of Things) space. A Tangle is the only viable option in terms of machine-to-machine communication, as it is faster and well-suited for smaller transactions. Most blockchains cannot do this, at least not without involving a number of third layer solutions.
Jaguar, the British automobile producer recently integrated IOTA into its infrastructure. Jaguar is owned by India’s Tata Motors and it plans to pay drivers in the MIOTA cryptocurrency as a reward for sharing relevant data from the road.
IOTA is also involved in the CityxChange Consortium. This consortium is made up of over 25 companies including AVIS, Space Engagers, and IES Research and Development. This consortium has recently won a contract to develop smart cities across Europe, funded with over 20 million euros under an EU research program. IOTA is further partnered with a startup called “Everything”, which is involved in the supply chain logistics space.
As exciting as the developments are, IOTA still has some issues. There are contentions that Tangle, which involves witness nodes, is not fully decentralized. However, it is definitely one of the more forward-thinking cryptocurrencies with real-world use cases and working prototypes. It is also built on a superior Tangle-based architecture, which is cheaper and faster than a blockchain, with no complicated mining interests to take into account.