A brief introduction to the IOTA project.
 


"Rebuilding trust in data"

What is IOTA?

IOTA is an open-source distributed ledger (DLT) and cryptocurrency designed for the Internet-of-Things (IoT). It uses a directed acyclic graph (DAG) to store transactions on its ledger, instead of a chain of blocks like Bitcoin and Ethereum. This graph-based ledger is called 'the tangle'. IOTA does not use miners to validate transactions, instead, users that issue a new transaction must approve two previous transactions and perform a small amount of proof of work. Transactions can therefore be issued without fees, facilitating microtransactions. This makes IOTA unique in this space.

Because IOTA is a permissionless network, anyone (or even better 'anything') can join to add and validate transactions. IOTA supports both value transactions, as non-value transactions (data transactions). IOTA has a dedicated currency called the "IOTA Token" which can be used unit of value within the network. The token can be bought at various exchanges.

The goal of IOTA is to set up a layer of trust for the Internet-of-Things. This enables a great number of applications which were impossible in the past, because it was centralized, not scalable, not secure, or it violated privacy rules. Some examples are digital identity, microtransactions (e.g. autonomous machine-to-machine payments), supply chain auditing, and anything else that requires the integrity and immutability of certain data. It can also be used as instrument to preserve a free and open internet, by improving privacy and security in an open network setting. For more information and examples you can visit the official website as linked below. The development of IOTA is led by the non-profit IOTA foundation which is based in Germany. Several companies have already started projects and proof-of-concepts with IOTA such as Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover, Fujitsu and STMicroelectronics.

Short video introduction:



Benefits of IOTA: * some features require updates that are not in deployed mainnet yet

Since IOTA is still in development, some parts are still to be finished. The most important project is 'Coordicide'. This will remove the temporary coordinator node which is now hosted by the IOTA foundation. When this project is done IOTA has full decentralization. Other projects that needs to be finished are sharding/slicing (to enable very high scalability), and smart contracts to enable and govern digital agreements in an IoT setting. In the short term, work is being done to make IOTA more lightweight and suitable for current industry demands (Chrysalis project). The progress of these projects can be tracked on the roadmap, their Github, and their research forum. It is expected that most of these updates are finished by 2021, and that the IOTA platform is production ready by then.

Useful links

How to start?

Developers

If you want develop something on top of IOTA, you probably want to check out documentation portal. It has various example projects and tutorials. There are various libs available in Java, Python, Go, Rust, .NET, that you can use to start using IOTA in your applications.

Please note that if you want to use IOTA you will need to have access to an IOTA Node. So you either have to set-up your own node, or use a public IOTA node (hosted by someone else). Public nodes can be found in, for instance, iota-nodes.net and pool.einfachiota.de. It is pretty easy to set-up your own node, and it has the additional benefit to you're able to configure it to your own needs. At the moment Hornet (made by community) is the best choice to host a node: Hornet Github node. You can find the installation instructions there.

Contributing

There are several things you can do to support the development of the IOTA network. If you can code, you can directly contribute to the core software in their Github, as IOTA is completely open-source. Other options are hosting your own IOTA node as explained above, or in any form help to spread the word about IOTA. If you have a great idea, you might apply for an ecosystem fund.

IOTA token

First of all, you don't need the IOTA token to use IOTA. You only need it for value transactions.

The token price of IOTA is highly volatile currently. The end goal of the IOTA token is to be the de-facto currency in M2M payments, in the sense that a regular user won't even notice using it. For instance, your car will automatically pay the parking lot.

As for the moment there are certain companies and people who buy IOTA token to already start using them for their IOTA applications. But there are also many people which believe that the token price will grow as IOTA will get more adopted by the industry, and are therefore buying up tokens as investment. Tokens can be bought at exchanges such as anycoindirect.eu, Binance, Bitfinex, Bitpanda etc.

Currently, exchanges are mostly selling IOTA tokens as Miota's (1.000.000 IOTA tokens).
There are 2.779.530.283.277.761 IOTA tokens available (which is 111111111111111111111111111111111 in base-3).

Iota            = 1 Iota	= 1i	= 1i
KiloIota	= 1 Kiota	= 1Ki	= 1.000i
MegaIota	= 1 Miota	= 1Mi	= 1.000.000i
GigaIota	= 1 Giota	= 1Gi	= 1.000.000.000i
TeraIota	= 1 Tiota	= 1Ti	= 1.000.000.000.000i
PetaIota	= 1 Piota	= 1Pi	= 1.000.000.000.000.000i

Summary

We hope that this webpage gave you a kickstart introduction to what IOTA is, and what it wants to become. IOTA has potential to become a widely used DLT platform within the coming years due to its unique properties. As the adoption and development ecosystem around IOTA grows, we will hopefully see some very interesting applications emerge within several industries.