IoT (Internet of Things) and M2M (Machine to Machine) communication are in the process of revolutionizing how humanity interacts with objects in the widest sense of the term. Connected devices occupy an increasingly large part of our day-to-day life. However, in order to fully integrate them within our transactional systems, we need real-time solutions which provide security and efficiency to data and value exchanges between people and machines.
This is exactly what Iota (MIOTA) aims to achieve thanks to a fee-less ledger solution created with the “Internet of Everything” in mind. Our Iota guide tells you all you want to know about its network, its token and its objectives.
Iota (MIOTA): Introduction and Definition
Iota (MIOTA) was created in Germany in 2015. Its founders are Dominik Schiener, Sergey Ivancheglo, David Sønstebø, and Dr. Serguei Popov. The currency itself, the IOTA token is called MIOTA, which stands for Mega IOTA or Millions of IOTA. The original market supply was 2,779,530,283,277,761 IOTA coins, though the mining-free solution now relies on an open distributed system to process the tokens.
Currently occupying rank 24 at the Market Cap, it underwent a spike in the first half of 2018, when its capitalization reached almost $USD 15 billion. It now hovers above the $600 million mark.
Once we know that IOTA stands for “Internet Of Things Application”, we understand its close connection with the world of IoT. The founders of Iota (MIOTA)’s aim in creating this open-source distributed ledger was to provide the makers and users of IoT with a means of enabling cheap and swift data exchange between sensor-equipped machines thanks to the Iota coin.
What is IoT?
Short for Internet of Things, IoT is already much more present in our everyday life than one may imagine. In fact, it simply refers to how all connected objects around the world can communicate with one another through one single network: The Internet. While this may sound like a rather broad and undefined concept, it becomes clearer the moment we think of a concrete example, such as a greenhouse. In a regular greenhouse, looking after the plants is a question of addressing their needs based on what you can observe. If the temperature is too high, then you open the windows, if the soil is too dry, you turn on the irrigation system… IoT provides a solution to take care of the plants without human input by creating a network where information is gathered, interpreted and used. This means sensors are installed in the greenhouse to collect data on the temperature, the moisture level, etc. This data is sent to a hub (an app, for instance) which then determines what actions are necessary. The information could then either be sent to your smartphone to let you know you that you need to turn the irrigation system on or off, to open or close the windows, etc. Alternatively, it could be sent to a connected setup which would turn the water on and off and open and close the windows automatically. In a perfect IoT network, actions are taken at the ideal moment without ever requiring human input.
The potential is enormous, and, thanks to IoT, the world now has such wonders as smart cities, smart medical care, smart grids, smart public transport and more to look forward to.
Currently, the amount of data generated by these exchanges is growing exponentially as more and more entities come to rely on its incredible ability. New use cases are greatly restricted as there is no effective “backbone” in place. The next industrial revolution is poised to be one where an economic relationship between machines is the norm. This is what Iota (MIOTA) aims to address.
What Is Iota (MIOTA)?
The Iota coin, or Iota (MIOTA) is the network’s cryptocurrency. It was created to be the token of IoT transactions and allows data and value exchange between any data-recording machines that rely on the Internet of Things. What makes it so different from other cryptocurrencies is the fact that it does not need a blockchain. Instead, web connections are utilized and, for each transaction a user wishes to carry out, they must validate two previous transactions. This makes the system highly scalable and relevant to any market.
How Does Iota (MIOTA) Work?
You may be surprised to learn that Iota (MIOTA) does not rely on (traditional) Proof of Work, or even on blockchain technology. It prefers to take advantage of a data structure called the Tangle. The Tangle Directed Acyclic Graph (or DAG) is entirely block-free, miner-free and chain-free, and Iota (MIOTA) is the only cryptocurrency to date that uses this protocol. The goal remains to achieve consensus, though this is done by having network participants approve two past transactions in order to put their own through. Provable actions are still mandatory, but they do not demand large amounts of processing power to create blocks and add them to a chain.
The Tangle technology promises fast transactions, infinite scalability and no fees. What makes the system unique is the fact that the more transactions happen on the network, the more quickly they are processed. This is thanks to Tangle’s distinctive requirement that a transaction can only be put through if the user validates two previous ones. It also means that as the number of transactions increases, Iota (MIOTA) will automatically scale up, accommodating new users to immediately integrate them within the network. In addition, no mining implies no fees, as no new tokens need to be extracted.
A network that gets faster and more efficient the busier it gets: what’s not to like?
Why Use Iota?
One of the main advantages of Iota is that the Iota Foundation considers it a means of enabling new possibilities for machines to become self-reliant and to improve and simplify our everyday life. Instead of mimicking current economic models, it sees a world where automatized payments can unlock the full potential of IoT.
Among its applications, several have a very measurable social impact. A universal digital identity system, for instance, would allow governmental services to be accessible to a wider public. Sustainability and climate change-related issues could effectively be addressed through the existence of shared, tamper-proof environmental data to create reliable resources on which to base new policies. Alternative finance could also unlock cross-border payments and drive economic growth in the less developed parts of the world. Even rainforest protection could benefit from the innovative solutions that the Iota (MIOTA) foundation’s ledger offers, such as the certification of carbon credits.
Connected vehicles able to interact with the smart-city infrastructure could use Iota to harness the power of connected mobility. Built-in car wallets, for instance, could automatically pay for an electricity top-up from a smart charging point. Usage-based insurance would also become the norm. Urban mobility management could likewise be greatly facilitated by the type of partnerships Iota (MIOTA) is capable of promoting. The same goes for global trade and for digital identity, which can create trust between individuals, objects and organizations.
How to Buy Iota (MIOTA) on Bitit?
Iota (MIOTA) may be purchased from some exchange platforms, though the registration procedure may be cumbersome and the interface confusing to someone who only wishes to hold some of the currency with no further trading intentions.
Bitit provides an e-commerce-like interface through which you can buy Iota (MIOTA) coins in just a few easy steps. No complicated process, no minimum initial deposit, no difficult-to-understand functionalities. On Bitit’s Dashboard, you can check how many MIOTA you will receive for the amount of your choice in your own currency before you even sign up. You will then place your order using a credit or debit card, cash or via a bank transfer. Within a few minutes, your tokens are sent onto your favorite wallet.
How to Store Iota (MIOTA)?
Iota coins should be stored in an appropriate Iota (MIOTA) wallet to avoid them being at the mercy of hackers.
Web wallets are not recommended unless you are only keeping a very small number of tokens. A desktop wallet, such as GUI IOTA Light Wallet, ensures your private key is not stored by a third party and provides some convenient functionalities. Smartphone users may prefer IOTA’s official Android wallet.
And, as always, hardware wallets are to be favored if you wish to protect a larger quantity of cryptocurrency. The Ledger Nano S is a good alternative, as is the Trezor.
Iota news shows that the IOTA Foundation continues to work towards correcting one of the main disadvantages of Iota which is that it has not quite taken off yet. Despite its very promising future, Iota (MIOTA) simply has not been adopted by enough people and organizations to be operating at scale. Once the network has reached its full maturity, there is no telling just how central it could become to the way individuals interact with the technologies that surround them.