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Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, IOTA does not use the blockchain. Instead, it uses a new system of its own devising called the tangle.
Theoretically it offers three key features:
A lot of people believe that tangle will be the blockchain’s successor.
It’s still a new coin, so most exchanges don’t yet offer it. There are indications that this is likely to change in the future.
Currently, you can find IOTA at the following exchanges.
You might see IOTA referred to in various ways, such as Mi, Ki, MIOTA, KIOTA and others. These simply refer to different amounts of IOTA.
The most common unit of trade on exchanges is MIOTA.
If you are considering purchasing units, you will also need an IOTA wallet. You can leave your IOTA on the exchange for some time, but it’s probably a good idea to withdraw it to your own secure wallet when possible.
Both are what they sound like. A blockchain is like a chain of blocks, while the tangle is more like a web.
Transactions on a blockchain are built in a chain and transacted as they come. In most cases these transactions are processed by miners who lend their computing power to the blockchain and get rewarded with the blockchain’s cryptocurrency for doing so.
This reward is partly from newly released coins, but mostly from transaction fees.
The blocks with the highest transaction fees get processed first because they’re the most valuable to miners. And if there are more transactions waiting than can currently be processed, they’re put in a backlog.
As such, when a blockchain gets busier and more popular, transactions on it get slower and more expensive. This can be seen to varying degrees in many popular blockchain-based cryptocurrencies.
This is known as the “scaling problem” because it might put a hard limit on how big and valuable a cryptocurrency can get before it becomes so slow and expensive that it’s not worth using.
Many people believe that the only way a cryptocurrency can truly become a useful global currency is by solving the scaling problem.
IOTA has set the ambitious goal of leapfrogging blockchain technology with a significantly better system. Plus, it won’t be minting any new coins. As it’s more widely adopted, the typically traded amounts might turn from MIOTA to KIOTA to IOTA.
A lot of different stakeholders are also taking an interest. IOTA has announced some high profile partnerships with various brands, including Microsoft, Samsung, Cisco and Volkswagen, while others are already building new technologies with the specific intention of migrating them to the IOTA network later on.
It’s also worth considering that the potential applications of a successful tangle network are almost infinite.
The following are some of the applications floated by various organisations:
With almost limitless applications and ambitious technology that is rapidly improving, many people think that IOTA might be the way of the future.
However, it’s hard to predict the future role of the coin in the tangle network. It’s been described as an instrument to help machines speak with each other, rather than an investment to pass between human hands. Its uniqueness makes it hard to predict what IOTA “should” be valued at and how well it will store value in the long run.
It’s also worth considering the possibility of other tokens operating on the IOTA tangle network. The network itself might be the main attraction. The IOTA token, which isn’t necessarily meant for human hands, might end up being one of the least valuable coins on it.
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