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What is IOTA? A beginner’s guide

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How IOTA is reimagining the blockchain for the Internet of Things.

The driving force behind IOTA is the rapidly growing network of interconnected devices, or the “Internet-of-Things.” IOTA’s goal is to provide an infrastructure that enables machine-to-machine transactions to happen between all the different devices that are hooked into the Internet.

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What is IOTA?

Icon Symbol Initial release date Algorithm type Max. supply
IOTA June 13, 2017 DAG 2779530283277761

At the core of IOTA is an innovative new spin on the blockchain, called “the tangle.” IOTA’s tangle architecture is designed to manage transactions in the rapidly growing digital economy that undergirds the so-called Internet-of-Things. Here’s how it works:

  • If you think about all of the devices that are connected to the Internet, such as computers, the vast majority of them are not running at their full capacity most of the time.
  • Many people use computers for things like checking e-mail or browsing the web, but behind the scenes their computers could be doing a lot more without impacting performance.
  • Part of IOTA’s vision is to provide a secure way for people to earn money by letting others access some of that unused power.
  • In the real world, the potential for this new machine-to-machine economy spans far beyond personal computers. IOTA plans to be the backbone of a new kind of sharing economy designed for a wide variety of smart devices.

Where to buy, sell and trade IOTA?

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How is IOTA different from bitcoin?

Bitcoin introduced two fundamental concepts to the world: decentralized digital currencies and the blockchain. IOTA has built upon both of those ideas to create a new kind of infrastructure designed for the expanding network of internet-connected machines, or smart devices. Instead of focusing on peer-to-peer transactions, like bitcoin, IOTA is designed primarily for transactions that happen on a machine-to-machine level.

Is IOTA a cryptocurrency?

The IOTA cryptocurrency is one aspect of the larger IOTA platform. Designed with mass adoption in mind, IOTA hopes to provide a foundation for digital transactions to occur throughout the Internet-of-Things. The IOTA cryptocurrency is intended to serve as a universal method of payment for the future of machine-to-machine transactions that happen on the IOTA network.

The IOTA Tangle

One of the most unique and exciting parts of IOTA is the tangle. Building on the idea of a distributed ledger, a central component of today’s blockchains, the tangle has emerged as a new kind of data structure. The tangle is a decentralized, peer-to-peer network that does not rely on “blocks,” mining, or an external consensus process. This allows secure data transfers to happen directly between digital devices, without transaction fees, in a self-regulating manner.

How to buy IOTA

Currently, IOTA is only available through one exchange in the US, Binance. Because it’s still a relatively new cryptocurrency, more exchanges are likely to offer it in the future. But, for now, there’s only one option for US residents.

Can I make money with IOTA?

At this phase of IOTA’s development, traders located in a country with access to an exchange that offers IOTA may buy into the currency. Particularly because the project is still very new, it’s possible that early investors may earn a profit as the technology develops. As with any cryptocurrency, it’s important to be aware that there’s risk involved, there are no guarantees, and the cryptocurrency market is notoriously unstable.

When the IOTA network is ready for mass distribution, users will have the potential to earn money by allowing others to harness the unused power of their connected devices. While the project is not currently at this stage, IOTA launched a public test-net in May of 2017 to give people a chance to interact with the platform. A “bug-bounty” program is ongoing, which pays rewards to individuals who find bugs within the IOTA framework.

What to watch out for

  • While IOTA has gained considerable traction, the project is still in the early stages of development. It’s unclear when the IOTA network will be ready for mainstream implementation, and whether it will achieve mass adoption.
  • The tangle architecture, which is central to IOTA, is a new kind of data structure. As with any new technology, there is no way to know how it will work in the real world until it’s implemented.
  • In August, 2017, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston University published an article discussing potential vulnerabilities in the IOTA system. While the IOTA team has responded, it’s unclear at the time of writing this, in September 2017, how these issues will be addressed.

What’s on the roadmap for IOTA?

  • Central to IOTA’s stated vision is making the platform accessible and geared towards real-world adoption. In keeping with that goal, IOTA has been working on creating clients in several different programming languages, making the system flexible for developers.
  • IOTA is currently researching solutions to improve networking between the many different kinds of devices connected to the Internet-of-Things. Different devices use different protocols to interact with the network. IOTA’s goal is to streamline this process to enable fluid machine-to-machine communication.
  • One of the biggest problems for many existing blockchain-based applications, including bitcoin, is scaling. IOTA is confronting this challenge by using a method called “snapshotting” to handle data on the tangle ledger in a way that enables the network to efficiently process many transactions at once.

Frequently asked questions

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AdrianApril 9, 2018

    “One of the biggest problems for many existing blockchain-based applications, including bitcoin, is scaling. IOTA is confronting this challenge by using a method called “snapshotting” to handle data on the tangle ledger in a way that enables the network to efficiently process many transactions at once.” I read a article on https://iota-news.com about the snapshot, too. But there was also the info, that the new trinity wallet will do the snapshot reattachment automated. Is that true? Would be great

    • finder Customer Care
      AshApril 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Adrian,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      For the IOTA Trinity Wallet, one of the features of its Beta release is the Snapshot Transition wherein the wallet will have snapshot.

      One of the disadvantage of the snapshot is that, if you will access your IOTA wallet after the snapshot and your balance shows 0, you may not be able to see the transaction history as it has been deleted.

      I hope this helps.

      Please do not hesitate to reach out to us again if you have additional questions.

      Cheers,
      Ash

  2. Default Gravatar
    rampers1December 28, 2017

    Hi, thanks for the insight.

    Just curious after reading your post – will Bitfinex accept ETH from Coinmama? I’ve read Bitfinex do not accept ETH from Coinmama as it is a smart contract. If not, do you know if Binance will or alternatively, will it accept bitcoins instead of ETH? Do you recommend other exchanges that I can buy IOTA. Will I need to set up an intermediary wallet or can I transfer bitcoins or ETH directly from Coinmama to Binance or Bitfinex?

    I would like to transfer funds from Coinmama to these exchanges but prefer it be painless and learn from others who’ve actually gone through the process. Thanks in advance.

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldDecember 29, 2017

      Hi Rampers1,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      You may contact coinmama support directly about this as many exchanges have that issue. However, it’s relatively quick and painless to set up a wallet if needed by clicking here.

      Hope this information helps

      Cheers,
      Arnold

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