IOTA is a distributed ledger with one big difference: it isn’t actually a blockchain. Instead, its proprietary technology is known as Tangle, a system of nodes that confirm transactions. The foundation behind this platform says this offers far greater speeds than conventional blockchains — and an ideal footprint for the ever-expanding Internet of Things ecosystem.
Because there’s no blockchain, there are no miners, and because there are no miners, there are no fees. Many established networks see costs balloon when congestion intensifies, but IOTA aims to provide limitless throughput at minimal expense.
In time, IOTA’s goal is to become the de facto platform for executing transactions between IoT devices. Given how estimates suggest there could be 20.4 billion such devices out there by 2024, this could end up being big business.
The team behind IOTA believe that the potential use cases don’t end here. They believe their distributed ledger could deliver digital identities to all, result in car insurance policies that are based on actual usage, pave the way for cutting-edge smart cities, deliver seamless global trade and prove the authenticity of products.
Originally known as Jinn, a crowdsale for the project was held in September 2014, and the network officially launched in 2016.