Imagine a world where all your smart gadgets – the phone in your pocket, your Alexa, the front door camera – made money for you. Even your robot floor cleaner could be chipping into the household income. This is the dream of IOTA.
IOTA is best known as a cryptocurrency (MIOTA). One of the biggest digital currencies, IOTA is right up there with Bitcoin and Litecoin, with a current market cap of $2.3 billion. Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of how to buy IOTA, what is this disruptive technology, and does it live up to the hype?
IOTA is an open-source ledger built to facilitate information between devices on the Internet of Things (IoT). IOTA was founded in 2015 by a four-person team:
Sergey Ivancheglo, Serguei Popov, David Sønstebø, and Dominik Schiener. Today, the IOTA project differs from many of the other altcoins in that it is not entirely “decentralized.” IOTA is spread across over 25 countries, and the cryptocurrency giant has partnered with some big businesses, including Microsoft, Volkswagen, and BOSCH.
IOTA calls itself “The Backbone of IoT,” and its claims include zero transaction fees with the MIOTA token. The underlying IOTA technology (which we will explore in more depth below) has allowed the cryptocurrency to make big claims about “feeless microtransactions” and near-infinite scaling – qualities that make the altcoin stand apart from its competitor Bitcoin.
The German-based nonprofit recently released IOTA 2.0, which includes updates such as an official wallet “Firefly” and the new Tanglenet with “Chrysalis.” IOTA has made a lot of noise about these internal developments. Still, critics have pointed out that Firefly can only be used on desktops and is not compatible with the popular hardware wallets “Ledger Nano.” Moreover, less than a third of IOTA has been migrated over to Chrysalis, somewhat taking the shine off the new Tanglenet.
While the value of the IOTA token has taken a dip in recent months, the popular cryptocurrency remains one of the strongest in the markets. Long-term investors in the altcoin talk about IOTA as the bridge between the human and the machine. On paper, IOTA dreams big: of “enabling the machine economy” and facilitating the vast amounts of information being sent between our smart devices, effectively monetizing our data and putting consumers back in the driving seat.
The first thing to understand about the IOTA is that it does not use blockchain. This makes the cryptocurrency stand apart from most altcoins and Bitcoin, which work by sending financial transactions in blocks of data across a chain. Blockchain technology is impressive for its security and potential (the Ethereum blockchain can run decentralized applications, for example). Reliance on blockchain presents two major stumbling blocks, however: scalability and sustainability. Bitcoin is limited in that the more users join the network, the slower it could be and the more energy it will use.
IOTA came up with a new solution which is called the “Tangle.” The IOTA Tangle is a directed acrylic graph (DAG). Thanks to the Tangle, IOTA does not need miners (the users of a cryptocurrency network that are relied upon for transactions and new coins). Moreover, IOTA has no issues with scalability: in theory, the Tangle could accommodate an infinite number of IoT devices.
If IOTA has no miners, how are new tokens created? All the IOTA tokens were created when the cryptocurrency was first launched. There is a fixed total supply of 2,779,530,283,277,761 MIOTA. As for approving the financial transactions on the network, IOTA uses the Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm for this. The users essentially approve transactions; every time you send IOTA, you approve two other transactions.
The benefits of the unique IOTA Tangle are that it is highly scalable, and it enables fast transactions at zero cost and with low resource dependence. IOTA works off the premise that the more users (“nodes”) and devices on the Tangle network, the easier it will be to find consensus among them to process transactions.
IOTA has the potential for cross-sector deployment. The Tangle technology could be used in smart cities to share transparent data and coordinate urban mobility for intelligent cars. IOTA could encourage citizen-facing governance by empowering individuals with their data. On the flipside, the Tangle network could help governments with digital identity projects – think of the “Track and Trace” systems used to monitor the spread of COVID-19.
Take a look around you, and you will be surprised how many IoT devices you may see. Many of us wear smartwatches like Fitbits or use voice-controlled gadgets like Amazon’s Echo or Alexa. IoT devices can also help make your home safer or healthier. There are pollution detectors to monitor air quality or smart cameras to let you see who is standing on your doorstep before you let them in. There are already 30 billion IoT devices worldwide, and experts estimate this will rise to a whopping 75 billion in the next four years. These devices, big and small, are “speaking” to each other by sending microdata between them. Until now, that data is just that, data. IOTA wants to use that data to create a “machine economy” where devices exchange all types of information without human intervention.
Experts are divided on the future of IOTA. Some see the cryptocurrency as a disruptive firestarter for the internet of things – and given “data is the new oil,” this could be a gamechanger. Others point to the flaws in the underlying technology. In 2020, IOTA introduced a “Coordinator” as a central point within the network, and critics feel this could be a weak link in the Tangle.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of ardent voices out there assuring anyone who will listen that the future of IOTA is bright and long-lasting. Which brings us to the question: how do you buy and sell IOTA?
Long-term investors may want to purchase the IOTA tokens and sit on their MIOTA for the next few years. Short-term traders may prefer to speculate on the volatility of the cryptocurrency markets and seek profit from the frequent IOTA price changes against other assets. Trading IOTA CFDs is a popular strategy. In this case, you would open a CFD (“Contract for Difference”) with your broker and go long or short when IOTA rises or dips in the markets. The advantage of the CFD strategy is that you can trade with leverage, i.e., borrow money from your crypto trading platform to take bigger positions than your capital might allow.
Where to buy IOTA?
The place you buy IOTA from will depend on what you want to do with your tokens. Cryptocurrency exchanges will let you buy IOTA tokens using a credit card or bank transfer or swap them for another altcoin. At this juncture, you will need to consider storage methods: do you keep them on the crypto site (and run the risk of losing them in the event of a cyberattack) or download them onto a hardware IOTA wallet?
The best place to buy IOTA if you are looking to trade the altcoin is a traditional brokerage platform. Here at TradeOr, you can buy and sell IOTA alongside other cryptocurrency pairs. Our team of experts will help you deploy various trading strategies across the markets, including forex, stocks, and crypto. Trade with derivatives, including the abovementioned CFDs. Moreover, TradeOr clients get leverage of up to 500:1. If you are unsure about buying IOTA, our stellar customer support team is available 24/7. Finally, bear in mind that the cryptocurrency market is highly volatile. For all its shiny bells and whistles, IOTA is not invulnerable to price drops.
If the Internet of Things continues on its expansive trajectory, IOTA could have a promising future. However, nothing is certain, but long and short-term investors alike continue to speculate on the prospects of this disruptive and forward-thinking cryptocurrency.