I'm pretty sure that no one reads this blog so, although I try to keep it professional and to the point, it's tempting to use it more as a personal journal or diary so please excuse any meanderings....
I've had a pretty great year so far. In January I spent a week with some very talented programmers and developers in St Petersburg which in itself was a pleasant and constructive experience and this time around I managed to visit the Hermitage which was awesome. Don't believe the hype; Russians are great (well the ones I met in St Petersburg anyway).
Also, in February, I returned from two weeks paragliding - mainly in Guaca Valley - in Colombia. What a place! Colombians are consistently the most kind and generous people I have met on my travels to date. Again, don't believe the hype and get out more if you do!
Finally, I picked up an overcoat in London last month that I have wanted since I was about 17 years old. Since this is not a fashionable item I have had to have it made for me and waited for over 9 months for it to materialise. I think it's awesome.
Anyway, that's enough about me.
This year I have also been excited about iota. In my last post I introduced the concept (not mine I might add) that, as a civilisation, we had to get back to a world where currency was backed by something of value, and that in an ideal world this thing of value would actually benefit mankind.
I think I've found it in iota.
The founders of this infant technology are (so far as I can tell) young, intelligent and motivated to change the world. There has been good press and bad press in cryptocurrency circles surrounding iota and when things get heated sometimes one of the founders unprofessionally uses the F word which I find unattractive. However, because my glass is usually half full (rather than half empty) I see this in a positive light in that he is passionate in defence of his foundation's infant tech.
I think that this technology could be a key part of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
There is a lot to get your head around and in many ways iota resembles blockchain technology; but there is a lot that is different too.
The following points summarise my understanding of iota:
Iota wants to create a machine to machine (M2M) economy.
Think of a future where you (or a robot!) get into a driverless taxi and pay the taxi for your fare. The taxi then pays for its own parking, toll costs and electricity etc, etc, and makes its own profit.... Iota wants to be the currency that enables this.
Iota has a "tangle" not a "blockchain"
The tangle, like a blockchain, is a directed acyclic graph but is intended to be more scaleable and efficient. One of the criticisms of the tangle is that it is not decentralised at present because it is maintained by a coordinator called the "coo". This is because it does not yet have critical mass to maintain and protect itself. The Iota Foundation maintain that the coo is like the trainer wheels on a kids bike and will come off when the tangle can take care of itself.
Right now the tangle looks like this!
Iota has no transaction fees
I think this is very clever because it removes one of the problems that Bitcoin has suffered from - transaction fees. It removes transaction fees by requiring your computer to confirm two other transactions on the tangle in order to have your own transaction confirmed. The true cost of this is the electricity consumed by your computer to do this and the time it takes to do so.
Iota has no miners and all the iota in existence (2,779,530,283 miota) have already been created.
This means that the users and other stakeholders will ultimately be responsible for maintaining the tangle which is comprised of interconnected "full" nodes each running a complete copy of the tangle. The motivation for running a full node - which essentially requires a computer to be permanently on and connected to the internet and continually "talking" to neighbouring nodes appears, prima facie, to be community and stakeholder altruism. However, if you were processing a lot of transactions (like my driverless taxi for example) you would probably want to run a full node. More full nodes means more scalabilty.
There is a great youtube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_jNH9BlEEo that explains these differences (and more) far more eloquently and in more detail than I have.