Much like ‘blockchain’ and ‘artificial intelligence,’ the word ‘IoT’ has become an exciting buzzword over the past couple of years – and it’s no surprise why.
The IoT industry is growing faster than ever. As of 2015, there were approximately 15.4 billion connected devices worldwide.
IHS has predicted that this number will just about double to around 30.7 billion by 2020, and double again to a phenomenal 75.4 billion by 2025.
What’s With All the Hype Around IOTA?
IOTA is a blockchain platform designed to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of the IoT ecosystem.
IoT produces vast quantities of data. However, outside of the real-time element, this data has very little value.
For example, if we’re driving a car and we need an update on traffic congestion, this information will only be useful for a very limited period of time.
Could it Give the Ethereum Blockchain a Run For Its Money?
IOTA features a twist on the traditional blockchain that the company calls Tangle.
The platform’s major selling points are its claims to provide zero-fee transactions, as well as its unique scaling process that has been specially designed to resolve many of the scalability problems that Bitcoin currently suffers from.
The team is trying to position Tangle as a serious competitor to the Ethereum blockchain, which is still the go-to platform used to build most applications.
While this sounds good in theory, there are still some stumbling blocks that the platform has yet to address.
By design, blockchains are meant to hold limited amounts of data in a very secure and robust way.
One of the major issues is that IoT systems are renowned for creating massive amounts of data to parse and store. Most existing blockchains simply cannot handle this load.
Tangle has been designed to offer a better solution to this problem, thanks to its take on mining. For every transaction done by a user, IOTA requires every user to verify two other random transactions.
In practice, this would reduce the need for mining, and also remove fees.
But the question is: do we really need to store all this data?
For comparison, do we really need to record last week’s news in case we want to go back and rewatch it in a couple of months?
Save for very few exceptional circumstances, the answer is very likely to be: no, we don’t.
But what is the alternative?
Exchanging Live Data on the Blockchain
Streamr is very similar to IOTA. Both teams have created a peer-to-peer tokenized platform that facilitates IoT interactions and records them on the blockchain.
The main difference between these two applications is that the Streamr platform has been specially developed for the purpose of real-time data-sharing. After all, the IoT revolves around live data.
The platform enables its user to receive payment from other users in exchange for sharing their live data. This is all done using a token known as DATAcoin.
Users can also use the same system to buy data from other cars nearby. This design creates an ecosystem that makes it impossible to receive data without participating.
However, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and starting from scratch like IOTA, Streamr runs on the Ethereum blockchain.
The platform essentially operates as a layer on top of Ethereum, and simply uses the Ethereum platform as an underlying security layer.
Example of the Streamr editor
The Future of Streamr and IOTA
The Streamr DATAcoin is currently vastly undervalued in comparison to IOTA.
Some users have speculated that this could be as a result of the lack of awareness of the coin, and also because it is available on few exchanges.
However, IOTA’s architecture is still incredibly young and is undergoing developments constantly.
Despite the promising steps it has made so far, there is no doubt that it still has a long way to go if it wants to get anywhere close to contending with Ethereum’s existing infrastructure, given the latter’s first-mover head start.