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IOTA Microsoft Partnership
The IOTA Microsoft partnership has garnered a lot of eyeballs in the last few days. The first publically accessible marketplace for IoT (Internet of Things) has been launched this week. Berlin-based crypto startup IOTA has partnered with Microsoft, Fujitsu and twenty other companies including Bosch and Accenture to develop a Blockchain solution to data monetization via internet-connected devices. The marketplace will allow users to sell their data for a fee while retaining anonymity. This Foundation hopes to give rise to the next generation of data-driven technology.
IOTA is run by the Germany-based non-profit IOTA Foundation, which raised a multimillion-dollar investment from U.K.-based Outlier Ventures earlier this year and exceeded a $1.5 billion market capitalization on its first day of trading in June. IOTA is now one of the largest cryptocurrencies (#8 as of press time) with a current market capitalization of about $3 billion.
Blockchain vs Tangle
While IOTA runs on a crypto token, the MIOTA, and is largely considered a blockchain play, it’s not an actual blockchain but a variant, called a DAG (directed acyclic graph). IOTA calls its DAG the “Tangle”. The Tangle doesn’t use blocks and so, unlike the Bitcoin and Ethereum chains, it doesn’t require miners or suffer from block-size restrictions. And that makes for speedier, no-cost transactions—the kind you’d need for split-second data and resource exchanges in an IoT ecosystem.
The key aspect which makes the newly created marketplace unique is the Distributed Ledger architecture. Compared to its closest competitor–Blockchain Technology–the network has the advantage of being entirely decentralized. The validation is no longer parted from using the network. The co-founder of IOTA Dominik Schiener describes the core technology of the marketplace in the following way:
“Our next-generation technology goes beyond blockchain in order to solve some of the key pain points, such as fees and scaling, that have kept blockchain in the realm of theory instead of real-world use cases. We are aiming to implement the most impactful, collaborative demo of Distributed Ledger Technology to date”
IOTA's Planned Applications
The idea is to enable a future where any connected sensor or device can grab data from an open marketplace, for a micro-fee, to power an application. Smart city sensors, for example, could use environmental data collected via Samsung’s ARTIK sensors to drive IoT-based pollution alerts. And connected cars could perhaps tap data from Bosch, the world’s largest automotive part supplier, to get details on a part that appears to be malfunctioning.
The IOTA team isn’t talking much about specific apps yet; it seems to want the IoT community to do the brainstorming there. What the team is emphasizing is that its new marketplace is a big chance to showcase how a real-time micropayment business model can enable innovative apps for supply chains, smart cities, AI, and more.