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What Is IOTA And Why Is It Worth Billions?

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Bitcoin seems to be a rising tide that lifts all boats. The growing hype around bitcoin — its price has surged to more than $18,000 in recent weeks — has accompanied soaring prices for other digital currencies such as Ethereum, ZCash, Ripple and Litecoin. The latest digital token to rise to prominence is IOTA.

What Is IOTA?

Established in 2015, IOTA — shorthand for Internet of Things Application — is one of a range of cryptocurrencies. It lets people use machine-to-machine payments as well as the secure data transfer of sensors.

Its distinguishing characteristic is that, unlike bitcoins, it is decentralised — there’s no cost for transacting the currency and the more people using IOTA, the faster the network upon which it runs becomes. IOTA is the first distributed ledger technology to go beyond a blockchain, which enables machines to securely transact digital currencies with each other, instead using its own process which is known as the “Tangle”.

To exchange bitcoin, on the other hand, a process called “mining” takes place, in which a computer solves a mathematical problem with a 64-digital solution. Each time a problem is solved, one “block” of bitcoin is processed. The process is slow, unpredictable, pricey and complicated.

Its Price Is Surging

That has led to calls that IOTA and other digital currencies offering a more user-friendly exchange mechanism will continue to thrive. The protractors may be right. The price of IOTA has risen from $0.85 to $4.80. IOTA’s market value is now $14.8 billion.

Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, the corporate venture capital firm of Bosch Group, this week bought a significant number of IOTA tokens. Bosch helps to accelerate the currency to maturity by testing it on the its global ecosystem. IOTA’s technology has enabled more than $10 billion to be transacted — people have even used it to pay for vehicle charging and parking.

Hongquan Jiang, partner at RBVC, said: “I’m very excited about IOTA’s technology, which could potentially become the standard underlying technology for trustless machine-to-machine communication, security and payment in the IoT space.

“There will be much synergy between Bosch and the IOTA Foundation and I’m looking forward to seeing more industrial adoptions of this technology in the near future.”

Earlier this month, IOTA launched a data marketplace with more than 30 participants including Accenture, Deutsche Telekom, Fujitsu, Orange and Samsung. The currency then surged by 90%, adding $12 billion to its market value.

How Can I Buy IOTA?

Investors can purchase the currency at several crypto exchanges, the only snag is that you can’t buy it with cash — you can only trade it for another digital currency, such as bitcoin or ethereum.

Their prices are volatile, however, and have in the past been prone to costly data breaches.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.