IOTA - Feeless Platform With High Potential

About a week and a half ago I wrote about what I think the perfect crypto platform would be. I mentioned a few projects I like that come close in some aspects. Then a few days ago I wrote about Nimiq to give more detail. Then I talked about Xaya. Next I mostly ranted about Nano. Then came my clueless evaluation of EOS. Today I am going to discuss IOTA and why I think it is the only non-Hive, non-custom option I am still considering (EOS may creep back in if I ever see a reason to give it more of a chance but for now the front runner is definitely Hive, but Iota has a small chance and I'm always having ideas on just building a custom chain but that's a lot of work that I don't really have time for.)

If you read my review(rant) on Nano then to more simply describe IOTA would be to say it is Nano but more. It uses a direct acyclic graphs (DAG) instead of a traditional blockchain. They call it the Tangle. The consensus protocol is slightly behind that of nano though. For years they've been using what they call the coordinator. It is a centralized server that helps verify consensus. This has always been a negative point for iota. However, while some in nano circles are starting to accept their coin is becoming centralized, those in iota are still working hard to get to 'coordicide'. Which is what they have been calling the goal of shutting down the coordinator and going fully decentralized.

Chrysalis is what they call their next major version. It is clear they're working hard in this recent push to coordicide. The dev net is live and operating well. And the conversion is well underway. I'd not be surprised if Iota is fully decentralized and operational by the end of the year.

Iota currently has a developing ecosystem and smart contract system. I believe they intend it to be considered mature along with the Chrysalis update. However, they already have quite a few things released or in development. A big one they're working on is a universal ID. From what I can tell this is something similar to Hive Keychain but taken up a level to consider things like biometrics and other personal information. They also have a bit of a focus on Internet of Things.

For investment talk. I've seen Iota as low as $0.20 and as high has $2.50 or so. Right now it is around $1.00 and the coin is ranked #46. Which is pretty high, I think I mentioned yesterday EOS was the only one on my list in the top 100 and if I did, I was wrong! I think if they pull off a good release the value could easily double what it is now or more. But I'm not going to give any advice since I really don't know what to expect.

The Iota Foundation is the group behind the project and they actually have funding opportunities if you can come up with a good proposal. The team is quite large as well, so there is obviously some power behind this project.

For developers, there is a decent amount of resources. I believe the official client is written in Rust. Personally I'm not a huge fan of Rust. It seems like a great language and all but it just does not seem compatible enough to me. I understand its strengths and why a lot of PC only systems developers love it, but it is just kind of limited to me. In fact I think languages like Nim or Haxe would be a much better choice for systems programming. They are just as nice but much more portable. But anyway...

They also have multiple clients in other languages. Even C. Which is really nice. C is so portable it really provides a great starting point for anyone wanting to build up iota clients elsewhere. For example if I decide to use Iota in my game, I could start with the C client library. Package into an Unreal plugin and get started pretty quickly. None of the other options on my list have this, they're usually limited to javascript, python, maybe ruby. Of course client libraries can be written in any language for any of the options, but the purpose of picking a platform is to minimize the work I have to do to incorporate that platform into my own projects. If I have to write a client from scratch, not desirable.

The biggest negatives to using Iota from my perspective are minor but limiting enough.

The biggest is the developmental state. Until they finish the Chrysalis nothing is solid enough to build on. Given nothing I start now is going to be complete before they finish though, I do think it is not a huge deal to develop my product alongside theirs and then perhaps be one of the first dapps released on the new version of iota.

Another issue, with all but Nimiq (sort of anyway) on my list, you develop dapps to talk to an API, which has to be running somewhere. Most of them require you actually running your own node. To me this kind of defeats the purpose of decentralized apps. If you have to run a server, why not just build a traditional app? Some, like Hive, do provide public APIs from large nodes, which is nice to get started. Iota is no different. I'm not sure if there is a public node you can use to get started or if you have to have a node from the start. I know it is not the same as traditional servers and still has advantages, but I do feel like we need something more.

The last issue I have with it is the distribution of the currency itself. One of the reasons I like Hive above the others is new users can join up and start earning right away without having to put fiat into the system. Through the system a new user can gain hive currencies by posting and working for it in various ways. All the others require you to buy in somehow.

Iota has a lot of potential. It is lagging behind a bit but overall looks really good. It comes up just short of Hive though. So there is a very slim chance I choose to use it for anything.

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