Q2 2024 Progress Report

EVM Chain, Testnet, and Strategic Initiatives

In the past quarter, the IOTA Foundation has focused on several key areas, including the groundbreaking launch of the IOTA EVM chain, decentralization with the IOTA 2.0 Testnet, and enhancements in developer resources and digital identity solutions. Additionally, significant strides were made in fostering business-to-business integration. Read on to discover more about these exciting advancements and how they are shaping the future of IOTA.

Research & Development

The IOTA Core team researches and conceptualizes improvements to the core protocol, and applies these advancements in the reference node software. This quarter, the team released the IOTA 2.0 Testnet, which brings decentralization to the network by replacing the Coordinator with a PoS consensus. This release also introduces the concept of Mana, which aims to reduce the environmental impact and resource consumption of the network by replacing PoW. With the launch of the IOTA 2.0 Testnet, the team has shifted its focus to developing L1 smart contracts on the network.

The L2 Smart Contracts team develops solutions that provide programmability in the form of EVM/Wasm-based smart contracts as distinct side chains with enshrined bridges to L1 IOTA. This quarter, the team released the IOTA EVM chain, which finally enables programmability on the Iota network. The team is currently working on UX and other improvements to the live network, as well as preparing compatibility and extended functionality for the release of  L1 smart contracts.

The Developer Experience team is responsible for providing documentation and tooling to make developer onboarding as smooth as possible. In Q2, the team updated and improved our EVM documentation to include more usage examples and tooling for the IOTA EVM launch. Having worked on educational material for IOTA 2.0, the team is currently shifting focus towards L1 smart contracts.

The Tooling team creates infrastructure applications that build on top of the core IOTA protocol, including tools like the explorer or wallet software. In Q2, significant efforts were dedicated to the IOTA 2.0 public testnet release. This involved launching official support for the testnet in the Explorer and unveiling Firefly Canary, a version of the wallet tailored for the IOTA 2.0 testnet environment. Additionally, work commenced on tooling for Layer 1 smart contracts.

The Identity team, responsible for developing and maintaining digital identity solutions, released two versions of the Identity Framework this quarter. The 1.2 version further matured the current solution, while the 1.3 version introduced privacy-preserving selective disclosure credentials in collaboration with the LINKS Foundation and an EcDSA verifier in collaboration with decentralized identity and access management software provider Filancore. Beyond that, the team is actively extending and maintaining the library and has started investigating the compatibility of the identity solution with Layer 1 smart contracts. Organizationally, the team moved into the Technology Adoption department, taking responsibility for IOTA products, introduced later in this blog post.

The DevOps team maintains and monitors infrastructure services, including all the different networks relating to IOTA and Shimmer. Its main focus in Q2 was the launch of the IOTA 2.0 public Testnet.

Technology Adoption

The recently-created Technology Adoption (TA) Department is responsible for ensuring that IOTA technologies are embraced and utilized within the business-to-business (B2B) and corporate environments, potentially including governments and governmental institutions. This go-to-market role encompasses project acquisition and proactive partner management, which has already led to the identification of several promising leads of various sizes in the areas of digital product passports, tokenization of physical assets, and the circular economy. As is typical in the B2B sector, adoption conversations are more protracted and time-consuming but will result in more sustainable implementations.

  1. Team ramp-up: The TA department, which is currently being enlarged, will combine IOTA technology expertise with business development skills, enabling us to drive IOTA adoption in the professional manner expected by our current and future partners. Feedback from our current partners and prospective clients concerning this change is unanimously positive.
  2. IOTA products & strategy: In addition to IOTA adoption, TA is also accountable for the development and further evolution of the IOTA products “running” on top of our layers 1 and 2, such as our identity solutions dedicated to future frameworks. This additional team will be enhanced by a software product manager who shall constitute the link between the engineering team and the business development arm of TA.

The European Blockchain Pre-Commercial Procurement project (EBSI PCP) officially ended at the beginning of March with all three finalists having produced their final deliverables and rendered the final presentations. Contrary to earlier phases of the EBSP PCP, the European Commission deliberately did not intend to produce a ranking or declare a “winner” of the final phase 2B. Instead, the Commission reviewed the results and provided a concise assessment to every finalist on an individual basis (so we do not know how the others performed and vice versa). The TA department has put together a host of material on our various deliverables already and is currently working with the EC to obtain permission to publish all of it.

TA will further capitalize on these results and work with both the European Commission and the Europeum-EDIC to progress this conversation. As a first result, IOTA and the other two PCP finalists participated in a joint workshop in Brussels on the authenticity of products/documents and IP rights management using DLT solutions at the end of June.

SUSEE (“Secure Sensoring Platforms for Smart Energy Grids”) researches and designs scalable solutions for reliable and secure data transmission and processing in sensor networks. At the beginning of this quarter, the project achievements and plans for Q2 2024 were presented at the SUSEE Workshop 2024 in Osnabrück. Since then, the reliability of the SUSEE node services has been improved. The correct processing of smart-meter messages is validated and the health status of involved services is checked before messages are sent. For the upcoming field test, a small cluster of redundant SUSEE nodes, using primary and secondary nodes with failover, has been developed and deployed. The nodes use a lightweight data synchronization complementing the data synchronization achieved by the IOTA network. Additionally, the usability of the SUSEE applications has been further improved to allow easier identification of SUSEE Modules (a.k.a. Smart meters) regarding data visualization.

As the active participation of the IOTA Foundation in the SUSEE project will end at the end of June 2024, the documentation of the SUSEE node and SUSEE applications has been updated and completed. The provided software and services will ensure a secure and reliable meter message transportation via the IOTA Tangle allowing proof of authenticity and broadcasting times.

TLIP

The Trade and Logistics Information Pipeline (TLIP) is a digital, collaborative infrastructure for data sharing in global trade, based on IOTA’s DLT. This quarter, TLIP has focused on enhancing EU-UK cross-border processes through a pilot study on poultry shipments. In Kenya, our team has strengthened engagement with the Kenya Revenue Authority by conducting workshops aimed at deploying and configuring the system to enable seamless data flow and digital accessibility for export trade certificates and border agency interactions via TLIP. The WTO Global Review of Aid for Trade, June 26-28, featured a panel discussion on TLIP and the transformative power of DLT in trade.

Ecosystem

The Ecosystem team is dedicated to fostering the health and growth of IOTA’s builders and community ecosystem, which currently has a strong emphasis on the IOTA EVM and its DeFi ecosystem. Having launched IOTA EVM in June 2024, the team has successfully established a solid infrastructure and lined up over 30 dApps already deploying at this early stage of the IOTA EVM launch phase. By integrating renowned infrastructure providers like LayerZero and Stargate, along with top-tier oracle providers such as Pyth, IOTA EVM is well-equipped for its next expansion phase. This strategic foundation sets the stage for onboarding a new wave of users, driving further innovation and adoption within the IOTA ecosystem.

This quarter in IOTA and Shimmer Governance brought us two proposals to reiterate the previous failed votes to establish a new Tangle Treasury DAO Lead and new committee members for the Shimmer Community Treasury DAO. The votes on these two proposals are currently underway in your Shimmer wallet.
Another proposal for supercharging the expansion of IOTA EVM growth has been submitted to the Governance Forum and is currently being discussed in the community.

March saw the introduction of the IOTAGrants. The initiative was created by the Abu Dhabi-based IOTA Ecosystem DLT Foundation and aims to support builders. Since then, over 102 applications have been received, 25 approved, and $2.74 million committed in funding. You can read about all these projects, which have been featured in our blog updates: Grants Recap I, Grants Recap II, and Grants Recap III.

During the second quarter of 2024, the Ecosystem department conceptualized and executed eight episodes of BuildSphere on X-Spaces, interviewing various ecosystem projects. These episodes received highly positive feedback from the community and will be pursued in the following months. Additionally, the team moderated the EVM launch party, which you can tune into here, and distributed hoodies to participants.

Legal & Regulatory Affairs

This quarter, IOTA’s cutting-edge Web3 Identification solution – built together with walt.id, IDnow, Bloom and HAVN – was selected for the European Blockchain Sandbox launched by the European Commission, highlighting the innovative potential of our solutions. You can read more about the Web3 Identification solution here.

Additionally, the Legal and Regulatory Affairs team participated in the European Commission’s workshop on Asset Tokenisation in Finance, contributing our industry expertise on questions like standardization and interoperability and fostering collaboration with key regulatory stakeholders.

The Legal and Regulatory department has also worked closely with the Ecosystem department to successfully introduce and fine-tune a robust legal process for grant agreements, ensuring streamlined and compliant operations moving forward. You can read more about the grant program managed by the IOTA Ecosystem DLT Foundation here.

Outlook

As always, the IOTA Foundation has been busy adapting to the ever-changing status quo, state of technology, and market demands. With the release of the IOTA 2.0 testnet and the IOTA EVM, two major milestones have been reached, now allowing us to shift some of the focus away from research and development groundwork to further solidifying the state of the technology, as well as to increase focus on applying the technology instead of building its fundamentals. Engineering focus and planning have adapted accordingly, teams have already partly been reassigned and internal structures have been adapted, including the establishment of the Ecosystem Department and the Technology Adoption Department, which are currently being enlarged.

For current updates on the work of our various teams and working groups, join our community on Discord or follow us on X/Twitter.


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