Year in review, year in preview
The full article was originally published by David Sønstebø on Medium. Read the full article here.
As we celebrate our planet’s latest journey around the sun, it’s once again time to glance in the rearview mirror and contemplate how far we’ve come, before turning our heads towards the grand journey ahead.
It’s impossible to capture the sheer magnitude of the progress achieved this year in a simple blog post. However, if one refrains from arbitrary (read: manipulated) rankings as the metric of success, 2019 represents the most triumphant year for IOTA thus far. By far. All aspects of the project have improved significantly over the past 12 months. Through the past year, the entire ecosystem matured leaps and bounds, setting us all up for an exhilarating 2020.
The IOTA Foundation grew from humble beginnings mere two years ago; the Foundation now represents an international organization with more than 110 devoted professionals. 2019 marks not only the year where IOTA showed how it will achieve its goal (Coordicide) of being the first and only truly scalable and decentralized DLT, but also the time it expanded its vision and made appropriate adjustments to the protocol to accommodate these new goals.
Beyond IF’s achievements, we also witnessed more and more established corporations adopt IOTA, as well as the seeds planted by bold entrepreneurs over the past couple of years starting to germinate. We are confident that 2020 will bloom with new products and start-ups that started in the fertile soil of the IOTA vision. This is a beautiful thing. The old and established synergizing with the new and brave in a whole new paradigm of technology. Currently, our growing ecosystem ranges from historic international conglomerates to barely-getting-started start-ups at the cusp of this new era.
The IOTA Foundation has also continued to build bridges with established academia to boost the crucial research necessary into every part of the project. We have allocated millions of dollars precisely for this and are very happy with the increasing interest from faculties.
Of course, as a true grassroots project, IOTA’s pulse is dependent on a healthy and vibrant community. In the latter half of this year, we have noticed a significant influx of new users. This uptick of activity is observed across all official IOTA platforms. Naturally, we are excited and want to extend a warm welcome to all newcomers!
This year our numero uno priorities were to finalize the theory behind Coordicide and share it for public review, as well as streamlining the IOTA Foundation’s different operations. Both have been a success. Without further ado, let’s review the most crucial developments by the IOTA Foundation in 2019
· IOTA became Founding Member of International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications IOTA Foundation, and more than 70 partners worldwide are coming together to help create smart global governance frameworks for blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. In true IOTA spirit, we founded the European Commission-backed association for DLT applications to ensure that the appropriate experts have a say on regulation and legislation pertaining to the innovations that the leaders of respective DLT projects bring to the table. INATBA nominated our very own Julie Maupin to Chair the Board of Directors.
· We took part at IEEE ICBC in Seoul, South Korea.
Several members of our research team co-authored and presented the paper ‘Achieving Fairness in the Tangle through an Adaptive Rate Control Algorithm.’ The paper, co-authored by Dr. Luigi Vigneri, Senior Research Scientist at IOTA and member of the Coordicide team, proposes a novel algorithm to tackle network congestion and prevention of spam attacks in the Tangle.
The IOTA Foundation (IF) launched its first international IOTA academy program in close cooperation with the IOT1 Academy, an in-depth tech academy based in Berlin and Shanghai.
We were excited to see an accelerating number of exhibitors at Hannover Messe (#HM2019), one of the most exciting global exhibitions showcasing the latest news, stories, and trends of the industrial world, using our technology — the Tangle — to demonstrate the benefits of distributed ledger technology. Some companies that used the Tangle included eCl@ss, Topocare, e-shelter, IAMPASS, and Fujitsu.
Continuing the tradition of being the most open and fair DLT project, we went the extra mile to be transparent with the community and share our story, current scenario, and vision through IOTA Insights. Insights is a series for organizations and individuals to learn about IOTA’s key focus areas on a quarterly(ish) basis, with a handy website specifically for updates and content related to the Insights Series.
The new Industry Marketplace, developed with world-leading academics, standardization bodies, enterprises, and thought leaders, is a substantial leap forward in our vision and we have significant plans for its future. The launch was just the first step in this project’s timeline. Working together with enterprise, we are developing an industry standard for decentralized data and service exchange.
After we launched the Industry Marketplace: a vendor and industry-neutral platform developed by IOTA and world-leading innovators, we posted a step-by-step guide for anyone who wants to contribute to the Industry Marketplace by setting up an instance of a Service Requester or a Service Provider.
IOTA announced three new grantees, all of whom will improve our understanding of our technology, the Tangle, and our ecosystem. The grants were given to Unio, Green IOTA, and Sebastian Mueller.
The IOTA Ecosystem team announced six great new grantees, with projects including a full node software written in Go (also known as Hornet), a new semi-permanode solution, a swift library, and awareness building & educational material.
· We awarded Professor Robert Shorten with a Research Grant that will fund academic researchers’ work on the Tangle for a three-year program of research.
· We introduced IOTA.cafe: A Public Research Forum to foster collaboration among team members and external researchers.
· IOTA-backed projects won three of 20 tracks at Odyssey Hackathon 2019, the biggest DLT & AI hackathon in the world. Eight teams participated using our technology in six of the 20 different tracks — with three IOTA-backed projects winning their tracks.
· IOTA Smart City contest on Hackster.io — For this contest, we posed several unique challenges from corporates that are looking toward DLT to help solve the problems their industries are facing. Our technology was used by participants to develop innovative IoT/M2M and data-driven concepts for the smart city environment for an opportunity to win over $10,000 in prizes.
· Industry Marketplace contest on Hackster.io
After our first challenges introducing IOTA and its abilities, we stepped up the challenges of introducing the concept of marketplaces. We challenged developers to create innovative solutions on top of the Industry Marketplace. COORDICIDE PROGRESS
In March, we announced the launch of znet, the first iteration of the Coordinator-less testnet.
In April, we made significant progress toward a Coordinator-free Tangle with the open-source Coordinator on the main net.
In May, we unveiled the blueprint for the Coordinator’s removal — a momentous step toward realizing IOTA’s promise as the first decentralized and scalable DLT.
In July, after opening up our Engineering communication channels on Discord, we pushed this approach even further by opening up our Research department’s code on the prototype.
Also, in July, we announced the Coordicide grants with the goal of funding community contributions to our research. By offering grants for Coordicide research, we wanted to attract expertise from academia and other research organizations to propel the growth of the IOTA ecosystem and to further the adoption of the technology.
In September, we shared the source code of the simulator we use to produce some of the results of FPC. Releasing the FPC simulator to the public allowed us to include the community, open up the technology, and encourage everyone to test in the wild.
After opening up the source code of GoShimmer, we were thrilled to see such a grand productive engagement from the community. We were excited to share the source code of the improved redesign of the auto-peering module, and we introduced an algorithm that combines three different variables; one which is verifiable, each one which is unpredictable, and a final one which is related to something scarce.
In July, we announced the full release of the Trinity wallet on all major mobile and desktop platforms.
We shared the audit results of the security assessment of all desktop and mobile versions (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android) that revealed an overall LOW risk of compromise from external attackers.
PARTNERSHIPS / COLLABORATIONS
We announced our partnership with Jaguar Land Rover and unveiled the advanced connected vehicle and integrated ‘Smart Wallet’ project that has been developed by Jaguar Land Rover at the Shannon R&D facility, Ireland.
We partnered with Zühlke, a service provider for innovation projects across Europe, combining both business and technology expertise, to explore new models for manufacturing, machine-to-machine communication, and real-time payments using IOTA.
We officially joined forces, in September, with the European Institute for Technology (EIT) and EIT Climate KIC, the leading bodies of the European Union, to connect and scale sustainable solutions across the continent.
We took our first step toward open collaboration when we joined the Linux Foundation to help complete their stack of technologies to advance their development of a truly interoperable solution set for IoT, Edge and Cloud integration.
We added strong security and trust capabilities to the Project Alvarium. A collaboration between the IOTA Foundation, the Linux Foundation, and one of their leading members, Dell Technologies, the Project Alvarium, is about creating intrinsic trust across exceedingly diverse systems. The project brings together systems from across the industry, to build a common platform that enables trust from the point of data generation, or on-chip, up to an operational platform.
We signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with FIWARE for initiating a collaboration.
We partnered with STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, to create a new level of powerful, seamless and cost-effective access to Internet-of-Things (IoT) functionality.
Payments and banking services app Zeux teamed with us to create a system that will allow users to use MIOTA tokens as payment with merchants that accept Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
We announced a partnership with Liverpool-based co-foundery, Nova, working to increase the number of successful startups utilizing the next generation of Distributed Ledger Technology. The programme enables aspiring tech entrepreneurs, through funding and mentorship, to develop innovative new business models using IOTA technology.
Crypto Storage AG collaborated with us to introduce the first multi-signature storage solution available for the storage of high volumes of IOTA tokens worldwide. This storage solution was designed to meet the needs of financial intermediaries as well as significant partners across a variety of industries working on concepts that use IOTA. This collaboration enables private and public investors, as well as institutional investors and beneficiaries, to securely manage access to their IOTA tokens.
We signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in experimentation with the Tangle in the IoT and energy market domains. We are exploring and testing the possible use of our technology in creating new products and services in the energy system centered on using IoT devices to accelerate the green energy transition.
IOTA was there when the Powerhouse building in Trondheim, the world’s northernmost energy-positive building, officially opened in Norway’s third-largest and most innovative city. In collaboration with ENTRA, the building owners, and many tenants, including Sopra Steria, we demonstrated a Proof of Concept (PoC) developed with Jaguar Land Rover and ENGIE Lab CRIGEN, the corporate center for Research & Development for the major French energy operator, ENGIE Group.
ElaadNL, the smart charging infrastructure lab founded by Dutch grid operators, devised a Proof of Concept (PoC) that demonstrates how smart grids can autonomously balance energy consumption using our technology. The PoC, created at the ElaadNL test lab, shares data securely via the Tangle and lets the charging devices themselves decide if they want to help balance the grid load or not.
We have been working together with EDAG on mobility topics such as smart parking for some time. This year another chapter of collaboration began: In the autonomous modular CityBot vehicle concept, our technology is used for secure communications and payments, which enables new digital business models for CityBot owners.
SOCIAL IMPACT AND GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS
As a non-profit foundation focused on the positive social impact our technology can have, we want to support the sustainable transformation of our society. We started our participation in EIT Climate KIC´s Deep Demonstration on Long Termism alongside an interdisciplinary group of exciting organizations such as the Technical University of Zurich (ETH), Darkmatter Labs, Luvent Consulting, and the Finland Futures Research Center at the University of Turku among others.
In order to ensure food transparency and consumer safety, we partnered with Primority to collaborate on an easy-to-use and innovative approach combining the best of cutting-edge technologies so that consumers can gain full insights about the allergens they seek to avoid by the simple act of scanning a barcode on just one app on their phone.
ALYX, EVRYTHNG, Avery Dennison, and IOTA partnered to deliver the collaboration needed to drive supply chain transparency forward. We delivered one of the key features required for secure and trustworthy end-to-end provenance solution: data integrity to ensure that information at no time can be compromised.
We engaged with a large number of stakeholders and discussed a variety of problems that our technology could help solve. We have identified Minimum Viable Ecosystems of actors, and engaged in piloting activities, starting with small Proof of Concepts, all part of a bigger effort aiming to revolutionize the trade community and bring trade processes into the 21st Century.
Future Farm engaged with us to set up a demo model that can illustrate to all members of the alliance how distributed ledger technologies work and how it can enable collaboration. We built a system that organizes and tracks all input into a grass field and carries that data forward with the digital twins of the round bales.
For the second time in history, our entire team gathered for the annual IOTA Summer Summit, on the beautiful coast of the Baltic Sea. Since the last IOTA Summer Summit, the organization has grown tremendously, and now numbers 110+ people, located in 28 countries, made for an eventful week. The main theme of the workshops was to agree on the main strategy for the following year, within and across teams, particularly in relation to Coordicide and technology adoption.
We announced its support of LEDGER, a European Commission-funded project, designed to encourage people working on decentralized technologies.
Chronicle is our official permanode solution. It makes it easy for node owners to store all IOTA transactions in a fast, secure, scalable, and distributed database. Chronicle is used to store the unbounded data flow of the Tangle and make it queryable. In other words, a permanode enables indefinite storage of the Tangle’s entire history and makes that data easily accessible at scale.
We built four new features to make it even easier to integrate IOTA into your exchange, custody solution, or product — our development team was able to integrate into a test exchange in less than 3 hours!
We proposed a new standard that will enable IOTA-based applications to be built around geographic regions. IACs are short, tryte-encoded, location codes that can be used to tag and retrieve IOTA transactions related to specific locations.
We released the first version of the documentation portal with a new user interface to make learning about and building on top of IOTA a much better experience.
We finished implementing local snapshots, a feature that allows you to run your node without storing the full transaction history. This means faster synchronization, lower system resource requirements, and no more waiting for global snapshots to prune the database.
We introduced a slightly different approach in Qubic in the spring: the Qubic Computation Model (QCM), to create a more energy-efficient and resilient model for the machine-to-machine economy.
A simple explanation (ELI9=explain like I am 9) of Azimuth (also known as NB-PoW) — A different approach to proof of work that we are working on as part of our long-term vision for IOTA.
20/20 vision for 2020
2020 is poised to be the year where IOTA’s core innovation — Tangle — proves itself in all its glory. The theory has been worked out over the past years and finally been nailed down through project “Coordicide”. It is well underway in terms of being implemented in safe stages leading up to a public release (See the roadmap for ETAs).
Our stance is that it is high time that DLT as an industry and movement delivers on its audacious promises. By this point, everyone, including the most ardent Bitcoin maximalists (and other experimental Alpha/Beta DLT proponents), acknowledges the limitations of regular blockchain technology. While virtually all projects aim for ad hoc addendum “second layer” solutions in a desperate attempt to patch the fundamental level-1 flaws of the protocol, IOTA insist on truly solving the core issue on the fundamental level. We have the theory fleshed out, 2020 is when it is put into practice.
In the past 1–2 years we have also set out a strategy to fast track standardization of the Tangle in response to the demand of the industry. We are currently collaborating with several open-source organizations as well as standardization bodies to ensure that IOTA can be standardized and subsequently adopted by the industry at large with as little effort as possible.
IOTA’s real-world demand keeps increasing, so does the demand for financial gateways and infrastructure. This is another focus point for early 2020.
As we turn the page and start to pen this new decade together, we want to invite everyone who is new to the ecosystem to join us as we embark on the most exciting chapter of the IOTA saga yet!