It’s still a new coin, so most exchanges don’t yet offer it. There are indications that this is likely to change in the future.
Currently, you can find IOTA at the following exchanges.
How to buy IOTA
You might see IOTA referred to in various ways, such as Mi, Ki, MIOTA, KIOTA and others. These simply refer to different amounts of IOTA.
The most common unit of trade on exchanges is MIOTA.
IOTA - A single IOTA
Ki, KIOTA - One thousand IOTA
Mi, MIOTA - One million IOTA
Gi, GIOTA - One thousand MIOTA
Ti, TIOTA - One thousand GIOTA
Pi, PIOTA - One thousand TIOTA
If you are considering purchasing units, you will also need an IOTA wallet. You can leave your IOTA on the exchange for some time, but it’s probably a good idea to withdraw it to your own secure wallet when possible.
IOTA wallets are slightly different compared with most wallets. The tangle brings some additional challenges, and even the easiest IOTA wallets to use still require more set-up steps than others.
Both are what they sound like. A blockchain is like a chain of blocks, while the tangle is more like a web.
The problem with blockchains
Transactions on a blockchain are built in a chain and transacted as they come. In most cases these transactions are processed by miners who lend their computing power to the blockchain and get rewarded with the blockchain’s cryptocurrency for doing so.
This reward is partly from newly released coins, but mostly from transaction fees.
The blocks with the highest transaction fees get processed first because they’re the most valuable to miners. And if there are more transactions waiting than can currently be processed, they’re put in a backlog.
As such, when a blockchain gets busier and more popular, transactions on it get slower and more expensive. This can be seen to varying degrees in many popular blockchain-based cryptocurrencies.
This is known as the “scaling problem” because it might put a hard limit on how big and valuable a cryptocurrency can get before it becomes so slow and expensive that it’s not worth using.
Many people believe that the only way a cryptocurrency can truly become a useful global currency is by solving the scaling problem.
Tangle doesn’t use miners, and it doesn’t use a blockchain. Instead, it uses a “directed acyclic graph” system. This is basically a fancy way of calling it a web.
Each device on the tangle (such as a PC, a phone or anything else connected to the network) will be able to make and process its own transactions. To make a transaction, a device needs to process two other transactions on the tangle.
It does this with easy proof-of-work algorithms.
The idea is that almost any device with a computer chip has a lot of processing power, and that it’s mostly going to waste.
By putting that power to work and having every transaction verify and process two other transactions, tangle aims to solve the scaling problem.
IOTA has set the ambitious goal of leapfrogging blockchain technology with a significantly better system. Plus, it won’t be minting any new coins. As it’s more widely adopted, the typically traded amounts might turn from MIOTA to KIOTA to IOTA.
It’s also worth considering that the potential applications of a successful tangle network are almost infinite.
The following are some of the applications floated by various organisations:
Leasing anything in real time. If it can be powered and fitted with a computer chip, it can run on the network.
Sharing processing power. Seamlessly sharing processing power between computers, phones and other devices.
Permanently solving car problems. By giving new cars a digital twin on the tangle network, vehicles can be tracked in detail in every way. Car theft, odometer tampering, failing to disclose previous accidents and more would potentially be a thing of the past.
Locating and reuniting people. IOTA has already partnered with the non-profit organisation Refunite, testing its fee-free distributed ledger system with the organisation’s missing person database.
E governance. It could be a secure, low-cost and tamper-proof way for populations to vote and participate in government.
Communication. It presents a more secure and cost-effective way of communicating through phones, computers and anything else.
With almost limitless applications and ambitious technology that is rapidly improving, many people think that IOTA might be the way of the future.
However, it’s hard to predict the future role of the coin in the tangle network. It’s been described as an instrument to help machines speak with each other, rather than an investment to pass between human hands. Its uniqueness makes it hard to predict what IOTA “should” be valued at and how well it will store value in the long run.
It’s also worth considering the possibility of other tokens operating on the IOTA tangle network. The network itself might be the main attraction. The IOTA token, which isn’t necessarily meant for human hands, might end up being one of the least valuable coins on it.
Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly
volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of
future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information.
You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory
requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may
have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.
Andrew Munro is the global cryptocurrency editor at Finder. After previously writing about insurance and other areas, he now covers the latest developments in digital assets and blockchain and works on Finder's comprehensive range of guides to help people understand cryptocurrency.
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