Blockchain, HODL, Tangle, whale, bull run, FUD…if you have ever dabbled in cryptocurrency, you might have heard these words, but you might have no clue what they mean.
With the exciting new world of the Disruptive Ledger Technologies, comes a language full of previously unheard terms, as well as unknown concepts.
Every day, new cryptocurrencies are being launched and new types of technology are breaking onto the scene.
One of this technologies is Tangle – a blockless DLT that s responsible for one of the most successful crypto-coins, IOTA.
But what exactly is Tangle? How does it relate to cryptocurrency? Let us delve into this mysterious world and get to the bottom of this new concept as well as 5 real-life uses of Tangle technology.
What Is Tangle Technology?
So, first things first, the chances are that you have probably heard of a little old thing called the blockchain. Now the blockchain is great, but it does have a few issues.
These issues include the fact that it is not scalable and as the number of people and the number of transactions that use it increase its speed will slow down, and the fee for facilitating a transaction on it will go up. This is not great new.
So, in a response to this, developers have jumped to create a scalable alternative to the blockchain that will circumnavigate the teething issues that it has.
One of these alternatives is the Tangle.
Now, this is where it gets a little techy – the Tangle is a form of something known as a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) and it works as more of a “block-braid” than a “block-chain”.
It is lightweight, scalable, cheaper, and faster than the rather clunky blockchain, but it still allows the secure, peer-to-peer transfer of information.
Now, IOTA is the cryptocurrency that works on the Tangle network and its aim is to generate a series of the Internet of Things based applications, as well as providing a more versatile and flexible alternative to blockchain.
It also makes it possible to transfer value without expecting or requiring anything in return, unlike miners in the blockchain.
In simple terms, the Tangle is to IOTA, what blockchain is to Bitcoin.
It is merely an alternative way of processing transactions, but if you need more detailed and technical information, you should read our guide to How Does IOTA’s Tangle Work.
How Can Tangle Be Used?
There are many ways in which Tangle technology can be utilised for use in everyday situations.
Much in the same way as blockchain, it is a highly versatile bit of kit and its features can be adapted for a range of uses.
Here are just five of them.
Tangle makes microtransactions possible. Bitcoin is becoming increasingly expensive to make transactions with and if you are just making a small one, it can outweigh the benefits.
This is not an issue with Tangle as its system is highly adaptable and scalable so even the smallest transactions are cheap and quick.
It allows vendors to charge for alternative services. If I was to pay 10 IOTA for a service, that would be worth pretty much nothing to me as a vendor.
If, however, 1000 people paid 10 IOTA for a service, that would be worth something.
With IOTA allowing microtransactions over the Tangle network, it means that services can be charged a minimal amount, meaning the customers pay almost zero and don’t have to pay excessive transaction fees.
With Tangle, vendors can charge for the actual worth of a product, instead of having to make the cost up elsewhere.
The Tangle network would also very much suit facilitating bank to bank transfers.
Due to the fact, it is instant as well as a low cost means it would avoid the issues of expensive transfers that take several working days.
Store of Value
Currencies running on Tangle are good for storing value.
Take IOTA, for example, it is great for storing value as it is deflationary in nature.
It can automate buying and selling between devices that are connected to the IoT.
An example being; Tesla is building roof tiles that also double as solar tiles. Their energy is then stored inside Tesla home batteries.
A neighbourhood of these could then trade and exchange the stored electricity on an automatic basis, using IOTA as the currency.
Internet Of Things – The Most Important Applications of Tangle
When we talk about Tangle, we have to mention the Internet of Things.
Otherwise known as the IoT, it refers to a digital network of physical devices, cars and vehicles, home appliances, and other items that are embedded with the software and electronics to support connectivity and communication.
This network allows them to communicate with each other, as well as to connect and exchange data.
Each particular object is uniquely identifiable via its individual, embedded computing system, but it is also able to operate within the internet infrastructure.
In layman’s terms, think of your Apple TV that connects to a smart TV, and your iPhone. Think of your sound system which is linked to your tablet, or an app you have that controls your lights, your doorbell, and your home alarm.
These are all linked by the IoT and are all devices and systems that could work better with Tangle, and IOTA.
Conservative estimates state that the IoT will consist of around 30 billion objects in two years’ time and that the market value will surpass $71 trillion.
But where does IOTA and Tangle come in?
The idea is that Tangle will facilitate machine to machine transactions which will use IOTA as the means of currency.
It aims to utilise directed acyclic graphs as opposed to a blockchain, and it will facilitate zero-fee transactions, offline transactions and of course, unlimited scalability.
Which Cryptocurrencies Use Tangle?
There are a couple of cryptocurrencies that are utilising the Tangle network. Here is a little bit about them.
IOTA is an open sourced cryptocurrency that was founded back in 2015 by a developer called Anders Sonstebo and another associate called Serguei Popov.
It is also known as an altcoin, a digital currency, or a virtual currency, but it has also been called a mothercoin by some analysts due to its particular technical design and the workings of its core mechanisms.
It runs on the Tangle network and as we have already mentioned, it allows free transactions on its decentralised network and has no requirement for miners, blocks, or chains.
It takes its name from a play on the abbreviation for The Internet of Things or IoT and this is because it aims for a future where small things can communicate with each other as well as facilitate the transfer of monetary value and information.
A new currency on the market, the Oyster Pearl is an ERC20 token that uses the concept of Ethereums smart contracts as well as Tangle.
The idea behind it is that it will primarily be used as a decentralised storage ledger.
It is a unique currency in the way that it seeks to tackle two problems – burdensome advertisements and reliable decentralised data storage. The idea is that websites will have the ability to include a line of code in their web page which will utilise spare CPU and GPU space for their visitors.
The plan is that web page owners will no longer have to rely on placing adverts on their sites to generate revenue.
Otherwise known as XBY, some say that this new cryptocurrency could be heading for great things by the end of 2018.
According to its website, XTRABYTES is a modular blockchain platform designed to provide significant increases in security, scalability and decentralised opportunities.
Using a newly created algorithm as well as a consensus method and Proof of Signature, it offers a platform which decentralised applications and developers can create services that seek to change the future of the technology.
IOTA vs Bitcoin
When it comes to comparing IOTA with Bitcoin, the differences are plain to see.
Whilst IOTA may not have reached the immense popularity of Bitcoin, and most definitely not the same value, that doesn’t mean that it will not be the next big thing. There are many within the community that believe that IOTA could soon replace Bitcoin completely.
First of all, as I have already explained, IOTA and Tangle offer transactions with no associated fees or costs. This is a huge benefit because Bitcoin charges for each transaction as well as charging more money, should you want a quicker transaction.
Why would you pay when you can essentially do the same thing for free?
Secondly, IOTA is scalable and there is no risk of it crashing under the immense pressure of multiple transactions or users wanting to make transactions on the Tangle network.
Bitcoin and the blockchain are just not able to process millions of transactions and this is where a big problem lies. If you create something that you want people to use, you need to make sure it can support people actually using it.
The blockchain network is already congested, and should it become more widespread this problem will only increase.
This is why it is possible that IOTA could replace Bitcoin. From its ability to process microtransactions, to it being completely free to use, and quick, it seems like it has the features needed to succeed.
The jury is out on whether Bitcoin will increase in value or crash completely during 2018, but Tangle enthusiasts will be watching closely.
The Future Of Tangle
In November there was a rumour that IOTA and Microsoft had struck a deal to create a partnership. This caused the value of IOTA to rise to above $5 but this number has fluctuated in the months since.
With such a focus on IoT, it does seem however that IOTA and Tangle are here to stay.
The team behind developing it are trying to capitalise on the upcoming boom in the number of devices that are going to be on the market in the next couple of years.
Devices such as smart watches and interconnected home devices mean that this number could approach 50 billion in the next 5 years which would mean spectacular things for IOTA and for Tangle.
An increase in smart devices would lead to a big increase in the number of micro-transactions that would take place at any moment.
As more business make the leap towards offering more and more services, costs will be pushed lower and the need for microtransactions will increase and Tangle will come into its own.
What really sets apart Tangle is the fact that it does not cost.
Feeless payments mean more microtransactions- after all, who is going to pay for a latte with a Bitcoin if the transfer fee is 100 times more than the cost of the drink?
The answer is no one, and this is why Tangle technology and the IOTA will play a huge part in the development of cryptocurrencies, and particularly their integration into our everyday lives.
IOTA is already being used in several ways which include charging for the parking of and charging of electric cars. This alone has raised over $10 billion.
There are also big players in the corporate world that have realised its value such as Amazon, Tesla, and of course Microsoft, and this level of interest from such key players can only be a good sign.
The future of Tangle and IOTA is difficult to pinpoint but it does seem that its popularity is only going to increase as more and more people and companies realise its full potential.
With its value still low, now after giving you 5 real-life uses of Tangle Technology would be a good time to consider diversifying your portfolio, and with any luck, you could be a part of something pretty big.
If you’re interested in investing in IOTA, read our guide on How To Buy IOTA.