IOST 101 – “as the secure, scalable blockchain that actually works”
In spite of making continuous headlines for the past couple of years, the cryptocurrency market still needs to work on the underlying blockchain technology. More than a hundred blockchains have been launched in the past year with varying strategies to facilitate everything from digital communities to digital currencies but this cannot be achieved until the underlying technology develops to its fullest potential.
This is exactly what the new coin, IOST aims to do. The Internet of Services Token (IOST), as quoted on their website, offers a solid infrastructure for online service providers. It has been advertised as the secure, scalable blockchain that actually works.
In peculiarity, the IOS is targeting at improving the scalability and high transaction throughput of the blockchain.
What does the platform promise?
The IOS promises up to 100,000 transactions per second by employing its innovative sharding architecture and consensus mechanism.
According to the team, the IOS is a next-generation blockchain technology providing the network infrastructure that can support a service-oriented ecosystem. The platform will provide its users a completely decentralised way to exchange online services and digital good while enabling developers to deploy large-scale dApps capable of supporting a massive number of users.
How will it work?
The idea behind the token is to create a digital ecosystem based on the Internet of Services which will be hosted on Ethereum blockchain within a decentralised platform aimed at selling, trading, and promoting the market of digital goods and services.
Smart contracts will be employed to facilitate purchasing of services.
- Efficient Distributed Sharding (EDS): The EDS is a rather innovative sharding technique developed by the IOS team which will make the shards sufficiently large and strongly bias-resistant. The EDS was developed by the team based on the basic sharding mechanism and works to enable efficient parallel processing to increase the throughput of the system irrespective of the size of the system and the transactions.
To ensure the homogeneous division of the network, the team has developed a Bias-Resistant Distributed Randomness Protocol to introduce transparency and fairness in the sharding process.
- TransEpoch: The mechanism allowing for inter-shard transactions. This mechanism is central in the system because it is highly likely that transactions will happen cross shards.
- Atomix: To ensure atomicity across shards, the Atmoix protocol has been introduced. This will work to prevent double spending and keep the consistency of transactions.
- Proof-of-Believability: a consensus protocol with a Believable-First approach that guarantees the security of the system while maximising the transaction throughput.
Within this system, a node will be validated based on its past contributions and behaviours. By the use of this token, the IOS platform is trying to improve the blockchain’s capability to meet the ever-increasing services demand.
The protocol will divide all validators (see explanation below) into groups of the believable league and the normal league. The former will process transactions quickly in the first phase followed by the latter sampling and verifying the transactions in the second phase.
- Micro State Block (MSB): this mechanism will work to minimize the storage and bootstrap costs for validators.
The IOS Token
The platform’s native token IOST will serve to facilitate exchanges within the system. The token will also play a pivotal role in calculating the believability of a user. The token will be used for:
- Payment: for goods and services provided by merchants or other users.
- Commission: every validator will be paid a compensation for running the smart contracts, computing power, processing messages and transactions etc.
- Believability: the token will be used to calculate a user’s believability score.
How is the consensus mechanism of IOS different from the previous mechanisms?
To mitigate the risk of centralisation, as has been witnessed in the previous PoS consensus mechanisms, the IOS team introduces Servi as both i) a measurement of users’ contribution to the community and ii) a way to encourage members to contribute to the development of the platform.
The characteristics of Servi include:
- Non-tradability: Servi is not a medium of exchange and therefore cannot be traded or exchanged.
- Self-issuance: Servi will be automatically generated and issued to the account of the users after certain contributions have been made.
- Self-destructive: the Servi balance of a validator will automatically be cleared after a block has been validated. This will ensure a fair block generation process by enabling nodes with high believability scores to take turns invalidating blocks.
The Bottom Line
The IOS is aiming to create a new blockchain with Storage and dApps with a new concept of believability, which, at least from the surface level, appears to be better than the PoS/PoW. The team is a union of strong cryptocurrency players including the co-founder of CodeAcademy, Ryan Bubinski, sitting on their advisory council.
The IOS brings a compelling platform to the table with scalability and capability as the foremost discussion points. If implemented successfully it can serve as a model for a broader blockchain implementation.
Instead of an ICO, the IOS platform held a private token sale which, according to the disclaimer on their website, was only made available to institutional investors outside of China, Korea, and USA.
Temporarily, the IOST is an ERC20 token and a part of Ethereum blockchain. The token is available for purchase on major crypto exchanges Huobi and Binance. In the beginning of February, it was made available on KuCoin too.