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IOTA was created to provide distributed ledger technology for the internet-of-things (IoT) space where small connected devices regularly share data. Because these devices are generally specialized to be low power and perform only specific functions IOTA does not use a traditional consensus mechanism like proof-of-work or proof-of-stake nor does it use a blockchain structure. The goal of the project is to allow these devices to conduct micropayment transactions between themselves and potentially to securely transfer data. At the core of the project is what is referred to as the 'Tangle,' a directed acyclic graph (DAG) that acts as the public ledger system. The team believes that this structure will allow for feeless payments, lower compute cost, and the ability to connect to billions of devices. The efficiency of this system also grows as the number of participants increases as transactions will be processed at a faster rate. One of the project's more recent releases was a data marketplace that allows for storing and selling data streams while masking the source of the data.
IOTA relies on a DAG system to conduct transactions and exchange data. There is no network-wide consensus but instead local approvals between peers. In order to conduct a transaction on the network users must first verify two pending transactions on the network. Compared to other consensus mechanisms this can lead to faster transactions and lower compute cost for verification. Because IOTA uses a unique network structure and implemented its own custom-built cryptographic functions concerns have been raised around the security of the network.  IOTA also focuses on enabling offline transactions as part of the team's efforts to reduce the network's resource requirements relative to other blockchain protocols.
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