There aren’t a lot of cryptocurrencies backed by multi-billion-dollar tech giants. Sure, Stellar has IBM, and Ripple has its banking partners, but there aren’t many non-block companies betting on crypto in the way Bosch is supporting IOTA.
Despite the hurdles and pitfalls,the Internet of Things cryptocurrency continues to receive regular shoutouts from one of the biggest names in technology. Bosch Connectivity, the IoT arm of the multi-billion dollar tech giant, namechecked IOTA again in its latest blog post and introduced what is hoped to become the latest IoT device.
Using a variety of open-source software protocols, the company says that the Bosch XDK (Cross Domain Development Kit) will allow smart devices to collect and share encrypted data in exchange for the IOTA tokens. In order to put the device in the reach of the average programmer, the company has also announced XDK2MAM: an open-source set of software tools that (might) make the XDK as versatile as a Raspberry Pi.
“The IOTA Marketplace is a decentralized data marketplace that aims to make data available to any compensating party,” the company says to the post. “Currently, data is mostly limited to the control of a few entities and not available for the broad masses. Therefore, not everyone can develop new use cases or business areas.”
Those limitations cause high barriers on the data economy. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, IOTA is designed for machine rather than human use, relying on micro-devices like the XDK.
For possible use-cases of the XDK in action, Bosch has a few ideas:
- A company decides to rent out their machines and measures the exact amount of time a customer used the machine and bills them accordingly with IOTA
- The XDK confirms that a machine is operating under proper conditions and sets up these data transactions on the Tangle, for both the operator and supplier to see.
- The XDK is used for an audit trail in a similar concept. If data must be transported under specific conditions, the XDK can monitor this and the IOTA Tangle creates a paperless record for all parties to follow.
IoT data trading has already seen some prototype applications—like the early demo of a car whose insurance conditions change as it is driven, or the partnership with VW for an on-Tangle Volkswagen.
But even Bosch might not be able to rescue IOTA from its troubles. It’s a notoriously difficult cryptocurrency to use; each new trade requires a fresh address, and the developers have made some design choices that have raised more than a few eyebrows.
The decision to base IOTA’s encryption on a home-brewed hashing algorithm—and the negative fallout from the ensuing media storm—brought IOTA from a $14bn dollar valuation last December to its present price, at somewhat over $1bn.
While Bosch’s commitment to the economy of things remains undiminished, it remains to be seen if the rest of the market will share the enthusiasm.
The author is not invested in IOTA, but owns other digital assets.