What is the Internet of Services Token?
IOST is an enterprise-level blockchain system in the making from the Internet of Services. The platform is focused blockchain technology that is ready for mass adoption through Blockchain as a Service. Efficient distributed sharding, a node-to-shard protocol and Proof of Believability consensus verification marks the technology apart from other blockchain platforms.
Introduction to IOST
One of the biggest problems facing blockchain technology is it seems to slow down with mass adoption, not speed up like torrents. Ethereum is a great idea, but it would crumble if processing the loads companies like Google and Amazon handle. IOST is a China-based solution to blockchain’s scalability crisis that hit the crypto news in 2018, and it stands for Internet of Services.
IOS Foundation co-founders Jimmy Zhong, Terrence Wang, Justin Li, Sa Wang, Ray Xiao, and Kelvin Tan developed IOST as an innovative new way to run dApps. Using efficient distributed sharding, a node-to-shard protocol called TransEpoch, Proof-of-Believability (PoB) verification, and micro state blocks to create what it hopes will be the blockchain enterprise users need.
Although it doesn’t have the brand recognition of Ethereum, IOST still made impressive strides in advancing crypto and blockchain technology in 2018 and 2019. In fact, by mid-April 2019, the project reported processing more transactions than Ethereum’s blockchain.
It also hopes to onboard over 20 million users in 2019 by integrating the Berm Protocol through Project Pegasus. Interoperability with Force Protocol was also announced in 2019, creating a buzz of excitement around further Olympus mainnet version upgrades.
We’ll explain a bit more about the technical aspects of the network in a minute. First, we’ll explore IOSToken and Servi, the dual-tokens used by the platform, and look at the market cap.
Breakdown of IOST Token
IOSToken has a total token supply of 21,000,000,000 IOST. Its peak price so far was $0.127085 on January 24, 2018.
The entire IOST cryptocurrency supply was distributed during an ICO token sale on January 3, 2018. Forty percent was sold, raising approximately $31.3 million worth of ETH. The remaining supply was distributed as follows:
- 35 percent was retained by the IOS Foundation,
- 12.5 percent was allocated to community building,
- 10 percent to the IOS team, and
- 2.5 percent to investors and advisers.
IOST cryptocurrency is tradeable on a wide variety of crypto exchanges, including Huobi, Binance, OKEx, Ethfinex, and Kucoin. Its most common trading pairs are Ethereum ETH, USDT, and Bitcoin BTC.
On top of IOST cryptocurrency, Servi is also generated for participation on the IOS network. Providing services, reviews, and engaging generates Servi, which can not be traded or exchanged. These soulbound tokens are reset to zero when you validate a block and act as a trust score.
Until the mainnet launch in February 2019, IOST was an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain. The token swap from ERC-20 IOSTokens to Mainnet Tokens happened throughout 2019 at a 1:1 ratio. Binance, Huobi, and other exchanges supported the token swap through exchange wallets.
Cryptocurrency wallets that support IOST include TokenPocket, Huobi, and Cobo Wallet. Trust Wallet and others are expected to join soon.
Under the Hood of an Impressive Concept
If you’re not a computer programmer, sharding is a concept in database architecture that describes how a database table is portioned for performance. By breaking each line into its own server, index size is reduced, which improves search performance.
Additionally, like a torrent, each shard contains different information. They’re basically indexed like books at the library for easy access. While it sounds simple enough, sharding is a very complex system. Distributing information across different nodes carries a lot of risk. With Ethereum, the entire blockchain is held by each network node, but IOST is doing something different.
Using micro state blocks, each shard only stores the headers of previous blocks, greatly reducing the size. It’s also proposing to differentiate which blocks are spread across which shards so every node is only processing a portion of the network.
It’s a novel idea, but it comes with risk of failure, especially when controlled by smaller network. If you’ve ever searched The Pirate Bay (and of course, you haven’t) for the latest summer blockbuster versus an old, obscure foreign film, you know you have to wait longer to download based on the file’s popularity.
While IOST’s fragmented approach intends to resolve Ethereum’s scalability issues, it may do so at the cost of stability and security. IOS partnered with Chaitin Technology in April 2018 to actively pen test the network and look for holes.
The foundation is also actively meeting with companies large and small to forge partnerships quickly through 2018. It’s serious about online service providers and providing a blockchain platform that works across the board.
Taking Share in a Crowded Market
IOST sounds like a solid project, but it’s just one of a laundry list of Ethereum competitors, like EOS and NEO. In fact, the EOS mainnet launch in June kicked off a smart contract arms race to see which platform can resolve enterprise problems first.
Scalability, security, stability, and interoperability with legacy systems are all factors that can stall a blockchain rollout. Even if a company likes the technology, if they can’t pass it through their often years-long approval process to gain buy-in across all departments, it’ll die in the water.
Each of these blockchain platforms is targeting a widespread audience, rather than aiming at niches, and this is where they’re losing out to more experienced companies. IBM, Maersk, Microsoft, and more are using existing enterprise relationships to push their blockchain solutions.
IOST isn’t just competing with the Ethereums and NEOs of the world – it’s also competing with these legacy tech companies that are already selling enterprises on their proprietary platforms, networks, and services.
Plus, there are solid niche enterprise projects like (surprisingly) Dentacoin for dentistry, OmiseGo for payments, and the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain IBM and Walmart are using to track inventory. IOST hopes to be a marketplace and will depend on the market to determine its true direction.
It’s a very solid technical project on paper, but only buy-in from major enterprises it’s meeting with like Alibaba will reveal whether IOST can live up to its promises and survive in the wild.
IOS is an ambitious project which could prove a more viable solution than Ethereum, EOS, or NEO.
Of course, it’s also competing with the hundreds of niche blockchains built almost entirely for enterprise adoption. Both legacy and startup tech companies are rushing to shove crypto in every available hole, and IOST is depending on these key factors to survive the war.
- IOS uses sharding and a Proof of Believability consensus mechanism to improve the scalability and security of blockchain 2.0 smart contract networks.
- IOS is built for enterprise use and can handle heavy loads produced by tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
- Partnerships are key to the success of IOS, as its mainnet appears to be performing as promised.
IOS has hefty ambitions, although it’s interesting that less than half the tokens are in circulation – the 40% currently available from the sale* doesn’t include the 10% to the team, the 2.5% to advisors, and 47.5% for the foundation and community building. So we will have to wait for a working product to know if it’s a scheme, dream, or the next blockchain success story.
*Edit: A Moderator on the IOST Reddit sub suggests that the accurate circulating supply is 11.03B and that CoinMarketCap’s number is inaccurate.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]