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IOTA Takes Step Towards Decentralized Network

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 4 min read

IOTA (MIOTA) has announced the release of Pollen, the first phase towards IOTA 2.0, its decentralized network that is expected to arrive in the first half of the next year.

Source: Adobe/prima91

IOTA is continuing its path towards the so-called ‘Coordicide‘ – the death (that is, the removal) of the Coordinator, which is a node run by the IOTA Foundation for network protection and transaction confirmation. The goal of this act is to make the network decentralized.

In order to “solve blockchain’s biggest issues with scalability and decentralization,” as the Foundation said in their announcement, they are launching the first testnet of the decentralized network. It is a new protocol called Pollen.

Pollen’s goal is to enable the community, researchers and developers to “test and validate the concepts of IOTA 2.0, which will serve as IOTA’s Coordinator-free network,” the press release said. People can now test and work independently on the components such as rate-limiting, Mana (reputation-based system), and Fast Probabilistic Consensus (new consensus algorithm that doesn’t need the centralized Coordinator).

“IOTA has spent the last year researching a solution that will ultimately replace its current network in the first half of 2021,” they said.

Whether the Coordinator will indeed be killed in the first months of 2021 is “always hard to say,” Dan Simerman, Head of Financial Relations at the IOTA Foundation, told “Right now IOTA’s actually ahead of schedule, so it’s very well possible it could be sooner. But, IOTA always like to be safe and ensure things are at their best.”

IOTA 2.0 components should be rolled out in three phases:

  • Pollen – introduces feature updates and a new architecture as the basis for coming features.
  • Nectar – the remaining components will be released onto the IOTA 2.0 incentivized test network, and rewards will be distributed to node operators/attackers to test the resilience of the protocol; IOTA will work on finalizing the node software until it is ready to be an official release candidate for the mainnet.
  • Honey – the official release of IOTA 2.0, the first fully decentralized version of IOTA on the mainnet, and the production-ready version of the protocol.

Pollen introduces a new architecture made up of three layers: application, communication layer, and network layers. Together, these will support the features that will be rolled out in upcoming releases, including tokenization, scalable smart contracts, feeless decentralized applications (dapps), and sharding.

The features introduced in this phase include the above-mentioned Fast Probabilistic Consensus, tokenization, value transactions that enable developers and node operators to send test network tokens and test conflict resolution on the network, as well as the building blocks for the development of feeless dapps.

As for the other features, Simerman told that:

  • Nectar introduces all components of IOTA 2.0 (such as Mana and rate control);
  • IOTA 2.0 should launch with a version of smart contracts on it;
  • future milestones within IOTA 2.0 after Honey should see a sharding solution within IOTA.

The IOTA community officially began the protocol upgrades that will result in IOTA 2.0 with the recently released Hornet, the latest version of its node software. Hornet brought the first Coordicide components to the main network. Before IOTA 2.0, though, this new node software leads to IOTA 1.5 (aka Chrysalis), which is a set of protocol improvements meant to increase network speed, performance, and usability.

“IOTA’s done a pretty good job keeping up with the roadmap,” Simerman said. “IOTA expects to release Nectar and IOTA 1.5 later in the year, which both come with significant upgrades that makes the IOTA network enterprise-ready and fully decentralized.”

The majority of IOTA research on the IOTA 2.0 solution is complete at this point, Simerman said. The length of time between the introduction of phases “really depends on how fast it takes to code up IOTA’s solution and conduct extensive testing between modules. With Nectar, IOTA will have a feature complete, incentivized testnet so that the world can battle test the solution in the wild. Once they feel confident they will launch Honey, the first IOTA 2.0 Mainnet.”

The IOTA Foundation found itself in trouble earlier this year when their Trinity wallet was hacked in February. At the time, the Coordinator was turned off, pausing the network for weeks, while the investigation into the incident continued, followed by a remediation plan. In March, David Sønstebø, the Co-founder of IOTA, stated that he would personally repay 46 individuals who were affected by this hacker (a sum of some USD 2 million), and the mainet went live again two days later.

In December, IOTA foresaw a “bright 2020” for itself, which was to be achieved through its action plan that included Coordicide.

Currently (13:59 UTC), MIOTA, ranked 24th by market capitalization, is trading at USD 0.21. It’s up by 4% in the past day and down by 7% in the past week. The price is also down by almost 10% in a month and 46% in a year.