In a digital world that is rapidly encroaching upon every facet of our lives, the pursuit of true digital autonomy becomes not just a desire but a necessity.
As we navigate the vast digital landscape, we find ourselves longing for trust, autonomy, and genuine equality.
The current state of the internet, often referred to as Web2, offers convenience but falls short of delivering these fundamental values.
It lacks the capacity to ensure that individuals are who they claim to be, and its centralized nature places the power to grant access and participation in the hands of corporate and political entities.
This leaves us exposed to manipulation, exclusion, and the unrelenting extraction of value, primarily in the form of our personal data.
The Evolution of DLTs: Pioneering Web3’s Immutability and Smart Contracts
The question then arises: Can a network that is truly accepted, trusted, and used by everyone be established by profit-driven organizations or state actors?
The answer, it seems, lies in the world of distributed ledger technology (DLT).
DLTs, when adhering to their core principles, offer impartiality, incorruptibility, and an unstoppable nature that can provide the foundation for the digital autonomy we seek.
In this era of constant technological evolution, DLTs have come a long way since the advent of Bitcoin.
Originally designed for peer-to-peer monetary transactions, they have evolved to encompass the secure exchange of various forms of data.
This evolution has given rise to smart contracts, which can be securely and transparently stored and executed on a DLT.
Two pivotal elements, immutability, and smart contracts, form the heart of Web3.
With Web3, actions, and logic can be based on immutable and trustworthy information, ushering in a new era where individuals can exert full control without relying on intermediaries.
It enables the transition from siloed Web2 applications to interoperable decentralized applications, allowing the exchange of both data and value within the same digital ecosystem.
As Web3 gains momentum, it poses a formidable challenge to the dominant extractive model of Web2.
The centralized service providers, which once held sway over our data and resources, are beginning to see their grip loosen as we embrace a more equitable and interoperable system.
The IOTA Foundation, an organization dedicated to the advancement of DLT technology, envisions a future built upon a public, openly accessible, and interoperable DLT network.
In this world, individuals are empowered to shape their destinies while retaining control over their data and assets—a vision aptly named “Digital Autonomy for Everyone.”
At the forefront of this transformative journey is the IOTA 2.0 protocol.
Its impending arrival signifies the removal of the Coordinator, a long-awaited step toward true decentralization.
This move sets the stage for a network characterized by balanced incentives and a level playing field for all participants.
Web2 and Its Limitations
Web2, the current incarnation of the internet, has undeniably revolutionized the way we live and interact.
It has torn down physical barriers, bridged geographical divides, and transformed the world into a global village.
However, amidst its convenience, Web2 leaves crucial elements lacking—elements that are fundamental to the realization of digital autonomy.
Trust is the bedrock upon which any digital ecosystem must be built.
In the world of Web2, trust is a scarce commodity.
The centralized nature of platforms and applications means that users must place their trust in the hands of a few powerful entities.
These entities have the authority to control, manipulate, or even revoke access, leaving users vulnerable to decisions that may not align with their interests.
True autonomy in the digital world remains an elusive dream under the Web2 paradigm.
Users are bound by the rules and regulations imposed by centralized platforms.
They lack control over their own data, which is often harvested and monetized without their consent. Autonomy implies the ability to make decisions and shapes one’s digital experience, and this is a liberty rarely enjoyed in the current landscape.
Web2 perpetuates a digital divide.
It dictates who can access and participate in the digital world, based on criteria set by centralized entities.
This unequal distribution of digital resources leads to exclusion and limits the potential for genuine equality in the digital sphere.
4. Predatory Value Extraction:
Perhaps the most glaring issue with Web2 is the extraction of value, primarily in the form of personal data, by centralized service providers.
Users unwittingly become commodities, and their information is harvested and leveraged for profit.
This predatory practice erodes the notion of a fair and equitable digital landscape.
In essence, Web2 falls short of providing the foundations necessary for a digital world that truly serves the interests and desires of its users.
It becomes apparent that the establishment of a global, trusted, and universally accessible network can only be achieved by entities free from profit-driven motives—a role perfectly suited for distributed ledger technology.
The Rise of Web3: Embracing Digital Autonomy
The evolution of DLTs since the early days of Bitcoin has been nothing short of remarkable.
Originally conceived as a means of peer-to-peer value transfer, DLTs have expanded their scope to include the secure exchange of diverse forms of data.
This expansion has given birth to smart contracts, which enable the secure and transparent execution of predefined actions on a DLT.
Two fundamental elements lie at the heart of Web3, marking its departure from the limitations of Web2:
Web3 is built on the principle of immutability.
Information stored on a DLT is tamper-proof and cannot be altered once recorded.
This immutability serves as the cornerstone of trust in the digital world.
It ensures that data remains reliable and free from manipulation, granting users a level of confidence that was previously unattainable.
2. Smart Contracts:
Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code.
They operate on the “if-then” logic, automating tasks when predefined conditions are met.
Smart contracts are securely stored on a DLT, making them transparent and accessible to all relevant parties.
This innovation reduces the need for intermediaries, placing greater control in the hands of users.
With Web3, individuals can build their digital experiences on a foundation of trust, transparency, and autonomy.
Here’s how Web3 transforms the digital landscape:
1. Decentralized Applications:
Web3 introduces interoperable decentralized applications (DApps).
These applications are not bound by the constraints of centralized platforms and can interact seamlessly with one another.
Users can replace their siloed Web2 applications with DApps, creating a more cohesive and user-centric digital ecosystem.
2. Value Exchange:
In Web3, the exchange of data and value occurs within the same medium—a DLT.
This convergence of data and value exchange unlocks unprecedented possibilities.
It allows for the seamless transfer of assets and information, creating a powerful synergy that was previously unattainable in the history of digitization.
Web3, with its emphasis on trust and autonomy, emerges as a potent challenger to the prevailing extractive model of Web2.
The stranglehold that centralized service providers once had on user data and resources begins to weaken as Web3 gains traction.
The stage is set for a more equitable and interoperable digital landscape.
IOTA 2.0: Pioneering Digital Autonomy
The IOTA Foundation stands at the forefront of the movement towards digital autonomy for all.
Their vision revolves around the establishment of a public, openly accessible, and interoperable DLT network—a world where true autonomy, transparency, and safety prevail.
This vision is encapsulated in the concept of “Digital Autonomy for Everyone.”
At the heart of this transformative journey is the IOTA 2.0 protocol.
It represents a significant leap forward in the evolution of distributed ledger technology.
IOTA’s innovative approach is rooted in the Tangle, a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) architecture where blocks are interconnected in a non-linear manner, confirming each other.
This stands in stark contrast to conventional blockchains that rely on miners and transaction fees.
IOTA 2.0 is characterized by a set of unique value propositions that distinguish it from other DLTs and pave the way for true digital autonomy:
Innovative Accounts System
One of the most immediate ways IOTA 2.0 empowers digital autonomy is through its innovative accounts system.
Your IOTA tokens are held within your account, and this account generates Mana—a critical resource that grants access to the system.
Your account serves as a digital haven for your assets, digital identities, and the development of applications and smart contracts.
Notably, these accounts are decentralized and free from control or registration by the IOTA Foundation or any other party.
Thanks to the IOTA Identity Framework, these accounts also serve as digital identities, embodying principles of accessibility, transparency, persistence, self-control, portability, and interoperability.
Fearlessness for Token Holders
IOTA 2.0 introduces a groundbreaking concept: fearlessness for token holders.
Instead of paying fees from your IOTA tokens, users generate Mana by simply owning tokens.
This Mana secures a share of the network’s capacity, eliminating the need for traditional transaction fees.
Moreover, issuing blocks on the network does not incur a fee that diminishes your token share.
This approach prioritizes network utility and safeguards the value of the IOTA token, preventing third-party validators from extracting value through fees without actively participating in the network.
Sustainable Utility-Based Tokenomics and Incentives
IOTA 2.0’s tokenomics is founded on principles of fairness and equality.
It treats all participants equally, erasing the distinction between users and block producers.
With a fixed supply of IOTA tokens, holding these tokens generates the Mana utility resource.
This approach diverges from other DLTs, avoiding dilution and inflation.
It prevents the compounding effect that typically benefits the already affluent, ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources.
Collaborative, Asynchronous Nakamoto-Based Consensus
In IOTA 2.0, nodes have the ability to add blocks they learn about from their local copy of the Tangle.
This innovation enables real-time consensus without the need for periodic blocks, a feature common in traditional blockchains.
This decentralized consensus process ensures that no single entity gains excessive control, eliminating the risk of censorship or manipulation.
Decisions made at the local level are disseminated to all other nodes, ensuring that all participants eventually have a comprehensive view of all ledger changes.
Reality-Based Conflict Resolution
IOTA 2.0 introduces a unique approach to conflict resolution, ensuring continuous block processing even during conflicts such as attempted double-spends.
When a conflict arises, a node creates a local copy and tracks multiple potential versions of the truth.
Transactions unrelated to the conflict remain unaffected, and the “useless” copy is discarded once the true version is determined.
This mechanism preserves ledger integrity throughout conflicts, ensuring uninterrupted operations for all undisputed transactions.
Conclusion & The Path Ahead
After years of rigorous testing and iterative development, the fully decentralized IOTA 2.0 network is poised to become the most advanced implementation of a feeless distributed ledger based on a DAG.
This groundbreaking protocol marks a pivotal moment in the journey towards digital autonomy for all.
In the next installment of this series, scheduled for publication on October 3rd, we will delve into the five core principles that underpin the IOTA 2.0 distributed ledger.
We will explore why IOTA 2.0 was built and its overarching purpose.
From the underlying DAG structure to the node networking layer and Tangle 2.0’s consensus mechanism, we will dissect the architecture of the protocol.
Throughout this journey, we will keep you, the user, at the forefront of our discussions, highlighting what sets IOTA 2.0 apart from other DLTs.
The future of digital autonomy is within reach, and IOTA 2.0 is leading the way.
As we continue to explore its intricacies and potential, we invite you to join us on this transformative path toward a world where everyone can truly embrace the concept of “Digital Autonomy for Everyone.