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I find myself showing people how to buy iota more often, and any wonder why? Not only is IOTA one of the most developed on projects in the crypto sphere, they have actually managed to revolutionize the DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) consensus mechanism itself.
Their new consensus algorithm only comes into effect when there are conflicting transactions. It is what you would call akin to a cluster algorithm.
A cluster algorithm is an advanced Data and Statistical algorithm (see: Computational statistics) that groups objects based on a predefined set of variables. There are Many types of cluster algorithms and one does not fit all.
A conflicting transaction is defined by any transaction that is unable to reach a consensus quickly. For example, this will make their consensus below 90% or 80%. Depending on what the predefined proverbial bar is set at.
Here's a comparison of the proof of work for Bitcoin and the IOTA GoShimmer Implementation. I'll use Bitcoin as that is what everyone likes to compare crypto projects against.
In order to keep ALL the transactions secure, BTC (Bitcoin) uses all of its Proof of Work hash power at all times for each transaction. This is not very efficient. As we have previously tested: Not as efficient as IOTA
So why does Bitcoin or any consensus need to do this? Well, the main reason is to prevent something known as double spending. A double spend is extremely rare and in the past 10 years of Bitcoin's existence has possibly never happened.
Let us imagine it is the end of the world, a zombie apocalypse if you will. You live on a small isolated island. Let's call it 'decentraland'. You have limited power and you are constantly powering a huge shield around your island to stop the possible zombies getting in. It burns a lot of energy, even though in 10 years you have not even seen or heard an intruder. Yet your shield remains active. You do however keep allowing people onto your island and extending your shield, lets call those people 'transactions'. With each 'transaction' that enters your 'decentraland' your shield uses a little more power. Now, lets call you king Satoshi as by now you have accumulated many `transactions` in your `decentraland`. Like many great kings you take on the burden of your people, The problem is, Zombies are scary, deadly and will eat you alive and as you know, are very much real. Because you are worried about loosing these transactions you keep this shield running all the time. Your island is just too vulnerable without it. Not once has it ocurred to you to use a mechanism to automatically detect and erect a shield around your island keeping it safe when needed and open when not.
IOTA's GoShimmer introduces that much needed functionality for the sake of efficiency and speed. By default the shield is turned off. The moment there is any hint of an intruder the shield goes up.
Because double spends only occur for 0.00001% of all transactions if at all, 99.99999% less energy is required.
Some of our best technological advancements have come from observing nature and imitating our technology and the GoShimmer consensus has done just that. From the humble bee.
Lets use this scenario: A single bee in a huge colony of bees needs to communicate effectively and that communication needs to be reliable. Just like out transactions on the Tangle (IOTA's decentralized platform technology).
In the case of the bees, one bee wishes to communicate with the rest of the hive that there is a delicious and highly valuable source if pollen in a field somewhere yonder. The bee first communicates this message to the closest 10 bees in their immediate proximity. These bees will fly out and verify the source of the rich pollen filled fields and return to report their findings. If less then 8 out of the 10 bees agree that there is indeed a huge field of flowers and pollen, then their closest 10 bees will fly out to double check. This will happen a few times until a general consensus can be achieved. If however after a few times they still cannot agree with 51% consensus then that field will be marked as not a viable source and the first bee to report this will be punished for false information and they will lose credibility for any future reportings. For another analogy, Think about the boy who cried wolf.
The opposite is true for the bees that report good sources of information and were the consensus is 51% or higher. They also gain a ranking as "trustworthy" in the colony and in the future only trustworthy bees will be allowed to report good news. Creating an agreed consensus of trust
This is often referred to as a mana-based reputation system
This makes it even more difficult for a bee with bad information to stir conflict because it will need to perform extra work to gain trust by it's peers and the other high ranking bees. This will cost the bee more making it ore expensive and this not viable to attempt
In IOTA these bees are called nodes and each communication is a transaction. Should a node report a non viable transaction it will be punished, lose reputation and make it harder to promote any more transactions on the network
Images have been used from IOTA's website and remain their copyrighted material