What does it mean for IOTA?

This is a short article describing the benefits of IOTA AION. A Selective Permanode solution that is funded by the IOTA Foundation through the Ecosystem Development Fund.

In short: What is it?

IOTA and it’s unique Tangle technology allow for -theoretically- unlimited amount of transactions. This is great but with the current setup this also means a -theoretical- unlimited storage requirement as well.

This is where AION comes in, allowing for selective permanent storage of parts of the tangle and pruning the rest while keeping it mathematically intact with consensus. To get all the technical details I will point you to the presentation I did on the 5th Dutch IOTA Meetup.

What I really want to talk about here is what it means for everyone interested in developing with or on top of IOTA:

Developers can host their own data

Looks simple enough right? But right now if you are developing with IOTA and don’t want your Proof of Concept have it’s data removed all the time from an immutable ledger well… then you are stuck with hosting the entire tangle and disable snapshotting. With AION you will be able to do snapshotting and keep the data that is only relevant to your application. Important to mention is that this works in constant time. Meaning that the variations in Transactions Per Second will NOT influence your personal storage requirements.

A direct incentive to host your own IOTA node

The current incentive host your own nade is similar to when your node runs with AION. You want to keep data alive. But the difference is that over time it will become harder and harder to host all data. Giving birth to services that will give you access to your data. Essentially centralizing the storage of the Tangle. With AION you can run a relatively light node and thus take part in consensus while keeping the data relevant to your application ‘live’. Thus creating a direct incentive to run an IOTA node without the threat of creating a few large centralized storage hubs and keep IOTA Fee-free.

Data becomes transferrable

The unique way AION describes what needs to be stored also introduces a way to efficiently communicate what data you want from other nodes. Allowing you to push a certain subset of the Tangle from one node to another. Creating the ability to do data replication for important data, like Digital Identity. Or just for the sake of back-ups. This also leads to:

A financial incentive to run a node

It is important to note that this is not part of the AION project! But it will allow others to expand on this and create business models.

Because we can now easily describe parts of the Tangle and the requirements to keep data stored are known we can start asking money for hosting someone else its data. Which opens up the potential of a market place of cheap Tangle hosting, while keeping it possible to do it yourself!

Self Sovereign Data

Self-describing, personally owned and transferrable transaction sets create something even more unique. Something I am personally very excited about and that is the concept of self-sovereign-data. It seems like a buzzwordy concept but it actually is something that is at the very basis of all self-sovereign solutions. Because if you can’t describe what data is ‘yours’ and can’t identify it in a node/database that someone else hosts and therefore can’t pull it to a system you control then all other things you build on top of this don’t hold the concept of self-sovereignty.

Take for example self-sovereign-identity, a concept many agree on is revolutionary when implemented correctly, is in the end just data. Data in a specific format, but data non-the less. Bits and bytes (yes and trytes).

Now imagine that your employer made a claim of excellence about you and signed off on the fact that you were part of projects X, Y, Z. They own these claims about you, but now the company goes bankrupt… where does the data go? Do you lose the claims about you? Normally this is exactly what happens because the place where these claims are checked disappears, but with the concept of self-sovereign-data (and how AION implemented this) is that you can now just ‘pull’ data that is relevant to you and host it yourself without losing the integrity of said claims! And this all by using the standard IOTA Protocol, meaning no-one knows if someone is just using the data or moving it to a self-hosted system.

The ability to opt-out of applications creates real feature competition.

Self-sovereign-data, therefore, creates the option of ‘opting-out’ of applications with your data and move to another front-end/interface. Imagine loading your youtube data into dtube or load your facebook data into Application developers will need to listen to their user’s wishes or someone else will. Only then real feature competition can finally exist.

For more info about AION, feel free to contact me:

Or Olaf van Wijk#1273 on discord.

AION was originally published in Coinmonks on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.