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IOTA: New terminology, separation into value and message Tangle

  • The IOTA Foundation has presented a terminology for the Coordicide components to enable a simple and uniform communication.
  • The foundation also announced the separation into a value and a message Tangle.

In a blog post, the IOTA Foundation has presented a new, simpler and consistent terminology for the Coordicide components. The specifications of the update, also known as IOTA 2.0, are nearing completion. In line with the rebranding strategy presented a few weeks ago, the Coordicide components have now also been given a new terminology, as William Sanders explained for the IOTA Foundation:

This communication requires simple and standard terminology for the new components. However, until recently, researchers, including myself, have mainly used potentially confusing “in house” and ad hoc names. So, several researchers and engineers began devising proper terminology. Recently, we have completed this task.

IOTA: New terminology for Coordicide components

According to Sanders’ explanations, the new IOTA protocol is divided into three layers: the network layer, the communication layer and the application layer, whereby these have parallels with the OSI model, a reference model for network protocols widely used in computer science. The individual tasks of the individual layers are basically easy to understand:

The network layer manages the connections and packet transmissions between nodes. The communication layer creates a standardized platform for storing and communicating information. Developers are then free to design decentralized applications on the application layer while abstracting away the lower layers.

The network layer is the lowest layer and also the most technical. It is in this layer that the connections between the nodes are managed by the autopeering and peer discovery modules and by the clutch protocol. The communication layer contains the “Distributed Ledger” or the Tangle and stores and communicates the data.

New terms introduced on this layer are messages, which were previously called transactions and bundles. This term was chosen to make clear that the IOTA Tangle does not only transmit values but also data. Furthermore, the foundation will abolish the terms “trunk” and “branch”. Each message refers to two other messages, which the IOTA Foundation now calls parents.

On the application layer, any application can be developed and each node can decide which application to run. Only the core applications are mandatory, including the value transfer application, the distributed random number generator (DRNG) and the Fast Probabilistic Consensus (FPC) protocol.

The basic unit of data in the IOTA protocol is called an object. Messages are an object type. Other types include generic data objects, which, as the name suggests, are only data, as well as value objects, DRNG objects and “FPC Opinion objects”. To be transferred into the Tangle, each object must be encapsulated within a message.

IOTA makes separation: Values and News Tangle

As Sanders further describes, the most important core application is the value transfer application, which moves funds (IOTA) over value objects and updates the ledger status. This section will be known with Coordicide as the value Tangle and will be separated from the messages. This section will be known as the message Tangle. Sanders describes the reason for the separation as follows:

In the value tangle, references represent “approval” and record the outcomes of FPC votes. Roughly speaking, any value objects rejected by FPC will be orphaned in the value tangle. We separate the value and message tangles to reduce the innocent data lost in this process.

More detailed and technical information, including information on the payload of value objects and the UTXO scheme, can be found on the IOTA Foundation blog.

About Author

Jake Simmons

Jake Simmons has been a crypto enthusiast since 2016, and since hearing about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, he's been involved with the subject every day. Beyond cryptocurrencies, Jake studied computer science and worked for 2 years for a startup in the blockchain sector. At CNF he is responsible for technical issues. His goal is to make the world aware of cryptocurrencies in a simple and understandable way.

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