IOTA is in many aspects completely different to its competition in the crypto world. For one, IOTA didn’t hide the fact they are, in their current setup, centralized system that would have serious existence issues should they removed the so called Coordinator.
The coordinator only exists to secure against attacks. Further, IOTA works without the coordinator, but it would then be susceptible to attacks. Other cryptocurrencies including BTC and LTC have used something similar to a coordinator by use of “checkpoints” and Bitcoin Cash still utilizes it currently. Finally, IOTA will get faster and scale better once the coordinator is removed as the tangle cannot scale well beyond tens of transactions per second with the coordinator and the current iri.
There is a coordinator (COO) node run by the IOTA foundation in order to secure the network from 34% attacks specifically. It does not mean the system is centralized by any means since any experienced programmer could just bypass the node entirely when making transactions, and the role of the COO is merely that of protection; it is still being watched by every other node and its influence spectrum over the network is restricted, and thus the system itself technically cannot be considered overcentralized in that manner. The COO will continue to exist until the tangle is mature enough to be able to fully secure itself by itself.
According to the IOTA Foundation, while Coo has served its purpose well, in the interests of the long-term success of the framework, it is necessary to kill it off first of all because at least theoretically it permits the Foundation to choose which transactions receive priority, and also permits the Foundation to freeze suer funds by instructing milestones to ignore transactions involving such funds.
Despite the announcement, for now there exists no firm timeline has been given for the removal of Coo. A quote from the blog post reads:
“The short answer is that the Coordinator can and will be removed when our research team is satisfied that we understand the coordinator-free Tangle sufficiently.”
IOTA decentralized in 2019
It appears that IOTA will reach its decentralization much sooner than expected.
Tangleblog is a popular website that keeps track on everything around IOTA ecosystem and he presented screenshots from the IOTA discord community, where a high level team member, Hans Mogg, implicitly announced the “coordicide” (removal of the coordinator) for 2019, while simultaneously tickling the IOTA fans’ imagination with “once it is gone, tangle will FLY” sentence.
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