Research: IOTA mainnet with Coordinator not more performant than blockchain

  • A study by the Research Center Munich and the Technical University of Vienna concludes that the IOTA mainnet with the Planner is not more performant than a blockchain.
  • The study was conducted on the basis of historical data and shows the necessity of launching Coordicide.

Academics of the Munich Research Center, Huawei Technologies and the Distributed Systems Group, Vienna University of Technology have published a study entitled “Characterizing IOTA Tangle with Empirical Data”. In their scientific work, Fengyang Guo, Xun Xiao, Artur Hecker and Schahram Dustdar investigated the performance from the IOTA Tangle in the mainnet.

As the study states, IOTA organizes the transactions in a ledger as a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG). As a result, the technology is considered “ a promising platform to support Internet-of- Things (IoT) applications with its key features such as micro-payment support and absence of transaction fees”.

While, according to the researchers, there are extensive analyses based on synthetic information generated by simulations, an analysis based on empirical info on the IOTA mainnet is missing. Consequently, “many questions remain open, such as t he real tangle topology , the actual transaction confirmation rate in the deployed system, and, in case of diverging findings, the reasons behind the present observations. ”

The performance of the IOTA Tangle in mainnet

With this in mind, the researchers conducted a “comprehensive analysis” (322 GB of data sets) using real transaction data “officially published by the IOTA Foundation”. The researchers came to the following conclusion:

Our key finding is thatneither the tangle’s topological features nor the specific observed performance is consistent with the main conc lusions from the literature.

To investigate the performance of transaction verification, the researchers considered the transaction as approved “as soon as this transaction will be attached to the tangle by a new site. However , according to the definition of IF, a deal is in reality only considered approved if it is approved by a new milestone”.

In relation to this, the researchers noted that before May 2018, the rate of milestone emissions varied between several hundred and 1800 per day. Since September 2018, the rate of exhausts has slowed to 500 per 12 hours and 1500 per day. Subsequently, the researchers also investigated the distribution of transaction confirmation times and found a median value of about 10 minutes. “This also applies to 25% to 75% of transactions in the quantile, ” the researchers said.

In total, the particular researchers made three core observations. Firstly, the IOTA mainnet generates a Tangle that has different topological features compared to the simulated tangles. The particular “real IOTA Tangles show a power-law degree submission rather than a Poisson supply as in simulated cases”. Secondly, the investigation states that:

Nodes within the real IOTA indeed use various TSAs to attach new sites into their local tangles. Milestones are selected more often than usual sites. Abnormal websites were observedin reality (cf. the result of EW Analysis), which are notsimulated in most of the prior art, where nodes perfectly follow the IOTA specification .

Finally, the experts also found that the transaction affirmation rate is not as high “as usually” assumed when milestone confirmation is required, which requires the assistants associated with milestone sites. Ultimately, therefore , the researchers conclude that this “usual assumption” that IOTA can provide a much faster purchase rate than traditional blockchains is not true.

In particular, most of transactions take roughly 10minutes to be officially confirmed, which is not exactly instantas commonly assumed; yet, what is arguably worse is that there isa certain amount (5%) of transactions experiencing exceptionallylong confirmation time […]

This is far behind therequirement to support lightweight, rapid and instant IoTapplications that are delay-sensitive, especially consider-ing those exceptionally delayed transaction cases.

In the overall result of the study, the researchers therefore come to the following conclusion:

According to the presented results, our key findings are that the features of the real IOTA tangles are topologically different from the simulated tangles; more importantly, the financial transaction confirmation time largely depends on the milestones issued by COO.

In addition , it is inefficient to rely on the mechanism of using site cumulative weight in typically the random walk of TSA, which aligns with the recent plans of this IOTA Foundation. We hope the presented results canprovide a better understanding of the nature of the real IOTA andmotivate to continue further analysis in the IOTA community.

However , it is important to note that the study is based on historical data from the IOTA mainnet (before the implementation of IOTA 1 . 5 phase 1 ). With the abolishment of the coordinator and the already proposed changes for the upgrade to IOTA 2 . 0 , the collected data will be irrelevant and, according to the simulated data of the IOTA Foundation, will make the Tangle operational for use in the corporate sector and in IoT.

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