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IOTA has been making news in recent days. Following the successful launch of its data marketplace in November, its token value has risen dramatically — a 400 percent increase, in fact.
And today, the IOTA Foundation announced that Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC) — the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group — has purchased a significant number of IOTA tokens. Dr. Hongquan Jiang, partner at RBVC, will also join the IOTA Foundation’s advisory board.
The move is a strategic one for RBVC as it looks to the future of the Internet of Things (IoT).
IOTA is the first distributed ledger technology (DLT) to go beyond a blockchain — it enables machines to securely transact data and money with each other for a micro fee. Imagine a car that, from sensor data, retrieves information from Bosch about a malfunctioning car part. This isn’t a pipe dream. IOTA technology has already enabled more than $10 billion in transactions and is being used for feeless micropayment-based electric vehicle charging, parking, and more.
All of that makes IOTA a smart choice to invest in for IoT applications, but the cryptocurrency is also in its infancy. Why choose to invest now, and is IOTA the right choice?
“RBVC is, of course, also evaluating and working with other DLTs,” Dr Jiang said. “Choosing IOTA as the first investment is based on the fact that we have been working with IOTA for quite some time and are very impressed by the founding team and the IOTA community. And IOTA has the potential to solve some fundamental problems in the DLT for IoT, namely the scalability and transaction cost issues. The IOTA technology is still at an early stage. However, this could become a big breakthrough for the IoT industry if it is getting more mature in the future.”
So what does the future of IoT look like in a world that is fast being disrupted by blockchain and DLT technologies?
“The purpose of IoT is it to largely automate and optimize the systems that surround us, making our lives more frictionless, efficient, and secure,” Dominik Schiener, cofounder at the IOTA Foundation, told VentureBeat. “Over the next five years, a larger portion of our infrastructure will become connected and automated, with smart devices, sensors, and actuators creating truly intelligent and distributed networks. There are still some challenges to resolve when it comes to security, but exactly here [is where] distributed ledgers could be a key enabler for new security applications.”
That’s the main argument for most blockchain and DLT applications — the transparent ledger of activities. Here, it helps solve many challenges.
“With a protocol like IOTA, we don’t just work on automation of machines but on the full autonomy of machines, by making it possible for them to transact with each other in this ‘machine economy’,” Schiener said. “This will truly unleash the potential of IoT, by enabling new emerging markets for distributed resources (computation, storage, data, etc.) in global, but also local ad-hoc environments.”
Following this investment, what’s next for RBVC and IOTA, and what does this deal mean for Bosch and its associated partners?
“RBVC will, as it always does for its portfolio companies, try to help the IOTA Foundation in the industrialization of this technology via our network,” Dr Jiang said. “We will connect the development team of IOTA to industrial experts and decision makers. We will also give them advice in the domains where we have experience. Bosch is a pioneer in the industrialization of DLT. The deal is another proof of Bosch’s commitment to this field.”
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