IoTeX (IOTX) is the private “blockchain-within-a-blockchain” scalable solution for powering the Internet of Things (IoT).
It is designed to connect the physical world of internet devices block by block, and will be both fast and scalable thanks to the unique Roll-DPoS consensus mechanism. IoTeX also brings to bear a lightweight technique for preserving privacy.
Starting out as an open-source project in 2017, IoTeX has built a decentralized platform whose aim is to empower the Internet of Trusted Things — an open ecosystem where people and machines can interact with guaranteed trust, free will and full privacy.
With a global team of over 30 research scientists and engineers behind it, the intention of the project is to combine blockchain, secure hardware and confidential computing to enable privacy-preserving smart devices and networks.
It is a private blockchain inside of a blockchain solution designed to power the Internet of Things (IoT). IoTeX was designed to connect the physical world of Internet devices and be fast and scalable through the usage of a unique Roll-DPoS consensus mechanism.
The founders of IoTeX are Qevan Guo, Jing Sun, Xinxin Fan and Raullen Chai.
Qevan Guo is also a co-founder of Hyperconnect Lab. He used to be a research scientist and engineering manager at Facebook.
Jing Sun also works as a managing partner at Sparkland Capital. She is an LP investor at Polychain Capital and an angel investor at Rippling.
Before co-founding IoTeX, Xinxin Fan was a senior research engineer at Bosch Research and Technology Center, North America. He has also worked as a research associate and project manager at the University of Waterloo.
Besides being a co-founder of IoTeX, Raullen Chai is also an advisor at BootUP Ventures and is a member of the Industrial Distributed Ledger Task Group at Industrial Internet Consortium. He used to work as lead of crypto R&D and engineering security at Uber.
In terms of architecture, IoTeX is aiming to become like the spinal cord and nervous system of for IoT systems. This architecture includes the following design features:
When dealing with IoT there are many different features needed in a blockchain, because different applications have different needs. This makes it impractical to put IoT nodes all into a single blockchain. Plus it would cause the blockchain to bloat, making computations slow and heavy.
So, IoTeX is working with the idea of a separation of duties. This means sidechains will be created for each needed function, and these sidechains will be able to interact with each other when necessary. By creating sidechains the team believes they can maximize the efficiency of the blockchain and its privacy.
IoTeX has included several mechanisms to ensure the privacy of users and transactions is preserved. One way it does this is through the use of ring signatures. It adds to this with a relayable payment code to hide the address of the transaction receiver.
And this is all built upon a lightweight address system that doesn’t require receiving addresses to scan the entire network to become aware of incoming transactions.
Occam’s razor is a principle which says the simplest solution is usually the correct solution. When you apply this to IoT it means different devices have different needs and IoTeX addresses this in the simplest way possible, by giving each device just what it needs though separate sidechains. One example for this is where transactions need to be relayed. These blockchains don’t require Turing-complete contracts and can be far simpler.
IoT blockchain solutions need to be lightweight and minimize energy usage as well as storage and computational needs. One unique design feature of IoTeX is that its blockchains can run alongside each other and retain interoperability. This is done through the use of a root blockchain combined with sidechains.
The architecture of IoTeX consists of a root blockchain that provides security and governance for the network, while also managing the subchains. Those subchains are used to connect IoT devices that work in similar environments, have similar trust levels, or have a similar functional purpose.
This comes with several benefits, one of which is that if any subchain is attacked the root chain remains unaffected. With the IoTeX blockchain this architecture is also called a “blockchain-within-a-blockchain.”
With the IoTeX protocol communication across blockchains is fast, efficient and inexpensive. The developers have included block finality in the solution, which guarantees any new block created cannot be changed.
It also includes pegging, which is a method for using sidechains to scale the Bitcoin network. Public blockchains typically do not include instant block finality, but the IoTeX consensus mechanism is able to achieve instant finality.
IoTeX has several mechanisms that ensure the privacy of users and transactions. Some of these are ring signatures and the reliable payment code that hides the transaction receiver’s address.
Delegated proof-of-stake works by having stakeholders vote for the block producers on the network. The number of block producers is set and once they are elected, they are responsible for adding new blocks to the blockchain.
For doing it, they receive rewards that they can distribute to the stakeholders who voted for them, incentivizing block producers to continue working and stakeholders to continue voting for block producers.
Delegated Proof-of-Stake works by having stakeholders vote for the block producers of the network. This is a set number of block producers, and once they are elected they remain responsible for adding new blocks to the blockchain.
They receive rewards for doing so, which they distribute to the stakeholders who voted for them. This process incentivizes the block producers to continue producing blocks, and incentivizes stakeholders to vote for block producers.
The DPoS consensus mechanism isn’t without flaws. First and foremost is the set static number of block producers means the network never achieves decentralization. Seconds, and important for an IoT blockchain like IoTeX, is that it cannot handle complex blockchain architectures, or multiple large scale applications running simultaneously.
IoTeX is planning to solve these problems with their Randomized Delegated Proof of Stake (Roll-DPoS) algorithm. This combines DPoS with Verifiable Random Functions (VRF) and Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT). By including all three elements the Roll-DPoS consensus can achieve mass scale and improved decentralization.
The team behind IoTeX is extremely experienced in cryptography and cryptocurrencies. Raullen Chai is a co-founder of the project, and along with being a research scientists at the University of Waterloo he also holds a PhD in cryptography. Previously he worked at Uber as the head of cryptography research and development, and prior to that he was a security engineer at Google.
Qevan Guo is another co-founder of IoTeX and he holds a PhD in machine learning and computer vision from the National University of Singapore. Prior to his work on IoTeX he was a research scientist and engineering manager at Facebook.
The third co-founder of IoTeX is Jing Sun, who has led more than 40 investments in security, blockchain and IoT. She brings the business experience to the project, having previously been a founding partner of Sparkland Capital, a venture capital firm that connected Asia with Silicon Valley.
She has already been able to secure several strategic partnerships, such as one with the Blockchain Foundation, and another with Jinse, a blockchain industry service platform. Another key partnership was announced this past June with smart contract security and verification firm CertiK. They will help ensure that the IoTeX blockchain and smart contracts are totally secure.
IoTeX 2022 Roadmap