The incentive to run a full node for IOTA and to perform PoW without monetary compensation

The incentive to run a full node for IOTA and to perform PoW without monetary compensation

Lately, a lot of voices came up that expressed skepticism.

“IOTA will not work because there is no incentive to run a full node nor an incentive to provide hash power for a secured distributed ledger.
That leads to a low overall hash power and lots of opportunities to attack the Tangle.”
-some people say.

Is that true?

While this is a valid question to ask, my answer is no.

Let me talk about this incentive first.

Homo oeconomicus

Humans are often described as economical creatures, that act only in their best interest, not necessarily malicious, but in accordance to their needs.

If you give them a few options for a decision (either an economic decision or a decision while playing a game like Monopoly), they will likely choose the one that doesn’t benefit everyone but themselves at first.

This game theory of the Homo oeconomicus does not describe a person as an opportunist but as rational proceeding Agent.

When we think about mining Bitcoin, people do mine Bitcoin as long as they get rewarded.
Sometimes they choose the selfish model of being a miner, like block-withholding or like pool hopping, and sometimes they are loyal and as good miners, they stay at one mining pool and accept the terms of rewards.

These pool rewards could be:

a) Pay-per-share     or     b) proportional paid

And sometimes, people decide to try a double-spend, because the incentive still is money.

Either way: the decision making is important since we usually don’t want to miss revenue and we want to flatten our costs, especially while mining.

From a miner’s PoV, the incentive is not just giving the blockchain more hash power and security, because then he could do it for free.

Mining, of course, is incentivized by earning money alone.

Something like working for free is not even an option, hence the skepticism. 

Now, IOTA seems to be different in many ways.

There is no mining, there are no fees.

And as a result, we don’t have the incentive to earn money with mining at all.

The first initial thought of people, naturally, is that we cannot provide enough hash power.

The difference

What people miss here, is that we have a significant difference at hand.

IOTA is a perfect technology to enable new markets and business models.

The intrinsic value of the tech does not need to satisfy people in exchange of hash power.

Blockchains can only perform transactions, when a block is found and when the fees are paid.

IOTA does function without it, why would we conclude that we need that same incentive for IOTA like we need for Blockchains, where the very basic functionalities are quite different then IOTAs.

The incentive is, therefore: If I want to use IOTA, because the tech is incredibly helpful for my company, then I conduct a transaction and reference two other transactions per proof of work automatically.

This alone is enough to provide the needed hash power because companies want to use IOTA.

Another difference is that IOTA is not for human applications alone, like Bitcoin with its currency replacement-model.

Of course, there is a variety of other applications, but the main field of Bitcoin remains: People store money and send it to other people.

IOTA instead, can function as such a currency replacement, but its main use-case is enabling the machine to machine economy.

It is so much more than a currency replacement, that the comparison alone seems like a dysphemism.

This is about data-integrity, interoperability, real decentralization, e-health, e-governance, giving the consensus back to the people.

And ultimately, building a new economy.

It’s no surprise that big companies have already shown interest and on top of that, formed foundations with IOTA.

Reference: Trusted ID AllianceDLT Research and Innovation Network (e-health),  Decentralized Identity Foundation

We also have use-cases that will be enabled rather early, so they are not just an article on someone’s desk.

Innogy and Dr. Carsten Stöcker are experimenting with such a system right now and considering their latest article, it won’t take that long.

The longer IOTA is in development, the more companies will work with it, because there is just no competitor that can provide the same functionalities and possibilities.

Personal motives to run a full node

Another key point of my argumentation is that there are still some people that believe in the technology IOTA and decide to run a full node nonetheless, even if there is no monetary incentive.

The arguments for running a full node for private persons are therefore still mentionable.

  • You are aware of the fact that running the full-node is beneficial for the tangle topology and you want to help. (Yes, that exists)
  • You have lots of transactions to make and don’t want to rely on a light node-server, as there is no guarantee that they are online when you need them.
  • You have a web app running and need the stable connection
  • You want to have maximum speed, so you choose the full-node
  • You want to have a copy of the Tangle database, that is generated when using a full-node. (good for several reasons)
  • In the future, maybe you provide a service and earn money for a full node.The only financial argument would be:
  • You invested and want to support the Tangle as much as possible

Conclusion

I conclude, that IOTA will work as intended. Like it already does today.

The founders had enough time to think about a reliable system, that solves the problems of tomorrow.

Not just on the Internet, but in the Internet of Things.

Using IOTA is not about making money with your graphic card, it’s about solving real world issues and enabling a new stage of development: the fourth industrial revolution.

As I repeatedly wrote, the 4th industrial revolution will be a disruptive time. It’s still unclear where we are heading, but the fusion of automation and online technologies will change almost everything.

Eventually, some companies won’t keep up, because similar to the “dot.com bubble”, the 4th industrial revolution does not only generate winners.

Only the innovative firms will survive.

People and customers will have a plethora of more opportunities due to the distributed ledger technology, due to no fees and due to new markets and technologies that grow on top of that.

And since customers keep companies alive, everyone will benefit. This incentive is way more important than mining.

If they want to use IOTA, they set up an army of full nodes and server farms in a matter of weeks.

Inside of the mesh-net of the Internet of things, this PoW and the stream of nano-payments will ensure that there is no way that we have a shortage of hash power or that the missing incentive “money” would become a problem.

If the game theory around the Homo oeconomicus would apply to the decisions of the industry, IOTA (in comparison to Blockchains) would still be the better choice in hindsight of the challenges of the future.

A snake doesn’t need feet to move. The tangle doesn’t need an incentive for mining or mining at all.
Companies and people will use this important technology anyway.

Feel free to give me your thoughts in the comment section.

Have a nice week,

Limo.

If you are interested in the latest news, look at my video section for “Sunday Banter” or in German: “Sonntagsplausch” and subscribe to my Youtube channel and my Twitter Page to get the latest updates.

 

 

 

 

Images were taken from:
https://themerkle.com
http://ilmenterrante.altervista.org/
https://www.rtinsights.com
https://www.ophtek.com

 

49 Replies to “The incentive to run a full node for IOTA and to perform PoW without monetary compensation”

  1. I came across IOTA via Twitter and found it very interesting, especially with the limitations of the blockchain. The Tangler is like thinking out the box solution, a path less travelled since there is no direct financial gain i.e. mining in it. It reminds me of the days we denote our CPU power to calculate for the SETI project, free of charge. This is much greater as the foundation for vast systems to be build upon it. I would like to be part of this revolution but don’t know where to start as I am not a developer. Any suggestions would be welcome for my consideration.

    1. Hello, Linus!
      That’s great to hear, welcome to the family!
      The first step would be to join the slack and sum up your skills, most of the skills can be used one way or another.
      We furthermore have a new channel where people start to learn to code altogether.
      Something else could be educational material like blog posts, PDF’s Tweets, all actions around awareness and adoption help.
      You could read into everything and set up small conferences, think about proof of concepts, reach out to friends that work in relevant companies, inform developers you know personally.
      The ecosystem fund is also for such cases, so feel free to apply, when you have read everything and you have a plan of some kind.

    1. Morning Kevin, I’m at 9 neighbors, so I guess we need to wait until I lose one.
      Not recommended to use more than 9 at them moment.

  2. Hi Limo,
    I came across a very critical series of questions in this youtube presentation of IOTA

    While I am not able to grasp each and everyone of the point raised, one caught my attention and I am trying to figure out who knows the answer, since there was no answer given there.

    How is IOTA going to update in the future ? While miners consensus can be bothersome and private ownership, like xrp, can have its dark sides. Both models allow to create a fork every time and update is needed.

    How would that be possible in a tangles situations where no real authority can be created on the system as a whole ?
    Here is the link where I found the question
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6EPdNb-K8Y

    1. Hello!
      Here is what I know.
      Full nodes can be supplied with IRI (IOTA reference implementation) or with industrial implementations later.
      IOTA is still in BETA hence “reference implementation”.
      On top of that, there will be IXI (IOTA eXtension Interface IXI) to provide the network with interoperability and functionality.
      So nodes can be upgraded and adjusted to their needs. It’s all about interconnectedness. A hard fork is not possible and not needed.
      The consensus is still given because the distributed full nodes everywhere around the globe, perform their own PoW. So consensus is achieved in a distributed manner, where mining farms can’t get a majority of the hash power and validate blocks like they want to.
      IOTA has no mining and to prevent a malicious actor from getting a majority of the network, he 1) needs to do mutual tethering and 2) needs to do his own proof of work with hashcash (for 2 other transactions/tips) every time he wants to make a transaction.
      There is no authority, other than the connected devices.
      Did this answer your question?

      1. Hi, thanks for your reply.

        So in a sens the Nodes act a bit like miners when it comes to decide a software update.
        Let say eventually IOTA will have a limitation that we will require a soft fork, then the owners of the full nodes will have to come to an agreement on how to proceed ?

        1. Tangle is a different technology compared to blockchain, the same of a spider saying to a bird ” hey why you can fly and I can’t ? ” the bird says “because I have wings and you don’t ” and the spider says ” but I am lighter than you so I could fly “.

          With Blockchain and Tangle technology some people tend to act like the spider example I mentioned on that story.

          How you want different technologies to react the say way to a certain problem ? What is a problem for the blockshain is even an issue for Tangle, they are designed in diferente ways, some people keep acting like the spider example. it makes no sence comparing because they are not on the same level to compare ( a bird could say to other bird why you are faster than me because they are on the same lever )

          I thing that by know you got the point 🙂

          1. Hey Crypto, sounds very profound and all,
            But still not really clear to me, whatever technology we are considering is made of code, and code might need to get updated at a certain point.

            What I am trying to understand is how it would happen within the tangle system. There must be a way, I just don´t understand it now and would like to learn more

            that s all

  3. It’s cool, since I have beed the user of SETi client 20 years ago. Yes, we will have higher motivation more than the incentive like Bitcoin. To solve real problem is more worthful & meaningful.

    1. I also have contributed to SETI since July 1999. Distributing computing has always fascinated me. With IOTA tangle, I would like to become involved early on just as a I did with SETI in 1999. As IOTA evolves, maybe groups, badges, etc could be created similar to SETI if possible or even worth the community recognition.

  4. Hello. What I trying to figure out during last couple of weeks – is there exist any possibility of IOTA cold storage? If yes, please give some clues.

    1. sure, just print out your seed(that’s your access to your funds, keep it secret etc.) on 10 pieces of paper and put them into your safe. that’s all you need.

      1. What I’m interested in is not how to coldstore my passw or seed. It is rather how to coldstore iota. Is it possible to create iota wallet on offline machine, and to prepare transactions offline, the “watch only” mode, for the reason my seed never appear on Internet

        1. The tangle is a public ledger with your share of it verifiable via your seed. Private cold storage is not possible with this system. You need to be able to see the network to see your share of it. Does this help clarify?

      2. What I’m interested in is not how to coldstore my passw or seed. It is rather how to coldstore iota. Is it possible to create iota wallet on offline machine, and to prepare transactions offline, the “watch only” mode, for the reason my seed never appear on Internet?

  5. Decided I’d like to contribute by enabling a full node at home. Noticed that the PC has to be on 24/7 and is going to eat all of my bandwidth.
    So that’s out…
    Next maybe start a VPS on Amazon WS and host it from there. Brilliant!
    Nope… Gotta pay at minimum 5 dollars per month. And that will only get me 512mb of RAM, wtf? And if my node gets used a lot I’ll get charged for the amount of data that passes through it. Feeless? Apparently not. Someone’s paying for this shit one way or the other.

    Maybe I’ll try to get it running in Headless mode on my Raspberry Pi 3 B+! That’s the perfect solution!

    Oh wait… Not enough RAM on board to work :-/.

    “Feeless” sounds cool until you realize that you have to pay via your electric, data useage, and maybe even hosting fee’s. Going with the most simple solution this would cost me over 100 dollars per month to maintain a node which is being used frequently. And the process being a ‘feeless’ system we are struck with the irony that some of us are just going to be paying a high “fee” (our bills) with no chance of collecting any money from people using the network to help us cover the cost of hosting their transactions.

    I suddenly understand why the fee structure is in place in other Cryptos 0_o
    How many people are going to donate money every month so that this product can even be used? I guess we’ll have to wait for a corporation to begin implementation and have to wait to hear what they think about the ‘network’ basically getting a free ride at their expense. Hosting this shit ain’t cheap!

    1. Same applies to Ethereum or Bitcoin full-nodes.
      You either like to support the technology, or you don’t.
      And the transactions are feeless, but no one has claimed that IOTA is a completely free software, how could it?
      It’s running on computers, so power consumption is unavoidable.
      That applies to wikipedia, the “free source of information”, that also applies linux, which is running via electricity and that even applies to the air you’re breathing.
      You, at least, have to move some parts of your body, to inhale the free stuff.

      1. My understanding is that the hashing power is distributed rather than centralised by miners, so everyone pays a bit. What i want to know is whether the total power consumption is less per transaction than blockchain? and that difficulty stays constant without making GPUs obsolete every year. Care to comment Limo?

        1. IOTA is using an algorithm similar to hashcash, but far less PoW is needed.
          The PoW can furthermore be outsourced and will be done by JINN ternary hardware in the future, that is far more efficient than binary hardware when it comes to conduction transactions.
          If you want to have more information about that, I recommend you join the slack and the channel #tanglemath
          The devs are happy to provide you with answers!

  6. Bang on Limo!
    If people believe in something they will use it and support it and even advertise it (ie go Full Node) if they think they can.
    IOTA is by far and away a better, more usable and scalable technology than any blockchain style token out there. When people come to realize its potential they will embrace it and be eager to promote or help it succeed.
    Money is a great incentive as we all know but if it is the ONLY incentive than eventually the ‘thing’ that is the motivator will eventually run out of steam.
    We keep coming back to the internet as an example. At some point it became a ‘money game’ when those in the know realized that there was indeed money to be made in the early days, but…if it was only good for making money than that game would have ended long ago. Truth is, the internet is now faaar more than just about making money (although many do still make fistfuls today). For the vast majority of those using it, it has become an every day staple that they literally cannot live without. What?! the internet is shutting down!!? Nooooo!!!
    The Bitcoin is about exchanging value’s, “I’ll give you one bitcoin for that ‘thing’ that I believe has the same value as my one bitcoin”. All other tokens based or built on the same ‘blockchain’ technology are simply variations of that original idea and still and will always have the same challenges of scalability and expanded usefulness that the the blockchain foundation has built in.
    The Tangle technology however, which the IOTA is built on is just so much more superior right from the ground up that businesses large and small will start to switch over as they see the real potential and come to trust its security. Remember, it took Bitcoin 10 years to get to this point of recognition and implementation. Now that the world is waking up to the blockchain technology it will only take a matter of 2 or 3 years from this point for the same businesses to wake up to the Tangle’s superiority over the Blockchain and start using it.
    To that end who knows what potential benefits there will be to running a ‘full’ node in the future. Certainly the incentives will be there, are here, and new ones will keep coming.

  7. Hello all! I hope someone can clear this up for myself as well as I’m sure for others. When I buy 1 Iota, what is the purpose in the scheme of things does that 1 Iota have? It carries no value as it’s not exchanged as a type of fee. Why are there Iota tokens to buy at all and what purpose do they have? Thank you!

    1. Hey Harold,
      the use-cases of IOTA demand currency characteristics.
      Things like Pay on demand, Stream on demand, vehicle recharging etc need a currency.
      So if you buy iotas, you buy money in the machine economy.
      IOTA does work without tokens (for data transfer), but economical use-cases still need the tokens.

  8. Hi Limo:
    My english its very bad, i hope you understend. My question is: The full node have the full database of transactions. Thinking IOTA can do a lot of microtransactions, that database go too big fastly ?. Exist some solution inside IOTA at this exponetial growing?. Thanks In advance.

    1. Hey Bruno, np I understand it.
      There is a lightnode system. Not every device needs to save the whole database.
      The database will be reduced frequently due to snapshots.
      In the future, storage is no problem, since storage is cheap.

  9. Ok, I always get this “in the future storage is not a problem because it will be cheaper and cheaper and cheaper”. But let’s assume storage won’t be a problem, then the next problem would be that the database size will be so huge that IOTA would become very slow just like Bitcoin now. Then what’s the solution to this processing problem that bitcoin is facing now?
    When mass adoption happens, will tangle be able to handle the load? Let’s say I;’m buying starbucks coffee using iota, will I have to wait for 10minutes for the payment to go through? If so, this won’t work at all. But I’d be happy to know if the team is thinking about performance requirements in the real world and not only theories.

    1. Flash channels and IOTAs scalability won’t let that happen.
      With Bitcoin, it’s very likely that you wait 10 mins or more for your coffee. With IOTA, it’s seconds.
      And the database doesn’t matter here.

      > When mass adoption happens, will tangle be able to handle the load?

      Yes, the rule: “confirm 2 transactions before you make one” make that happen.

      > If so, this won’t work at all. But I’d be happy to know if the team is thinking about performance requirements in the real world and not only theories.

      I think you should read more about the technical features of IOTA, because for now, you really didn’t get to a thorough understanding of the tech.

      This would be a start: http://www.tangleblog.com/2017/01/25/the-tech-behind-iota-explained/

      If you want to dive deep, meet me in slack and I point you into the right direction.

  10. Hi Limo, Thanks for your article. Do you think i am supporting IOTA by buying MIOTAs on an exchange? I have read a statement of the founders that they are really against price speculation and speculators in their coin. But why do they release the MIOTA on an exchange then? I know they are paying their investors efforts with IOTA. But do they want a pricing for IOTA based on that what speculators are willing to pay on exchanges ?

    1. Hey Stefan.
      I think supporting is the wrong word.
      You would support the ecosystem if you would develop software or run a fullnode, but game theory-wise investing would be just for your own benefit 🙂

    2. I would say releasing on the exchange does support it as it has now more nodes .. more transactions etc… don’t 2 transactions help ppl verify there own I was wondering if more transactions occurred will that in effect speed up the system since there are many transactions to choose from and verify your own

  11. I have one point. It completely kills the idea of this as it currently is presented. Electricity costs money. I see no point being the first to ‘take one for the team’ and donate, DONATE my money in the form of my electric bill for my hashrate to this. Five me more of an incentive than the good feeling of maintaining a network for SOMEONE ELSE to profit from. Nothing is free, certainly not my time, hashrate, and electric bill. You’ve gotten a couple interesting publications behind you, but none escape the fact that you are asking people to maintain a network that others will profit from.

    1. So you say: game-theory wise, you as a rational agent should only accept such a perfect system if it’s freed from electricity?
      Concerning the hashrate: the hashrate will be negligible in the future due to JINN processors.
      Furthermore: there is no free system. The transactions have no fees, but yeah, an online system that acts as a global settlement layer needs electricity and some mechanisms that use power. Breathing needs energy for the muscle contraction.
      Compared to Bitcoin, it’s nothing. And when you are an investor in IOTA, it just makes sense to support the Tangle, all others, maybe for ideological reason, or maybe not 🙂

      1. Limo -“Breathing needs energy for the muscle contraction.”
        True, Limo… but there is a reward for breathing. The muscles will expend the energy needed to expand and contract the Thoracic diaphragm, but in return, they will get to live, to extend the energy again, with the reward being oxygen to the body it is being hosted in.

        This could all be tossed into the wide world of “game theory” sure, but quite simply, it would appear on the outside looking in, that the success or failure of this “system” is dependent on some people being willing to donate their resources, to see it work. That is fine, if you see yourself as being rewarded by helping a cause you believe in. That is the only way this works, in the beginning.

        It just seems like it would slow down the progression of the system, if it is all dependent on charity. Then we look at the financial’s. Currently the “currency” stands in 4th place by measure of Market Capitol ($10,170,329,101 USD, at the time of writing this). I also realize that a group of people, likely backed by a group of investors, have spent physical dollars, as well as a lot of sweat equity in making this become a reality, so far as it exists today. But with a $10 billion valuation at less than $4 a share, you cant seriously expect me to believe that those who made this system don’t stand to profit in the end (or cover their costs along the way), when and if the value by market capitol rivals that of BitCoin? You are telling me, that “investors” have “donated” their money (contrary to what an investment is) and developers have sacrificed their time, for free, to make this? If that is true, and no money is being made, only exchanged, then sure… One could expect others to donate their resources to make this work. My rig’s cost about $100 a month each, and I’m not in the position to just pay that out of pocket… Not yet. Maybe when I hit 200 rigs, I can toss one or two to the “good guys” but I have to make money, in order to be able to BUY a rig for $2500, and PAY $100 a month to keep it running. One rig, in one year, would be a financial donation of $3,700… And I would love to be in a position to offer that. But alas… If I cant even cover my costs, at this point, I cant do it. Awesome concept though.

        1. 1. The PoW is far lower than any other DLT.
          Especially once JINN hits the market and IOTA runs in the IoT.
          2. Fullnodes are voluntarily. Also in Ethereums and Bitcoins Network, so apparantly, people like to help there too.
          3. This system is so revolutionary, that big commpanies will adopt it’s backbone. If private investors support it or not, the tangle will grow to an enormous network soon, because the economic models that can be created are way too interesting, to not use them.

  12. Hello, just came upon this article and I am wondering if you or anyone can make a tutorial video on how to run a full node with IOTA for dummies. People constantly complain about the tangle not working or going slow, but if people knew the benefits of creating their own node to help the tangle then I believe more people will take action. Is this possible? Anyone?

  13. So potentially i could sell my excess solar power to only my neighbour specifically or a single person or persons of my choosing. My car will book itself in for a service, drive to the shop while im at work and recharge itself on the way back to pick me up right after ubering itself for 6 hours thus paying for the service And the excess iotas generated all go to my wallet. Why would we not support a world like this? The potential is astronomical.

  14. Hi I’m new to researching Tangle and I am searching for more information, not opinions.

    Could you explain the three bullets points provided above more in-depth

    “You have lots of transactions to make and don’t want to rely on a light node-server, as there is no guarantee that they are online when you need them.” Can you offer a link or explain the technical differences and how this works? who is “they” when reference not on online?

    “You have a web app running and need the stable connection”- Again, I’m looking for technical details explaining how much more the stable this connection is. Links are more than welcome.

    “You want to have maximum speed, so you choose the full-node” – Can you explain the difference in speed between running a light node vs. a full node? What are the specs? Links are always welcomed as well.

    Thanks,

    1. 1.
      Can you offer a link or explain the technical differences and how this works? who is “they” when reference not on online?
      Answer:The GUI wallet makes it possible to be used either as a lightwallet or as a full wallet. If used as a lightwallet, you are basically interacting either with your own hosted full node, or with the full node of a third party (often referred to as “light wallet provider”).

      Fullnodes are a vital part of the network, because they validate transactions. Fullnodes are peers, that are connected to several neighbors, via node-sharing. (You share your IP mutually)
      Lighnodes don’t do that, they only grant access to either your own or a third-party fullnode.

      2. You have a web app running and need the stable connection

      Answer: you have no guarantee that the third-party fullnode (aka light server provider) manage their fullnode properly. IF you run a web app, you should only rely on your own full-node, where you can choose your neighbors and get the best possible connection

      3. You want to have maximum speed, so you choose the full-node

      Answer: Lightnodes often get access through public light wallet providers, so many people use the same “gate” to the tangle. If the throughput is very high, bottlenecks can lower your speed.
      That cannot happen, if you have a fullnode.

  15. Thank you for the great article! I find the tangle technology that iota applies amazing. Especially as it has a nice solution to the scalability problem of the revolutionary blockchain technology.

    I’m asking me, whether the development of iota or maybe other tangle technologies, that do not provide incentives for full nodes like in bitcoin or ethereum, can be compared with the development of the internet itself.

    What are the incentives for people/organizations/governments to invest in router, gateways, or cables to run the internet? I think, because they make o lot of money with the business models on top of this. Therefore I think, that iota has big potential to become the next big thing.

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