IOST describes itself as an “ultra-fast,” fully fledged and decentralized blockchain network and ecosystem with its own nodes, wallets and based on the “next-generation” consensus protocol dubbed “proof-of-believability.”
The project was launched in January 2018 by Jimmy Zhong, Terrence Wang, Justin Li, Ray Xiao, Sa Wang and Kevin Tan.
Zhong has founded other tech startups in the U.S. and China. During his university days, he sold his first company for $40 million — a marketplace where students could exchange class notes. After that, he returned to Beijing and co-founded IOST, among other projects.
Wang’s previous experience includes serving as an Uber software engineer. He holds a degree in computer science from the University of Minnesota and a masters in computer science from Princeton University.
Li previously worked as an investment banking associate at Goldman Sachs and a data scientist at Mobike. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics and computer science. Meanwhile, Tan was a co-founder at Ethercap, while he received a degree in computer science from Tsinghua University.
Xiao co-founded Dora — alongside Jimmy and Sa — an AI company focused on intelligent kiosks. He studied computer science and quantitative economics at university.
IOST’s blockchain infrastructure is open-source and designed to be secure and scalable — all in the hope that it will serve as the backbone for online services in the future.
The team have developed a “proof-of-believability” consensus algorithm to ensure transactions on the network are secure and efficient.
One of the biggest challenges that IOST aims to resolve centers on how big companies may not be able to embrace blockchains in a customer-facing environment unless they are scalable. The Internet of Services Token is put forward as a way of tackling this problem.
To understand IOST, the best way to do it is by comparing it to its nearest competitors: Ethereum is the most popular smart contract platform for developers. It can also be compared to EOS and TRON, which are highly scalable smart contract platforms with high usage.
The largest difference between IOST and its competitors is how it claims it can process up to 100,000 transactions per second compared with Ethereum’s 20, Tron’s 2,000 and EOS’s 4,000.
In order to reach these transaction speeds, the IOST team has created a novel blockchain architecture, which introduces and combines several innovations including a Distributed Randomness Protocol, Efficient Distributed Sharding, TransEpoch, Atomix, Proof-of-Believability and Micro State Blocks.
IOST has a total token supply of 21 billion. An ICO was held in January 2018 where 40% were sold, raising about $31.3 million worth of ETH at the time.
As for the remainder, 35% has been retained by the IOST Foundation, 12.5% was allocated to building the community, 10% went to the IOST team and 2.5% was dedicated to investors and advisors.
In order to compete with hundreds of niche blockchains, IOST relies heavily on its proof-of-believability protocol (PoB) and efficient distributed sharding (EDS) to improve the scalability and security of its blockchain.
IOST is built for enterprise use, so it claims to be able to handle heavy loads produced by big tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook. Partnerships appear to be key for the project’s success.