Anyone that has spent any amount of time researching cryptocurrency has come across “the tangle” or “tangle.”
In fact, you may have observed a noticeable split between tangle and blockchain proponents. It’s quite similar to the PlayStation vs Xbox or Apple vs Microsoft divide you see online.
Anyway, this article will provide an unbiased explanation of the differences between tangle and blockchain in plain English. There aren’t that many differences, but there are enough differences that a divide between the two has formed.
What is Tangle?
Tangle refers to the cryptocurrency of IOTA, which does not operate on a blockchain.
Tangle also refers to the system that replaces the blockchain. This system is a ledger that operates on a series of independent computers.
It does not rely on any central authority or mainframe server.
We know, this sounds similar to blockchain. And it is very similar to blockchain.
In fact, the main concept of blockchain, a decentralized ledger operating on independent hardware, is the same as blockchain.
The differences between the two begin to appear with the Internet of Things (IoT).
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection of every device in your home. Your washer, dryer, refrigerator, microwave, cellphone, and other personal electronics will all be connected and able to communicate with each other.
Have you heard of a Smart Home? Those homes with automatic locks, air conditioning that adjusts based on the person in the room, and automated coffee machines?
Those run on an IoT system.
All those devices have computers connected to the internet. And they must rapidly communicate with other devices on the internet, perform small transactions (automatically purchasing coffee for instance), and communicate with a large amount of devices.
This is where tangle enters the picture.
The developers and proponents argue that tangle is in a unique position to serve as the network that runs the IoT, rather than a blockchain network, for the reasons listed below.
One of the major differences between blockchain and tangle is that tangle has no miners.
Yes, you read that right. Tangle has no miners powering the infrastructure.
Everything on tangle operates on a series of microtransactions.
This means no miner fees, which might not sound like a huge benefit because miner fees are relatively small. However, small miner fees add up when you must conduct thousands of transactions per day, which is something that devices on the IoT will have to do.
As mentioned in the previous section, tangle has no miners, which means no mining fees.
It also makes tangle unique because it allows for microtransactions. This contrasts with blockchain because many blockchain miners will refuse small transactions as less fees can be collected from small transactions.
A network based on mostly microtransactions would come to a grinding halt if miners refused to mine blocks of microtransactions.
Differences Between Tangle and Blockchain
We’ll keep it simple, there aren’t that many differences between tangle and blockchain. Here are the most significant differences between the two structures:
Security: Blockchain vs Tangle
Blockchain is a more secure system because it relies on validation from the network. Network validation reduces the amount of fraud to practically zero as you would have to compromise a significant amount of computers on the network.
Tangle only requires validation from two previous transactions, which makes it extremely susceptible to fraud.
Blockchain and tangle both bill themselves as decentralized networks. We can say that blockchain is a decentralized network. No central authority can stop the progression of the mining of a particular block. Nor can any mined block be reversed (it can, however, be forked).
Tangle, on the other hand, is not a truly decentralized platform. Sure, most of the nodes operate on a decentralized system. But there are certain coordinator nodes that can block transactions.
This is in place to provide a safeguard against one of the main security flaws mentioned in the previous section.
Of course, a government could put pressure on the managers of the coordinator node to reverse any transaction.
Remember the security flaw mentioned in the previous section?
That security flaw allows for faster transactions because an entire data block does not have to be mined for a transaction to occur between two devices.
This makes tangle significantly faster than blockchain. The developers and proponents claim that the faster transaction speed makes tangle uniquely positioned to serve the IoT.
What cryptocurrencies use tangle?
Only one cryptocurrency uses tangle rather than blockchain. That cryptocurrency is IOTA.
IOTA still has some notable flaws. And it might not even be the dominant tangle cryptocurrency, but it is the first (and only) tangle cryptocurrency.
Will tangle overtake blockchain?
Probably not. Tangle simply does not work well for the same type of transactions as blockchain.
However, tangle does work great for rapid, small transactions between a large amount of devices on a network.
In our opinion, tangle (or a similar structure) will likely be the structure used for the IoT. Blockchain has benefits, but it is simply not built for the type of transactions that the IoT will require.
That covers it for the differences between tangle and blockchain. As you probably noticed, there aren’t many differences between the two networks.
Also, one isn’t superior to the other. They are simply two different tools designed for two different purposes.
It would be similar to asking if a hammer is superior to a screwdriver. A hammer is superior for certain tasks and a screwdriver is superior for a set of completely different tasks, but they are both tools that you can use to solve problems.