Eclipse Foundation and IOTA Launch Working Group for Open Source Distributed Ledger Tech

The Eclipse Foundation has partnered with the IOTA Foundation to form a new Eclipse working group to promote IOTA's open source distributed ledger technology (DLT), called the Tangle.

Announced this week, the Tangle EE Working Group will provide a governed environment for organizations and contributors to develop new ideas and applications using this technology, the organizations said.

Like blockchain, the Tangle is a distributed, decentralized, public ledger. But where blockchain takes the form of a distributed set of cryptographically linked data "blocks," the Tangle is a stream of interlinked and individual transactions stored across a decentralized network. The Tangle is a directed acyclic graph (DAG) consisting of vertices and edges. The vertices represent transactions and the edges represent approvals. For a transaction to be valid, each node in a DAG Tangle must approve two previous transactions at other nodes. This model removes "miners" as entities to validate transactions, which eliminates a possible bottleneck when transaction speed and numbers are high. Also, the network's growth and speed becomes directly proportional to the numbers of its users.

The main motivation behind the development of this blockchain alternative, said Dominik Schiener, co-founder of IOTA, is scalability. Blockchain has an inherent transaction rate limit, because all participants agree on the longest chain and discard forks and side branches. But the Tangle allows different branches of the DAG to merge eventually, resulting in a much faster overall throughput.

A total of 15 companies have joined the new working group. The list of founding members includs Dell, German electronics provider STMicroelectronics, and the University of Magdeburg.

IOTA turned to the Eclipse Foundation for its "transparent and open governance framework," which IOTA co-founder Dominik Schiener says will be essential for  regulating code development the growing ecosystem, ensuring market fit, and fulfilling the organization's promises of openness, interoperability, and sustainability. "This [partnership] will elevate IOTA to production-readiness," Schiener said.

Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, emphasized that this is a partnership, and that IOTA itself will not become an Eclipse project, as did, for example, Java EE and the MicroProfile.

"The Eclipse Foundation will provide a vendor-neutral governance framework for open collaboration, with IOTA's scalable, feeless, and permissionless DLT as a base," Milinkovich said. "By doing so, we will accelerate the development of new applications built with this transformative technology." 

Two projects were announced at the launch of the new working group. The first, "Unified Identity," involves building an interoperable trust infrastructure that enables identity for people, organizations, and things. "We will develop a high-level protocol and further tooling to encourage adoption of decentralized identity on IOTA," the Web site states. The second, "Decentralized Marketplaces," aims to enable organizations to easily deploy and participate in decentralized marketplaces. "We will develop an extendable toolkit to enable real-time trading of data, products, and services," the Web site states.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at