How to Buy IOTA: A Basic Beginner’s Guide

Last updated on October 20th, 2017 at 08:10 am

What Is IOTA?

The name IOTA comes from the Internet of Things (IoT). In the coming decade, there are expected to be more than 50 billion Internet-enabled devices. With that in mind, IOTA offers a way to transfer microtransactions among these devices. The goal of IOTA is to allow these devices to send micropayments for technological resources in real time, on the open market, and without fees.

IOTA: The Ledger of Things – The Tangle

With the Ledger of Things, the IOTA backbone enables participants to settle transactions with zero fees, making it an attractive resource for nearly anyone. IOTA offers the innovative Tangle ledger, which is both scalable and lightweight, in order to transfer exact amounts of resources on demand and settle transactions without charging fees. The Tangle ledger is a blockless, distributed ledger that functions as a self-regulating, decentralized peer-to-peer network. For more information about the Tangle ledger, read the IOTA white paper.

Microtransactions with Zero Fees, Secure Data Transfer, and the Leasing Out of Connected Devices

The nice thing about IOTA is that it allows for frictionless microtransactions to take place, as there aren’t any fees that would typically render small monetary transfers impossibly expensive. This truly is the Holy Grail of monetary transfer, as it opens up many new business avenues.

With the Tango ledger, IOTA allows for a secure way to transfer data from party to party. Since the data transferred through the Tangle are only shared between authenticated devices, it’s secure and impossible to exploit.

Another advantage of using IOTA is that it can serve as an e-governance system, most notably for e-voting. Unlike typical ballots, which can theoretically be tampered with, the use of e-voting through the Tangle ledger on the IOTA network is an accurate way to record and tally votes.

Another huge concern for individuals around the world is how to securely send messages to others. Masked messaging on a module of the IOTA core offers a way to exchange data in a fully authenticated and encrypted manner.

Another revolutionary service that IOTA offers is a profitable way to lease out nearly anything with a chip in it. For instance, appliances, tools, drones, computer storage, computing power, and Wi-Fi bandwidth can all be leased out to others, allowing individuals to earn value with the interconnected devices that they’re not currently using instead of letting them sit idle.

All of these revolutionary ideas have allowed IOTA to stand out from the pack of cryptocurrencies because it offers a complete solution for frictionless micropayments without fees between interconnected devices.

How to Get an IOTA Wallet

Since IOTA is a relatively new project, there aren’t any real user-friendly wallets to choose from, so many people are storing IOTA on exchanges. Though many beginners who don’t have a solid understanding of the technical details are opting to do this, it doesn’t mean that storing IOTA on an exchange is a good idea. Individuals who can set up a desktop wallet should use that or print out a paper wallet in order to secure their coins.

IOTA Desktop Wallet

The most common option for storing IOTA is downloading and installing the IOTA GUI client directly from IOTA. This wallet is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. When you’re setting up this wallet, choose “light node” and a host. Then generate an 81-character seed that contains only uppercase letters and the number 9.  Keep this seed in a safe spot.

Here are directions and comments from some users on Reddit who are discussing how hard this wallet is to set up. Truthfully, setting up the Lightwallet shouldn’t be too hard, but some beginners might not be able to complete the task. Here’s a video that should help you to set up the desktop wallet on Windows.


IOTA Web Wallet

The IOTA Web Wallet is in testing, and the web page doesn’t appear to be able to establish a connection at current. Again, this is a new project, so it’s to be expected.

IOTA Mobile Wallet

There are IOTA mobile wallets for both Android and iOS, but they’re both in beta. The Android version comes with a disclaimer to use it at your own risk, so keep that in mind.

According to users, the iOS IOTA mobile wallet appears to be functional, but it probably shouldn’t be used to hold a large number of IOTA because it hasn’t officially been released yet.

IOTA Paper Wallet

The IOTA paper wallet requires 81 characters with uppercase letters and the number 9 just like the desktop wallet. After generating the paper wallet, you can print it out and send IOTA to it. This paper wallet should be stored in a safe place for future use.

IOTA paper wallet


Here’s another IOTA paper wallet that’s even easier to use because it generates an IOTA seed and encodes it in mnemonic words. Simply move the mouse around for a random seed and print out the wallet without having to do much else.

Where Can You Buy IOTA?

IOTA can be purchased on a number of different exchanges. Currently, the exchange that offers the greatest liquidity is Bitfinex, where it can be purchased with BTC, USD, and ETH. However, Bitfinex is no longer verifying US users, so these individuals will have to look for another option. Anyone who is located in the United States and has IOTA on Bitfinex should get them off the exchange as soon as possible. IOTA can also be purchased on Binance, the IOTA Exchange, and Bit520.

Anyone who wants to move their IOTA off the exchange may want to use a paper wallet, as this appears to be the easiest solution for long-term storage. Holders who are technically savvy may want to set up a desktop wallet. For the most part, avoid using the web and mobile wallets, as they’re still in beta.

IOTA Has a Promising Future Ahead

With its grand vision, IOTA seeks to revolutionize the Internet of Things by bringing microtransactions together with zero fees across all connected devices. Given its frictionless method of exchanging value, it’s clear that IOTA has a bright future ahead of it. Anyone who wants to take advantage of early adopter status still can, as this project is still in its infancy.

The only real drawback to purchasing and storing IOTA is that the desktop wallet is relatively difficult to install for anyone who is inexperienced. In addition, the web mobile wallets are in beta, making the IOTA paper wallet the best and easiest solution for long-term holders.

Eric Wolff

Eric Wolff has been trading and writing about cryptocurrency since 2013. He also writes about nutrition, health, and real estate. Eric is armed with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology and an insatiable curiosity for how it all works.

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2 Comments on "How to Buy IOTA: A Basic Beginner’s Guide"

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The entire system was premined at genesis, so every IOTA sold is essentially being bought from the creators then?

Apologies if I’m getting this wrong. only halfway through the whitepaper.

Steven Hay
Steven Hay

Hey Bertrand,

Right, the devs sold IOTA off during the ICO. 2,779,530,283,277,761 IOTA were sold during that initial ICO in late 2015. There’s no mining process to generate coins.

Personally, I’m not convinced IOTA will have much advantage over blockchain cryptos once Lightning Networks are implemented, particularly on Bitcoin.