A little-known digital currency surges 70% after teaming up with firms like Microsoft

A digital currency has added more than $3 billion to its market value after the firm behind it said it was teaming up with a number of big tech firms, including Microsoft and Samsungon a “data marketplace.”

Called IOTA, the cryptocurrency saw a spike on Sunday evening, rallying just over 70 percent in the last 24 hours, according to data from industry website Coinmarketcap. Its price soared to an all-time high of $2.54 at 8:29 a.m. London time, up 71 percent from Sunday’s price of $1.48. It is now the fifth-largest digital asset by market capitalization, dethroning altcoin Dash.

The rally followed an announcement by the IOTA Foundation, a German non-profit firm that oversees the virtual currency, last Tuesday, that it had partnered with the likes of Microsoft, Samsung and Fujitsu on a blockchain-based marketplace that lets them sell data.

David Sonstebo, IOTA’s co-founder and CEO, said data is “the new oil,” and that the marketplace project is letting firms sell data to incentivize them to share this data that would otherwise be wasted.

“At present, up to 99 percent of this precious data gathered is lost to the void,” he told CNBC in an email. “IOTA incentivize sharing of data through its zero fee transactions and by ensuring data integrity for free on the decentralized distributed ledger.”

He added that the marketplace is currently a pilot project, and that examples of data being shared included weather and air quality data.

Sonstebo said that the cryptocurrency’s surge in price was due to its approach to blockchain technology and partnerships with established firms…

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