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I see the words "trytes" and "trits" used a lot when discussing IOTA, however neither my browser's autocorrect nor the Oxford English Dictionary know what these words mean.

What are trytes and trits, and what is their purpose in relation to IOTA?

marked as duplicate by James Donnelly, Helmar, aboose, ben75, Richard Horrocks Dec 3 '17 at 14:25

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You are probably familiar with Bytes and Bits. (If not: Wikipedia knows)

Since IOTA is not based on binary but trinary/ternary computing, we need different names.

bits, bytes

A bit is a digit in a base 2 number system: either 0 or 1
A byte consists of 8 bits


A trit is a digit in a base 3 number system: either 0, 1 or 2

balanced ternary

IOTA does not use normal ternary but balanced ternary computing. It has some special properties and uses -,0 and + as digits


A tryte consists of 3 trits. It can be in one of 27 states. In IOTA these states are often named with the (26) uppercase letters ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ and the (+1) number 9.

  • 2
    To get a handle on how many trytes are needed to represent an equivalent amount of bytes, I made a calculator for it, which some may find useful: laurencetennant.com/iota-tools . 27 trytes is roughly equal to 128 bits. – Laurence Dec 1 '17 at 15:59

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