Abstract—Direct Acyclic Graph (DAG)-based ledger and the corresponding consensus algorithm has been identified as a promising technology for Internet of Things (IoT). Compared with Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS) that have been widely used in blockchain, the consensus mechanism de-signed on DAG structure (simply called as DAG consensus) can overcome some shortcomings such as high resource consump-tion, high transaction fee, low transaction throughput and long confirmation delay. However, the theoretic analysis on the DAG consensus is an untapped venue to be explored. To this end, based on one of the most typical DAG consensuses, Tangle, we investigate the impact of network load on the performance and security of the DAG-based ledger. Considering unsteady network load, we first propose a Markov chain model to capture the behavior of DAG consensus process under dynamic load conditions. The key performance metrics, i.e., cumulative weight and confirmation delay are analysed based on the proposedmodel. Then, we leverage a stochastic model to analyse the probability of a successful double-spending attack in different network load regimes. The results can provide an insightful understanding of DAG consensus process, e.g., how the network load affects the confirmation delay and the probability of a successful attack. Meanwhile, we also demonstrate the trade-off between security level and confirmation delay, which can act as a guidance for practical deployment of DAG-based ledgers.