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Information and FAQ
Hi, for everyone looking for help and support for IOTA you have come to the right place. Please read this information, the FAQ and the side bar before asking for help.
IOTA is an open-source distributed ledger protocol launched in 2015 that goes 'beyond blockchain' through its core invention of the blockless ‘Tangle’. The IOTA Tangle is a quantum-resistant Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), whose digital currency 'iota' has a fixed money supply with zero inflationary cost. IOTA uniquely offers zero-fee transactions & no fixed limit on how many transactions can be confirmed per second. Scaling limitations have been removed, since throughput grows in conjunction with activity; the more activity, the more transactions can be processed & the faster the network. Further, unlike blockchain architecture, IOTA has no separation between users and validators (miners / stakers); rather, validation is an intrinsic property of using the ledger, thus avoiding centralization. IOTA is focused on being useful for the emerging machine-to-machine (m2m) economy of the Internet-of-Things (IoT), data integrity, micro-/nano- payments, and other applications where a scalable decentralized system is warranted.
Contrary to traditional blockchain based systems such as Bitcoin, where your wallet addresses can be reused, IOTA's addresses should only be used once (for outgoing transfers). That means there is no limit to the number of transactions an address can receive, but as soon as you've used funds from that address to make a transaction, this address should not be used anymore. The reason for this is, by making an outgoing transaction a part of the private key of that specific address is revealed, and it opens the possibility that someone may brute force the full private key to gain access to all funds on that address. The more outgoing transactions you make from the same address, the easier it will be to brute force the private key. It should be noted that having access to the private key of an address will not reveal your seed or the private key of the other addresses within your seed / "account". This piggy bank diagram can help visualize non reusable addresses. imgur link
When a new address is generated it is calculated from the combination of a seed + Address Index, where the Address Index can be any positive Integer (including "0"). The wallet usually starts from Address Index 0, but it will skip any Address Index where it sees that the corresponding address has already been attached to the tangle.
Private keys are derived from a seeds key index. From that private key you then generate an address. The key index starting at 0, can be incremented to get a new private key, and thus address. It is important to keep in mind that all security-sensitive functions are implemented client side. What this means is that you can generate private keys and addresses securely in the browser, or on an offline computer. All libraries provide this functionality. IOTA uses winternitz one-time signatures, as such you should ensure that you know which private key (and which address) has already been used in order to not reuse it. Subsequently reusing private keys can lead to the loss of funds (an attacker is able to forge the signature after continuous reuse). Exchanges are advised to store seeds, not private keys.
Sending a transaction will move your entire balance to a completely new address, if you have more than one pending transaction only one can eventually be confirmed and the resulting balance is sent to your next wallet address. This means that the other pending transactions are now sent from an address that has a balance of 0 IOTA, and thus none of these pending transactions can ever be confirmed.
As previously mentioned, in IOTA there are no miners. As such the process of making a transaction is different from any Blockchain out there today. The process in IOTA looks as follows:
Signing: You sign the transaction inputs with your private keys. This can be done offline.
Tip Selection: MCMC is used to randomly select two tips, which will be referenced by your transaction (branchTransaction and trunkTransaction)
Proof of Work: In order to have your transaction accepted by the network, you need to do some Proof of Work - similar to Hashcash, not Bitcoin (spam and sybil-resistance). This usually takes a few minutes on a modern pc.
After this is completed, the trunkTransaction, branchTransaction and nonce of the transaction object should be updated. This means that you can broadcast the transaction to the network now and wait for it to be approved by someone else.
How do I to buy IOTA?
Currently not all exchanges support IOTA and those that do may not support the option to buy with fiat currencies. One way to buy IOTA is to buy with bitcoin (BTC) or Ether (ETH), first you will need to deposit BTC/ETH onto an exchange wallet and you can the exchange them for IOTA. You can buy BTC or ETH through coinbase. And exchange those for IOTA on Binance or Bitfinex (other exchanges do exist, some linked in the side bar). A detailed guide to buying can be found here.
What is MIOTA?
MIOTA is a unit of IOTA, 1 Mega IOTA or 1 Mi. It is equivalent to 1,000,000 IOTA and is the unit which is currently exchanged. We can use the metric prefixes when describing IOTA e.g 2,500,000,000 i is equivalent to 2.5 Gi. Note: some exchanges will display IOTA when they mean MIOTA.
Can I mine IOTA?
No you can not mine IOTA, all the supply of IOTA exist now and no more can be made. If you want to send IOTA, your 'fee' is you have to verify 2 other transactions, thereby acting like a minenode.
Where should I store IOTA?
It is not recommended to store large amounts of IOTA on the exchange as you will not have access to the private keys of the addresses generated. However many people have faced problems with the current GUI Wallet and therefore group consensus at the moment is to store your IOTA on the exchange, until the release of the UCL Wallet, or the Paper Wallet.
What is the GUI wallet?
What is the UCL Wallet?
What is a seed?
A seed is a unique identifier that can be described as a combined username and password that grants you access to your wallet. Your seed is used to generate the addresses linked to your account and so this should be kept private and not shared with anyone. If anyone obtains your seed, they can login and access your IOTA.
How do I generate a seed?
You must generate a random 81 character seed using only A-Z and the number 9. It is recommended to use offline methods to generate a seed, and not recommended to use any non community verified techniques. To generate a seed you could:
All seeds should be 81 characters in random order composed of A-Z and 9.
Do not give your seed to anyone, and don’t keep it saved in a plain text document.
Don’t input your seed into any websites that you don’t trust.
Is this safe? Can’t anyone guess my seed? What are the odds of someone guessing your seed?
IOTA seed = 81 characters long, and you can use A-Z, 9
Giving 2781 = 8.7x10115 possible combinations for IOTA seeds
Now let's say you have a "super computer" letting you generate and read every address associated with 1 trillion different seeds per second.
8.7x10115 seeds / 1x1012 generated per second = 8.7x10103 seconds = 2.8x1096 years to process all IOTA seeds.
Why does balance appear to be 0 after a snapshot?
When a snapshot happens, all transactions are being deleted from the Tangle, leaving only the record of how many IOTA are owned by each address. However, the next time the wallet scans the Tangle to look for used addresses, the transactions will be gone because of the snapshot and the wallet will not know anymore that an address belongs to it. This is the reason for the need to regenerate addresses, so that the wallet can check the balance of each address. The more transactions were made before a snapshot, the further away the balance moves from address index 0 and the more addresses have to be (re-) generated after the snapshot.
Why is my transaction pending?
IOTA's current Tangle implementation (IOTA is in constant development, so this may change in the future) has a confirmation rate that is ~66% at first attempt. So, if a transaction does not confirm within 1 hour, it is necessary to "reattach" (also known as "replay") the transaction one time. Doing so one time increases probability of confirmation from ~66% to ~89%. Repeating the process a second time increases the probability from ~89% to ~99.9%.
What does attach to the tangle mean?
The process of making an transaction can be divided into two main steps:
The local signing of a transaction, for which your seed is required.
Taking the prepared transaction data, choosing two transactions from the tangle and doing the POW. This step is also called “attaching”.
The following analogy makes it easier to understand:
Step one is like writing a letter. You take a piece of paper, write some information on it, sign it at the bottom with your signature to authenticate that it was indeed you who wrote it, put it in an envelope and then write the recipient's address on it. Step two: In order to attach our “letter” (transaction), we go to the tangle, pick randomly two of the newest “letters” and tie a connection between our “letter” and each of the “letters” we choose to reference.
The “Attach address” function in the wallet is actually doing nothing else than making an 0 value transaction to the address that is being attached.
How do I reattach a transaction.
Reattaching a transaction is different depending on where you send your transaction from. To reattach using the GUI Desktop wallet follow these steps:
Click 'Show Bundle' on the 'pending' transaction.
Click 'Rebroadcast'. (optional, usually not required)
Wait 1 Hour.
If still 'pending', repeat steps 1-5 once more.
What happens to pending transactions after a snapshot?
How do I recover from a long term pending transaction?
How can I support IOTA?
You can support the IOTA network by setting up a Full Node, this will help secure the network by validating transactions broadcast by other nodes. Running a full node also means you don't have to trust a 3rd party in showing you the correct balance and transaction history of your wallet. By running a full node you get to take advantage of new features that might not be installed on 3rd party nodes.
How to set up a full node?
To set up a full node you will need to follow these steps:
Download the full node software: either GUI, or headless CLI for lower system requirements and better performance.
Get a static IP for your node.
Join the network by adding 7-9 neighbours.
Keep your full node up and running as much as possible.
A detailed user guide on how to set up a VTS IOTA Full Node from scratch can be found here.
How do I get a static IP?
To learn how to setup a hostname (~static IP) so you can use the newest IOTA versions that have no automated peer discovery please follow this guide.
How do I find a neighbour?
Are you a single IOTA full node looking for a partner? You can look for partners in these place:
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