How do I prepare for a snapshot?


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EricHop
EricHop
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I am getting questions all the time about the upcoming snapshot so I thought I would write up how best to prepare for the snapshot.

What is a snapshot?
IOTA's nodes are receiving transactions in a staggering amount. They need to keep track of them all and sort through them. This means ever increasing memory and CPU requirements. To combat this every now and then a snapshot occurs. This essentially throws away all the transaction history and resets the IOTA ledger to a list of all the addresses that have a nonzero balance and of course their balances.
After the snapshot processing resumes and a new Tangle grows on this basic ledger. Until it grows so big that another snapshot is required.
In the future nodes will decide for themselves when to do a snapshot, but at the moment this is still a synchronized operation. The snapshot ledger is prepared by the IOTA team, then it is verified that it contains all the transaction history correctly by a number of nodes, and only when the consensus is that the snapshot data contains no errors the green light is given and every node out there will switch to this new ledger at the same time.

Do I care and why?
Well you definitely should. At least as long as your wallet takes its state information from the Tangle, like the light wallets are doing at the moment. The wallet stores absolutely no state information on your device. That means it has to use the seed you provide at login to generate addresses one by one, check if these addresses are used in a transaction already, and if they are it knows that it already gave out those addresses and can retrieve the balances of these addresses to give you your total wallet balance.

However, since the snapshot removes all transaction history from the Tangle, the wallet loses all its state information and therefore will show you a zero balance after the snapshot! Don't worry. This is expected. All you need to do is reattach all previously used receive addresses to the tangle manually.

Wait, what?

Yep, because IOTA was designed for the Internet of Things, and those devices follow simple rules with extreme precision and patience, this is no problem for the IoT devices. They will happily and patiently reattach every address they ever used to the Tangle. Our problem is that we are no IoT devices. And the wallets at the moment don't hide this tedious process behind the scenes. So we will have to do this manually so that we can see our balance being restored.

One additional important reason to do this is to avoid re-using any addresses that we have used before the snapshot, so we don't end up with multi-spends from these addresse and won't be subjected to hackers intercepting out transactions.

I know, WTF, right? But this is what happens when beta software gains large acceptance before the hurdles get ironed out. We can complain all we want about this but fact it we will have to deal with this until the next generation of wallets come out that do this stuff automatically behind the scenes.

Preparations that will help you get through the snapshot.
There are a few things you can do in preparation of a snapshot. One is to log into your wallet using your seed, go to the history section, then click on addresses. You now want to make a note of the amount of addresses used, plus the what the first and last address are.
That way, when you want to restore the wallet after the snapshot, you have some data that can assist you in knowing:
1. whether you are in the correct seed. (You can compare the first receive address you re-attach with the one you wrote down)
2. how many times you will have to re-attach receive addresses for your funds to show up.

Knowing this is having won half the battle. You know immediately if you are in the correct seed. And you know exactly how many re-attachments it will take to regain your balance. Fort the rest it is just a tedious process.

After the snapshot, if you have any doubts, just follow the steps as detailed in this article:
https://forum.helloiota.com/588/Help-My-IOTA-balance-is-zero-steps-to-help-you-find-your-balance-v254
ProfessorHase
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Wow, Eric, thanks for the great explanation!
gowerman
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EricHop - 12 Dec 2017
I am getting questions all the time about the upcoming snapshot so I thought I would write up how best to prepare for the snapshot.

What is a snapshot?
IOTA's nodes are receiving transactions in a staggering amount. They need to keep track of them all and sort through them. This means ever increasing memory and CPU requirements. To combat this every now and then a snapshot occurs. This essentially throws away all the transaction history and resets the IOTA ledger to a list of all the addresses that have a nonzero balance and of course their balances.
After the snapshot processing resumes and a new Tangle grows on this basic ledger. Until it grows so big that another snapshot is required.
In the future nodes will decide for themselves when to do a snapshot, but at the moment this is still a synchronized operation. The snapshot ledger is prepared by the IOTA team, then it is verified that it contains all the transaction history correctly by a number of nodes, and only when the consensus is that the snapshot data contains no errors the green light is given and every node out there will switch to this new ledger at the same time.

Do I care and why?
Well you definitely should. At least as long as your wallet takes its state information from the Tangle, like the light wallets are doing at the moment. The wallet stores absolutely no state information on your device. That means it has to use the seed you provide at login to generate addresses one by one, check if these addresses are used in a transaction already, and if they are it knows that it already gave out those addresses and can retrieve the balances of these addresses to give you your total wallet balance.

However, since the snapshot removes all transaction history from the Tangle, the wallet loses all its state information and therefore will show you a zero balance after the snapshot! Don't worry. This is expected. All you need to do is reattach all previously used receive addresses to the tangle manually.

Wait, what?

Yep, because IOTA was designed for the Internet of Things, and those devices follow simple rules with extreme precision and patience, this is no problem for the IoT devices. They will happily and patiently reattach every address they ever used to the Tangle. Our problem is that we are no IoT devices. And the wallets at the moment don't hide this tedious process behind the scenes. So we will have to do this manually so that we can see our balance being restored.

One additional important reason to do this is to avoid re-using any addresses that we have used before the snapshot, so we don't end up with multi-spends from these addresse and won't be subjected to hackers intercepting out transactions.

I know, WTF, right? But this is what happens when beta software gains large acceptance before the hurdles get ironed out. We can complain all we want about this but fact it we will have to deal with this until the next generation of wallets come out that do this stuff automatically behind the scenes.

Preparations that will help you get through the snapshot.
There are a few things you can do in preparation of a snapshot. One is to log into your wallet using your seed, go to the history section, then click on addresses. You now want to make a note of the amount of addresses used, plus the what the first and last address are.
That way, when you want to restore the wallet after the snapshot, you have some data that can assist you in knowing:
1. whether you are in the correct seed. (You can compare the first receive address you re-attach with the one you wrote down)
2. how many times you will have to re-attach receive addresses for your funds to show up.

Knowing this is having won half the battle. You know immediately if you are in the correct seed. And you know exactly how many re-attachments it will take to regain your balance. Fort the rest it is just a tedious process.

After the snapshot, if you have any doubts, just follow the steps as detailed in this article:
https://forum.helloiota.com/588/Help-My-IOTA-balance-is-zero-steps-to-help-you-find-your-balance-v254

Is that mean that if you run desktop wallet as a full node the balance stay as it is and you don't need to reattach addresses to see balance after snapshot?

S.Lee
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Hi all,

I want to ask if is it better to pause all activities with my wallet (light Wallet) until the next snapshot? How i understand the risk rises with pending transaction and amount of adresses.

Some People said that its more secure to store the Tokens on an exchange, but i dont know when my Transaction get confirmet and i dont trust Exchanges anymore.

best regard

Edited Last Month by S.Lee
Winston
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S.Lee - 12 Dec 2017

Hi all,

I want to ask if is it better to pause all activities with my wallet (light Wallet) until the next snapshot? How i understand the risk rises with pending transaction and amount of adresses.

Some People said that its more secure to store the Tokens on an exchange, but i dont know when my Transaction get confirmet and i dont trust Exchanges anymore.

best regard

@S.Lee Good question. Pending transactions will simply be cancelled in the snapshot. This isn't a big deal at all, since you can just send the transaction again after the snapshot is over. There is no risk of losing funds
Jason
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Great post Eric. Question, I have been with IOTA from the very beginning, and unfortunately I have not seen my balance since Aug 4th, before the snapshot. I have generated many new addresses and nothing is showing up. What can I do?
Winston
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Jason - 12 Dec 2017
Great post Eric. Question, I have been with IOTA from the very beginning, and unfortunately I have not seen my balance since Aug 4th, before the snapshot. I have generated many new addresses and nothing is showing up. What can I do?

@jcwalker3 Hey Jason, I know this question is for Eric, but I can also attempt to point you in the right direction -- I would try out the Balance Finder Tool and see what it returns
Rodrigo Guerra
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Translation to PT - BR here
Tradução do artigo "How do I prepare for a snapshot?" para Português BR aqui
https://iotabase.info/2017/12/13/prepare-snapshot/
Edited Last Month by Rodrigo Guerra
EricHop
EricHop
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Winston - 12 Dec 2017
S.Lee - 12 Dec 2017

Hi all,

I want to ask if is it better to pause all activities with my wallet (light Wallet) until the next snapshot? How i understand the risk rises with pending transaction and amount of adresses.

Some People said that its more secure to store the Tokens on an exchange, but i dont know when my Transaction get confirmet and i dont trust Exchanges anymore.

best regard

@S.Lee Good question. Pending transactions will simply be cancelled in the snapshot. This isn't a big deal at all, since you can just send the transaction again after the snapshot is over. There is no risk of losing funds

Sending transaction again will expose a second part of your private key. I am hoping the new IRI / snapshot will plug this hole or a lot of people *will* get their money stolen.
Roxanne
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Thank you Eric. I was away from my iota account for a while though all my iota are in the latest version of the wallet. I tried to send 1 iota(just a test) from one iota wallet to another. It never confirmed. (And I completely forgot about not sending another transaction before trying another, so I tried another test transfer -this time with only 30 iota, not miota). I tried reattaching both of them and changing nodes re-attaching several time last week but they both remain unconfirmed in the history of the receiving wallet. I also think I did this last week during the snapshot that I think just took place (though I'm not sure when it was supposed to happen. I could not find the specific dates on any forum). I'm not sure what to do at this time. I check the bundle hashes at ioasear.ch and it shows them as all unconfirmed. I'm not sure what to do now. I'm not sure if the snapshot is still happening. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. ​
VALLEY BOY
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Good day Eric, Winston was not able to find my addresses (4) in my wallet (light)....I purchased all of my IOTA's early part of November....the addresses were cut and pasted for Winston to locate...1 of the balances shows, but the other 3 are in history with having 2 letters or initials attached to them.....

Is it a possibility that these addresses were not in the old SNAPSHOT.....I read an article that a new SNAPSHOT will happen soon........here are the addresses that were in included in their hashes, which I located in the history section:

VDAAEWWAIYEUJP99PRLGXVATNQWHZCIBVZBHRNKUACYEXQGAGWMHR9BKHPZMPWVCSVTFICXNYUOZGXFTWOICTCTRLW
60 Mi

ZKXJPSLH99LACLJMSCQSHWVOBYTVEDG9PLRYLYNGDWKOZBVVZEF9XH9Z9HTEBKKFXYONFZMJQTVTFNOUWLVNKAGZCB
100 Mi

ZACTHBQCCXSRRDHDJBXHEKMKBHQABFOYMQUOCBLNQZPQLQKQEZNGGRE9EAUUYELSSQCIKXTMAMVJVINSAQKDHJQSQX   RE ?
90 Mi

ZACTHBQCCXSRRDHDJBXHEKMKBHQABFOYMQUOCBLNQZPQLQKQEZNGGRE9EAUUYELSSQCIKXTMAMVJVINSAQKDHJQSQX   WC ?
10 Mi

Cryptroll
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It was designed for the IoT. It's in beta phase.

Why is it even on the exchange platforms?

Bluebrain
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Because people already want to trade it.
VALLEY BOY
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Cryptroll - 20 Dec 2017
It was designed for the IoT. It's in beta phase.

Why is it even on the exchange platforms?

I was not able to read your reply...I sent concern to Eric initially.......I was just notified to my gmail account that you replied instead of Eric.


Can you shed some light on this

Thank you

Cryptroll
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Bluebrain - 20 Dec 2017
Because people already want to trade it.

But I cannot trade them...That's the problem, isn't it?
I've got them on my own wallet and cannot send them away. So how do I trade them?

Confirmations are taking too long or don't even happen without reattachments...the new wallet 2.5.5. didn't make it better, but worse afaik.

oldlee
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If you have used many of addresses, in order to avoid the tedious address reattach process, you can generate a new seed and send all your funds to the address of the new seed before the snapshot.
tyz
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Cryptroll - 20 Dec 2017
It was designed for the IoT. It's in beta phase.

Why is it even on the exchange platforms?

Nearly all crypto coins are in alpha or beta. For instance, the version of Bitcoin core is 0.15.1.
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