Image: There has been some talk about that you need to claim IOTAs else you lose them - it gets a little misinterpreted. People image via Pexels.
For a guide to securing your IOTA storage go to the Security section.
If you don’t care for the fluff skip right to the zero-balance fix.
First things first - it’s a regular fixture on IOTA subreddits to see people panic over their zero balances in the IOTA GUI wallet. Unfortunately one of the first links that come up in Google when you start asking is a link to a Reddit post where someone mentions an excerpt out of context:
if you don’t claim your IOTAs during snapshots, i.e. transfer the tokens from the old database (before the snapshot) to the new one (after the snapshot), you will lose all the IOTAs stored in your seed.
This however comes from an older version of the IOTA development roadmap and was only addressing people who bought in during the crowdsale. They needed to claim their IOTAs before the first snapshot. There is no need to claim IOTAs now.
The snapshots however are a regular thing and so are updates of the IOTA wallet.
If you have the GUI wallet you must have downloaded it from Github from the latest release section. You downloaded it manually, not with a package manager and not from an app store, which means you will also have to do updates manually.
Generally, the first thing you should do if your IOTA wallet starts showing zero balance is to check the release page at github.com/iotaledger/wallet/releases/ and your wallet version. Download and replace your wallet software before proceeding with getting rid of the glitch.
What are IOTA snapshots
Snapshotting occurs in IOTA from time to time. It is done to prevent the tangle from becoming too big (like Ethereum’s - the ETH blockchain has a different solution for this though). During the snapshot all balances are saved - the only time it was different was the very first snapshot where crowdsale investors needed to claim their IOTAs and some other early snapshots.
The network design has since been changed and manual claiming for coins in current seeds is no longer necessary. There is no claim function in the IOTA wallet 2.5.1 but if you have old forgotten IOTAs on an outdated IOTA seed (not one only made of letters and 9s) you might still need to claim them. Do that on the IOTA Slack or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should still follow IOTA development because claiming might be needed in the future if there’s a substantial code change. Sadly with IOTA you cannot really buy and hold, having forgotten you bought, but that is not because of the snapshots.
So during the IOTA snapshot balances stay in place - what is destroyed during the snapshot are the transaction data. The history is removed, it starts from scratch again, but balances stay where they were before the snapshot.
The only complication from a user point of view is that their wallet’s addresses start from fresh too - like they never have been attached to tangle. The tangle can’t see them until you attach the addresses back to it.
So finally for the fix.
Since the IOTA wallet release v2.5.6 in December 2017 the problem with reattaching should be diminished as the devs added a “promotion” feature to the wallet. That applies mainly to failed unconfirmed outgoing transactions but generally in the future the reattach feature should disappear.
How to fix IOTA wallet zero balance issue
- Make sure you have the latest version of the IOTA wallet.
- Log in with your seed. – More on IOTA seed generation.
- Click receive to generate your receiving address.
- Click ‘attach to tangle’ and wait for the process to complete.
- If the first attachment didn’t fix the issue, go to ‘Tools’ - ‘Edit Node Config’ - ‘minWeightMagnitude’, set the value to 14, save and attach again.
- If the attaching takes longer than 10 minutes you should change to another node.
You can try attaching to tangle for as long as you want, eventually your balance will show up. If you skipped the previous part: Your IOTA coins are most likely not lost, the zero balance is just a result of the regular snapshots.
If you have lost your balance and reattaching doesn’t work, it might be a more serious issue. Check the receiving address your wallet generated in an IOTA explorer (thetangle.org or iotasear.ch) to see if there are any outgoing transactions. If there are some, it means the address was used for sending before and is not a safe receiving address. Always check your address like this before you send in some new money to an address. Apparently after snapshots the IOTA wallet sometimes generates addresses that had been used before, if there are outgoing transactions it will drain your IOTA. Here’s a thread on r/IOTA about the issue.
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About the author
Written by KarlVonBahnhof
KarlVonBahnhof also on Reddit, Chris belongs to the crypto trader class of 2013. Located in the Americas most of the time, you're most likely to meet at r/BitcoinMarkets though.
Opinions are author's own.