In brief

  • IOTA shut down following a hack. Over the weekend, the Foundation announced it's switching it back on.
  • It'll go live on March 10.
  • The disruption raises issues about the centralization of the project.

The team responsible for temporarily shutting down “decentralized” blockchain network IOTA last month announced on Saturday that it will switch it back on next Tuesday, March 10.

An attack on IOTA on February 12 resulted in the theft of several million dollars worth of IOTA tokens. The day after, the IOTA Foundation, which develops the tokens, announced that it had “paused” the Coordinator, the IOTA-run node that validates the network’s transactions. 

The hack, which IOTA determined likely involved the theft of seed phrases, affected anyone who used the desktop version of IOTA’s crypto wallet, Trinity, from December 19, 2019 to February 17, 2020. 


On Saturday, the team announced the beginning of a “seed migration” phase, whereafter customers affected by the hack should move IOTA tokens from potentially compromised seeds onto a new, unaffected seed. 

If an at-risk customer doesn’t move their funds, “there is a risk that tokens associated with your Seed could be stolen once the coordinator is reenabled,” wrote the Foundation in a blog post. 

That the IOTA Foundation switched off the network demonstrated to its critics that the protocol isn’t entirely decentralized or open-source, as expected for a blockchain project. 

Moreover, the Foundation temporarily refused to publish the source code of the new tool, and, though it’s submitted the new tool for external audit, it is “confident that it does exactly what it is supposed to do — and nothing more.”


“In this situation of duress after a successful cyber-attack, we hope that we can be forgiven for taking extra security precautions,” the team wrote.

Going forward, the IOTA Foundation might heed its own advice: “By removing the need for trusted third-parties as the gatekeepers and arbiters of truth, enormous efficiency gains, innovation opportunities and new value propositions emerge,” reads its mission statement.

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