Scaling will always remain a critical problem in the world of cryptocurrency. Even IOTA, which was designed to be infinitely scalable, has encountered issues in its early stages. The network experienced a massive DDoS attack last night as the number of public nodes wasn’t sufficient to handle the network “spam” coming in. This is a very worrisome development, although it’s one that can be solved with relative ease.
IOTA Network Needs More Nodes
It is evident that any cryptocurrency out there can suffer from scalability issues. The best solution to this problem is a solid decentralized network of peers to back everything up. In the case of IOTA, network growth has been less than stellar, and it even caused a major bottleneck Monday night. More specifically, the network suffered a spam attack which flooded the public nodes and caused transaction delays.
For a network that prides itself on being “infinitely scalable”, that was not a positive development whatsoever. It was one of the first times the IOTA network was put through its paces, and issues arose pretty much immediately. It seems this was mainly due to a limited number of public nodes on the network. Without sufficient nodes, any “flood” of data will not be processed quickly enough to keep the network going. This is why Bitcoin requires thousands of nodes in order to operate.
According to the IOTA team, these transaction delays were caused by a “spam attack”. More specifically, a spammer flooded the public IOTA nodes, although it’s not clear how this was achieved exactly. Consequently, those nodes became overloaded, causing the network to clog up. This issue was alleviated by lowering the number of transactions per second on the network, but it is not a course of action the community likes to see take place.
Without more full nodes on the IOTA network, issues like this one will continue to come up. There is a decent guide out there on how to set one up, and it is not overly difficult to do so. This problem is not unique to IOTA, mind you, as any major cryptocurrency without sufficient network nodes will run into similar problems sooner or later. Making it easier to run a full node and improving peer discovery would be two options well worth exploring by the project’s developers.
Addressing this problem in the near future will not be all that easy. For a decentralized network, spinning nodes up all over the world without relying on centralized solutions will take a lot of time and effort. A long-term solution would entail massive adoption on the part of the IoT community, and whether or not that will ever happen remains to be seen.
For the time being, it seems this issue has not affected the IOTA price all that much. It was somewhat surprising to see the price per MIOTA rise to nearly US$1 out of the blue, especially given these problems. Then again, anyone who wants this ecosystem to succeed can easily create their own full node and help alleviate a lot of these concerns in the process. Whether or not people will be incentivized to do so remains to be seen.