Is IOTA less secure than Bitcoin? Hans Moog clears up the criticism

  • IOTA is not merely less secure than Bitcoin because a larger number of nodes will presumably use the pruning mode. 
  • According to Hans Moog, developing several independent nodes is the best protection to prevent an inflation bug.

IOTA has always faced a massive amount of criticism in the past, with the biggest criticism always being that the Tangle is less secure than the Bitcoin blockchain. In a recent interview, German YouTuber “Blocktrainer” reiterated this argument, stating that it is not only less secure, but will also lead to a centralization of nodes. The YouTuber reasoned this with the fact that only a few nodes will store the complete history of all IOTA transactions in the network:

IOTA does not remember the history of a transaction, but only remembers the input on an address and this state is what is remembered. But if you now imagine IOTA being used internationally, […] there would be so much load in this network beyond a certain basic noise that a low-cost node would no longer be able to handle it. In other words, there are again only single nodes that know everything […] and then you have node centralization.

Hans Moog, one of the most prominent developers at the IOTA Foundation didn’t miss the opportunity to dispel this “myth.” As Moog stated, it is true that IOTA nodes can be configured to delete old data that is no longer needed, but that does not make the system “any less secure.” In fact, Moog said, Bitcoin has the exact same option with “pruning mode” that was introduced with Bitcoin Core 0.11 in 2014.

The reason why Bitcoin, Ethereum, IOTA and pretty much any major cryptocurrency that exists has such a feature in their node software, is due to the fact that it does not impact the security and nodes do not even access this old data anymore as part of their consensus mechanism.

Moog admitted that IOTA nodes will produce more data than Bitcoin nodes, so there will “most likely be more people” enabling pruning mode and fewer people maintaining a full history of everything that has ever happened. The YouTuber argues that this will make it harder to find bugs like an inflation bug. But concluding from this that there is less security is wrong, he says:

This is of course not entirely wrong but even IOTA nodes will store the recent history of at least a few weeks or even months. I don’t think that finding a bug years later is of any use – nobody would agree to roll back the Bitcoin network to a state of i.e. 2018 if you would discover a bug in that time period.

The better way to catch bugs in node software is to have “multiple different implementations by multiple teams so if one is broken, only the nodes using that software will fall out of sync.” This is exactly what IOTA has done  with Bee and Hornet, according to the IOTA developer.

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