Prepare for the April 29, 6:00 UTC IOTA Snapshot
Basically, without going into too much detail, a snapshot reduces the size it takes for nodes to save the entire Tangle (to disk). In the foreseeable future, this process will be automated. At the time of this writing, it is a coordinated roll-out usually in tandem with an update of the node software (“IRI”).
The snapshot compacts the Tangle by removing parts of its history, except addresses with value.
The good: Your IOTA tokens are 100% safe, even if you do not do anything, are on vacation during the snapshot period or on a trip to the moon!
The bad: If you log into the wallet with your seed sometime after the snapshot, your wallet might report a zero balance and might not be able to see the transaction history you’ve become so used to. Don’t worry!
Before the snapshot
Log into the official IOTA wallet with your seed. Go to HISTORY. Copy
a) the address of the first transaction ever made,
b) the address of the most recent address ever made and
c) the total number of addresses and
paste these three bits of information somewhere for later. In my case, these would be:
You don’t have to apply extra security. If somebody copies the address information, nothing harmful can be done, except from looking up how much IOTA you own.
After the snapshot
Log into your wallet with your seed.
Go to the RECEIVE section and hit GENERATE NEW ADDRESS. Compare the generated address with the first address you saved earlier (a). They should be exactly the same. If they are, it validates that you’re using the correct seed.
ATTACH this address TO TANGLE.
Keep on generating receive addresses until the one generated matches the one you saved as the most recent address earlier (b).
You’ve effectively reconstructed the address history on the Tangle and your wallet should now show the correct balance.
While this might sound a bit intimidating, it is a pretty straight forward process. Depending largely on the performance of the node you’re connected to and the total number of addresses, it only takes a few minutes.