As we’ve pointed out earlier this year, Solana needed desperately to shake the ghosts of its past regarding network outages.
Well… It didn’t.
On Saturday, April 30, around 20:30 UTC, as per Solana’s statement: “Solana’s Mainnet Beta cluster ceased producing blocks as a result of a stalled consensus”.
It took validators roughly seven hours to pinpoint the network’s furthest progress and then restart it.
What caused the Solana outage?
In simple terms: the network was overwhelmed by bots.
Solana aimed at user friendliness by means of deliberate policy of fixed transaction fees, rather than having, for example, dynamic gas fees.
As a result, the network is constantly “hammered” with a lot of transactions, meaning that the whole appeal of Solana is one of the reasons it seems to be failing.
However, in this particular situation, that was not the case.
As bots flooded Solana with transactions, validators simply lost consensus, meaning that they were not able to agree upon the current state of the network.
The Proof-of-Stake network was in fact overwhelmed by an estimated four to six million transactions per second, something which obviously affected the production process for new blocks.
In what appears to be bots attempting to programaticaly win NFTs via a known program (Candy Machine), inbound transactions flooded the network to the tune of 100 Gbps of traffic at its individual nodes, causing validators to run out of memory and eventually crashing.
Since there was a fixed floor on the mind price, the first participant to call the mint would receive the NFT, a strategy which incentivizes transactions as to win the mint; and, well, the rest is history.
How did Solana fix the network outage problem?
Solana’s validators needed to regain consensus and that was only possible to achieve was to go back to the block in which consensus was maintain amongst all validators and, after pinpointing it, restart it from there.
What is being done to address Solana network outages?
Solana’s latest press release conveyed their message loud and clear: “fees are coming to Solana”.
State auctions will attempt to solve what is known as the database “hotspot” problem by means of prioritizing which work is done and which one fails.
Solana’s prioritization will focus on the impact of the specific state, rather than the whole block.
What is Solana’s database “hotspot” problem?
Solana’s transactions instead of interacting with its state specify the states in which they need to read and write. And while reads may overlap and be parallelized, the writes cannot.
The beta argument and what the real Solana problem might be
Many Solana enthusiasts will tell you that Solana is only in its beta stage.
However, real money is pouring in like it’s the real deal, the full release.
Beta things should be done on a test net and not in production.
The “mainnet beta” seems to be facing issues which one could expect to see in an early development stage and even if they are properly settled long term, events like this still make a dent in investor confidence.
Is it a good Idea to buy Solana right now?
The project’s outages and constant run-ins with bots might frustrate some traders, while others still have an adamant faith in it.
When even stablecoins are crumbling by not being able to maintain themselves pegged to the underlying, it might be best to reassess strategies before committing to anything.
Solana was once billed as one of the hottest rising projects in crypto and while some believe this to be a dip, others are staying clear of the market until things make sense again.
But regardless of what is going on with the markets, only you should know where you stand.
Remember to do you own research and let us know what you think about Solana in the comment section below.