According to an insider, a so-called “insane amount of data” flooded the proof-of-stake Solana chain, knocking validators out of consensus and grinding still block production.
“A bunch of the top validators were down for a while, which caused a chain halt,” the source said. “I believe this was due to an incorrect clock on one of the full nodes … A restart is currently in progress and should be completed shortly.”
The data storm appears to have begun around 10:30 p.m. Pacific on Sunday and continued until 5 a.m. the next morning, according to data from Solana’s GitHub page. Block production resumed Monday afternoon at 4:10 p.m., with block 7,196 being accepted by the network
Solana is an Ethereum competitor founded in 2017, designed by Juan Benet, a Puerto Rican crypto entrepreneur behind the Filecoin project. The Solana blockchain was designed for fast processing speeds. Initial Coin Offering (ICO) Solana raised $20 million in funding from investors like Multicoin Capital and Bain Capital Ventures.
The company has not yet issued an official statement regarding the outage, but the network will be forced to address its consensus issues sooner rather than later if it wants to become a viable competitor in the market.
As many other blockchain projects face setbacks due to low scalability and lack of security solutions, companies such as Solana look like they might just have what it takes to become one of the top contenders in the crypto-verse.
The problem started when bots swarmed Candy Machine, a popular NFT minting tool, on Saturday. There were about four million transaction requests and over 100 gigabits of data every second. A record amount of data processing for Solana.
The team was able to successfully process the data and keep the network up, but a large number of requests were left unconfirmed. This resulted in a backlog of transactions that caused the network to go offline for about seven hours on Sunday. The team has since resolved the issue and the network is now back up and running.
Block production on Solana became impossible and the network went dark at 4:32 p.m. EST. By 11:00 p.m. EST, validators (coordinating through Solana’s Discord channels and a Google doc created by one of the validators) restarted the cluster at slot 131973970.
This incident highlights the need for Solana to address its scalability issues if it wants to compete with other blockchains in the space.
At the moment, Solana can only handle about 50k transactions per second. Ethereum, on the other hand, can handle about 15k transactions per second.
According to Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko, the issue came to his attention on Twitter. He then alerted the team, who took action to restart the cluster.
Solana chain services like Phantom wallet and decentralized exchange Mango Markets could not operate normally after the attack. The outage contributed to a brief drawdown in SOL markets.
According to CoinGecko, the price of Solana’s native token dropped $83.13 about three hours into the outage before climbing back toward $89. At the time of this writing, SOL is trading hands at $88.69.
This is not the first time that Solana has had issues with its network. In December 2020, the network went down for several hours due to a Denial-of-Service attack. So, while Solana might have what it takes to become a top blockchain project, it will need to solve its scalability issues first.