Another Solana Outage Highlights Network Inefficiencies

The Solana network has suffered its seventh outage this year as bots took down the network over the weekend.

The often dubbed “Ethereum killer” has itself been killed several times this year. The most recent outage for Solana came on Sunday when validators went offline for seven hours.

Solana suffered its latest setback due to non-fungible token (NFT) minting bots overwhelming the network. Furthermore, the deluge resulted in six million transactions per second congesting the system. This caused validators to be knocked out of consensus, resulting in Solana going down at around 20.00 UTC on April 30.

On May 3, Solana posted an outage and mitigation report. It explained that bots targeted an application called Candy Machine. This is used by Solana NFT projects to launch collections. Additionally, the team explained that:

“The specific reason why consensus stalled was due to validators running out of memory and crashing.”

Mitigation Efforts

In the report, Solana stated that it was working on three methods of mitigation:

  • QUIC – this is a protocol built by Google designed for fast asynchronous communication and will be implemented.
  • Stake-weighted transaction QoS – this will allow nodes with 0.5% stake to transmit at least 0.5% of the packets.
  • Fee-based execution priority – users will have the ability to specify an arbitrary “additional fee” to be collected upon execution of the transaction.

Furthermore, the new fee structure will enable Solana to manage resources better. Higher paying transactions will get priority overwriting to blocks. This should reduce the bot problem.

The Strata Protocol also posted an explanation and update on development work to alleviate future issues. They suggested using dynamic minting fees to prevent bots spamming the system.

Not The First Time

It is not the first time Solana has suffered outages according to its uptime report. The network was plagued with problems in early January. They caused partial outages for up to 18 hours at a time.

Furthermore, between January 21 and 22, the network went down for almost 30 hours. This was due to excessive duplicate transactions causing congestion.

September 2021 was also a bad month for the network with two outages. Solana suffered a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack which knocked it offline.

Solana claims to offer 50,000 transactions per second. However, that figure is moot if it is at the expense of reliability and stability. Yes, Ethereum is slower and more expensive to use. However, it can’t be beaten for those two attributes (reliability and stability). This is why it is still the industry standard despite the gas fees.

SOL Price Outlook

SOL prices have taken a hit due to the latest outage. As a result, the token tanked almost 13% over the past week. At the time of writing, SOL was trading at $88.23, according to CoinGecko.

Furthermore, the once darling of crypto has lost 66% from its November all-time high of $260.

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