Buy $100 worth of crypto and get a bonus $10

  • Trade crypto and digital assets
  • Significant sign-up bonuses
  • The most trusted finance platform

Disclaimer: eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. Your capital is at risk. This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) &USA (by eToro USA LLC) which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections & not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.

  • Home
  • >News
  • >Solana Suffers Another Outage to Start 2022, Is This a Trend?

Solana Suffers Another Outage to Start 2022, Is This a Trend?

Blockchain network Solana has experienced four outages in a short span of six months. Users couldn’t use the network reliably at instances in September, December and twice in January. It’s a bit jarring for users of the network — considering it’s one of the hottest things in crypto right now.

Users are less than impressed, and competitors are looking to capitalize on those failures. Yes, fledgling blockchain projects are bound to have a few hitches but Solana needs to change tact — the stakes in crypto are high and there is always competition.

Solana and Arbitrum both went dark this week.

What's Solana?

Solana is a blockchain platform that powers scalable and decentralized applications (DApps). It was launched in April 2020 by software engineer Anatoly Yakovenko. The project’s main selling point is ultra-fast transaction speeds and low gas fees. It can muster between 50,000-65,000 transactions per second (TPS), making it one of the fastest — if not the fastest — crypto network at press time.

Solana is one of the so-called ‘Ethereum killers’, a moniker given to emerging blockchain projects that offer the same functionalities as Ethereum or even better. When you think of smart contracts, DApps, DeFi, NFTs, Solana has it all, but faster and cheaper than Ethereum.

So far, Solana has been incredibly successful. In 2021, SOL — its native currency, rose by a dizzying 13,000%, going from about $1 to more than $260 USD. Apart from the dramatic price increase, Solana is also ultra-fast for a fraction of the cost. And unlike Ethereum which is characterized by network congestion, the Solana network is highly scalable. Or at least, it was supposed to be. TPS and low fees are the main reasons users are flocking to the network.

However, recent downtimes are a blot on the perfect picture of Solana.

Woes Galore

In September of 2021, users waited for an excruciating 17 hours after the network suffered an outage due to ‘resource exhaustion’. Solana attributed the downtime to an overflow of transactions by bots after the launch of an initial decentralized exchange offering on Raydium, a DeFi platform on Solana.

The massive flood of transactions was too much for the mainnet, causing it to freeze and eventually halt. Solana said the “resource-heavy blocks” caused validators to run out of memory, and that’s when the network went down. Network engineers together with 1000+ validators initiated a hard fork with an 80% approval from stakeholders. On the same day, SOL’s price plunged by 35% (although it quickly recovered).

The network went down yet again on December 9th, but this time it wasn’t as bad. It was also hush-hush. It’s said to have been hit by a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). Solana-based non-fungible token (NFT) platform Blockasset was the first to notice token distributions were slow.

GenesysGo, an infrastructure platform for users and developers, also highlighted the issue, noting the low pace with which transactions were being processed.

However, the network remained online throughout, and Solana execs did not confirm the reports.

The most recent downtime happened in early January when Solana faltered due to a DDoS attack. Users are not privy to what caused the incident, but Wu Blockchain reported the network had gone down due to a suspected spam attack.

However, the developers quickly sought to correct the record, stating “there was some congestion due to mismetered transactions”, which caused  congestion. Coinbase also filed an incident report of “degraded performance” that may cause failed transactions. The issue occurred at 12:00 PST and was resolved about 6 hours later.

In less than a week, Solana experienced congestion issues again, with Binance telling users to expect the pausing of transactions. The congestion was caused by high compute transactions that brought down the TPS of Solana to several thousands, a paltry amount compared to the 50,000+ possible.

Crypto Community Responds

Solana is the current star of the cryptoverse, and for good reason. However, the recent events might shake the confidence of users – developers, traders, and investors, to name a few.

After the particularly disastrous 17-hour outage, Solana promised a ‘detailed postmortem’ of what happened in the coming weeks.

But that’s not enough to assuage critics and users of the platform. Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood tore into the less-than-decentralized structure of Solana. “Events of today just go to show that genuine decentralisation and well-designed security make a more valuable proposition” than the much-hyped TPS numbers of Solana that come from “exclusive and closed set of servers.” He added that if a user cannot run a full node, ala Bitcoin or Ethereum, “then it’s just another bank.”

FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-fried told Bloomberg, as reported by Business Insider, that the 17-hour outage was “sad and frustrating.”

What Does This Mean For Solana?

While blockchain projects have their weaknesses, Solana’s successive outages are particularly alarming. Did Solana over-promise? Does it value scalability more than stability? These are some of the concerns around it.

Furthermore, reactions such as Wood’s and those of Redditors highlight a contentious issue in cryptophere — centralization.

Much has been made about decentralization or the lack of it and projects that claim to be decentralized — but when you look under the hood, they’re more centralized than decentralized. Centralization, where a few at the top call the shots, is against everything the original idea of cryptocurrency stands for.

SOL’s sharp decline by 35% in September demonstrates how such ordeals can affect trader sentiment. If they persist, then it can wipe off user confidence in the project.

At the same time, a few hiccups here and there don’t spell doom for the network. Events like successive security breaches might more reliably predict the future of a network. If DDoS attacks, outages and high gas fees broke the trust of users, many networks including Ethereum would be dead by now.

Final Thoughts

It’s normal for a nascent project to experience growing pains. That’s especially true for Solana, a cryptocurrency project that pledges to deliver the Ethereum experience better than Ethereum has.

While teething problems are expected, that doesn’t mean Solana can let these issues go unaddressed. Countless users are banking on the best version of the project. Solana needs to shape up, and fast.

Article Tags
Hope Mutie

About the Author

Hope Mutie

Hope Mutie is a professional writer and editor whose interests include fintech, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. She engages with crypto audiences by curating content that’s fun-to-read, educational, and offers unmatched value. Hope is part of the brilliant team at Go Full Crypto – a podcast and service that enables your transition into crypto.

Back To Top