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Solana Blockchain Blackout: What Happened?

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Solana Blockchain Blackout: What Happened?
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Solana blockchain experienced another network outage on June 1. The outage, caused by a bug, resulted in a temporary stoppage of block production on Solana Mainnet Beta. Validator operators had to initiate a restart to get the network up and running.  

Solana Blockchain Suffered Another Outage

Solana blockchain records eight outages in the last 12 months. As reported by Solana status on Twitter, block production on Solana Mainnet Beta was halted for more than four hours on June 1. 

This was caused by a bug in the so-called “durable nonce transactions” feature. This bug caused nodes to generate different results for the same block, which in turn, prevented the network from advancing. 

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In other words, the Solana blockchain had a chain split problem that caused nodes to disagree, thereby breaking consensus. 

According to tweets from Richard Patel, chain splits are a class of bugs that are hard to prevent entirely even with large test coverage, and they can affect any chain.

In addition, the user noted that using multiple node implementations would be an effective way to guard against chain split bugs. This approach limits the impact of a single bug below a consensus-breaking threshold. Patel further noted that Solana will require a cluster-wide restart to recover. 

Subsequently, following a set of instructions from the Solana dev

elopers team, validator operators completed a cluster restart of Solana Mainnet Beta to reach a consensus. 

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This means that the Solana network was restarted with the durable nonce feature disabled. It then took some hours for network operators and dApps to restore client services. 

However, during the blackout period, the network’s state and funds remained secured. Whereas, the token price has been in a downtrend following the occurrence. 

Understanding Durable Nonce Transactions

The durable nonce is the mechanism that addresses the short lifetime of a transaction block hash. A bug in this feature causes nodes to generate different outputs.

In other words, a durable nonce is a way in which a transaction can be signed offline ahead of time, without requiring a recent block hash, which expires after two minutes. 

Investors Wary of Solana Blockchain Outages

Solana has been one of the most performing coins in previous months, gaining admirable adoption. However, its lasting flaws have somewhat hindered the expected surge of the project.  

Slowly, it is becoming a normalcy for the Solana blockchain to experience halts. While some investors now have doubts about the project, some see these outages as mere bumps in the road. 

On May 1, 2022, the network was halted for about seven hours before a successful restart. Reportedly, an increase in transactions was the cause. 

Still in May 2022, it suffered several degraded performances and service disruptions. More so, the network revealed that its blockchain clock was slower, running about 30 minutes behind real-world time.

In April, it also went down after NFT mining bots overwhelmed its network. 

As aforementioned, the recent network outage makes it the eighth time in 12 months. In turn, investors are slowly losing trust in the token as evidenced by the recent high volume of sell-offs. 

At press time, Solana (SOL) is trading at $37 from an all-time high of approximately $260. 

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