The Solana blockchain came to a grinding halt Tuesday morning around 10:22 UTC due to a major network outage. The incident prevented the production of new blocks on Solana for over 25 minutes, far surpassing its targeted block creation time of 400 milliseconds.
- Solana suffered a “major outage” on Tuesday that halted block production on its network. Validators are investigating the cause.
- The outage began around 10:22 UTC. Over 25 minutes passed without Solana producing new blocks, far exceeding its normal 400ms block time target.
- This marks Solana’s 11th outage in the past two years, undermining reliability claims. Previous outages lasted up to 18 hours.
- Engineers identified a potential fix and are building a new release for validators to upgrade to. Validators have begun generating ledger snapshots to prepare for a possible restart.
- The outage caused Solana’s SOL token to dip 2% initially. Some exchanges like Upbit also suspended SOL deposits/withdrawals during the incident.
Solana validators first raised alerts about the outage before engineers officially confirmed the issue on Solana’s status dashboard. “Solana Mainnet-Beta is experiencing a performance degradation, block progression is currently halted,” wrote validator Laine in a social media post.
This marks the 11th disruption Solana’s network has faced in just under two years, calling into question reliability claims underpinning its status as “the fastest blockchain in the world.”
As of 11:43 AM UTC Tuesday, the root cause behind Solana’s latest failure remains unknown. However, core Solana engineers and validators are actively investigating in hopes of swiftly restoring functionality.
Engineers from across the ecosystem are investigating an outage on mainnet-beta. This thread will be updated as more information becomes available https://t.co/rfeioQ6BG9
— Solana Status (@SolanaStatus) February 6, 2024
Validators play a crucial role securing blockchain networks like Solana’s by dedicating computing resources to process transactions and append new network data. A coordinated effort between validators will likely prove necessary to successfully restart Solana following the outage event.
To that end, engineers have already identified a potential software fix to the issues plaguing Solana validators. Laine confirmed on social media that developers are busily building a new release containing outage remediations to distribute to validators after testing.
In the meantime, validators have begun generating localized copies of Solana’s transaction ledger at the last moment before failure. These ledger “snapshots” will ensure the network loses no data or progression history despite being offline for nearly an hour as of writing.
Validators have begun generating snapshots using their local ledger state to prepare for a restart. Core engineers are still preparing the release.
— Laine ❤️ stakewiz.com (@laine_sa_) February 6, 2024
Understandably, traders reacted negatively to Solana’s showstopping performance woes Tuesday morning. The network’s native SOL token dropped close to 2%, dragging prices down from nearly $96 to $94 before rebounding. Some exchanges also took steps to isolate customers from risks related to the outage, with Upbit deciding to halt SOL deposits and withdrawals.
Repeat outages continue to raise doubts concerning Solana’s ability to unseat Ethereum as the preeminent smart contract platform, despite claims of vastly superior throughput. Only last April, Solana endured a separate incident that kept the $50 billion blockchain offline for nearly two days straight.
Solana first went live in 2020 with the promise of supporting 50,000 transactions per second without sacrificing decentralization. Rival networks process fewer than 30 transactions per second, albeit with far stronger uptime track records.