- The Solana blockchain suffered a 7-hour outage on Saturday
- Validators managed to restart the network, which is now running smoothly again
- The outage was caused by bots flooding the network with transactions in an attempt to mint NFTs
Bots attempting to mint NFTs cause 7-hour outage on Solana
On Saturday, the Solana blockchain stopped producing blocks for approximately 7 hours. According to a post by Solana Labs, the outage was caused by a flood of transactions hitting the network – as much as 6 million transactions per second. Per the post, the most likely “culprit” for the spike in inbound transactions was bots that were attempting to mint NFTs from a new project using Candy Machine, a NFT minting tool built on Solana.
The load resulted in Solana validators crashing due to insufficient memory, leading to the network being unable to reach consensus. Solana Labs provided additional clarification of the root cause of the high memory usage:
“The root cause of the high memory usage was insufficient votes landing to finalize earlier blocks, preventing abandoned fork cleanup. The number of forks validators had to evaluate exceeded their capacity to do so, even after a reboot, necessitating manual intervention.”
Solana Labs also outlined three technical solutions that are being worked on to address the stability and resilience of the Solana network.
Following the outage, Solana validators coordinated to collectively restart the network, which resumed block production at 03:30 UTC on May 1. According to status.solana.com, the network hasn’t seen any downtime on May 2 and May 3.
Solana is a blockchain platform designed with an emphasis on scalability. The network has managed to gain a significant amount of traction as a cheaper and faster alternative to Ethereum, but has been occasionally dealing with outages. For example, an outage in September 2021 resulted in the network being unavailable for around 17 hours. The outage was also caused by bots flooding the network with transactions to participate in a token sale held by Grape Protocol.
The markets for SOL, the native asset of the Solana blockchain, have not been impacted too negatively by the recent outage. SOL lost 10.3% of its value in the last 7 days, a performance comparable to the native assets of other layer 1 platforms like Terra, Avalanche, Polkadot and Near Protocol.