Scalability or stability? Solana network outages show work still needed
Solana’s outages could be interpreted as mere hiccups in a new blockchain, but some suggest there’s cause for concern.
Solana is a highly scalable decentralized blockchain developed with a unique method of ordering transactions that significantly improves its transaction throughput, to the point that it has consistently been processing over 2,500 transactions per second. It claims to be able to process 50,000 transactions per second.
The power of Solana’s cheap transactions is felt when it’s time to pay transaction fees, with users being able to move funds on the network for a fraction of a cent. By comparison, the average transaction fee on the Bitcoin network is around $1.80, even after dropping nearly 58% this year. Meanwhile, Ethereum gas fees cost an average of $22 and up per transaction.
While Solana has an extremely high transaction throughput, some have suggested that its developers have prioritized scalability over security after it endured a 17-hour outage that required the collaboration of its engineers and more than 1,000 validators to overcome.
Solana attributed the outage to a denial-of-service attack aimed at an initial decentralized exchange offering (IDO). According to a post from the Solana Foundation, botting activity overwhelmed the network with a transaction load of 400,000 per second, which crashed Solana’s validators after they ran out of memory.
More recently, Solana was hit by another denial-of-service attack that significantly slowed the network but did not take it down. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Austin Federa, head of communications at Solana Labs, clarified that the recent outage came after a number of transactions during an IDO “landed in a Solana block that took an excessive amount of compute power.”
Federa added that the “compute for those kinds of transactions wasn’t properly metered by the network, and caused blocks to take much longer to process than the network expected.” He pointed out, however, that the network not go down at any point and can always be independently verified, adding: