Avalanche Is Back Up After Failing to Produce Block for Four Hours

Block finalization started to resume on Friday afternoon after developers released a software update that resolved a faulty logic in the code.

AccessTimeIconFeb 23, 2024 at 1:31 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 10:04 p.m. UTC
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  • Avalanche suffered a major outage Friday, failing to produce blocks for more than four hours.
  • Developers released a software patch disabling logic that permitted an "excessive amount of gossip" to take place between validators.
  • Avalanche's interruption followed a five-hour outage earlier this month from rival blockchain Solana.
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  • Layer-1 blockchain Avalanche resumed finalizing blocks on Friday, four hours after an outage took the network offline due to a software bug, according to its status page and block explorer.

    Avalanche stopped adding blocks at 11:13 UTC, according to the status page, which noted that developers for the network had already begun investigating the issue. At 15:59, developers released a software upgrade for Avalanche nodes that disabled logic which led to an "excessive amount of gossip" between validator nodes. Validators are entities spread around the world that manage blockchain nodes, securing the network and processing transactions. The software patch addressed an issue where more information was passing between the nodes than necessary, which placed a strain on the network and ultimately brought it offline.

    "Avalanche Validators provision a stake-weighted bandwidth allocation for each peer and this buggy logic led to each node saturating their allocation with useless transaction gossip," an official Avalanche status report explained. "This dynamic prevented pull queries issued by the validator from being processed in a timely manner and led to consensus stalling."

    According to the Avalanche status page, block finalization on the primary network resumed at 16:36 UTC after validators updated their node software to the patched version.

    Kevin Sekniqi, the co-founder of Avalance developer Ava Labs, speculated earlier in the day that the issue seemed "related to a new inscription wave" that had launched on Avalanche an hour before the outage. Inscriptions are a way of recording arbitrary data on a blockchain without smart contracts. They initially emerged on Bitcoin, allowing users to mint non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the blockchain for the first time. Sekniqi clarified in a follow-up tweet, however, that the inscriptions were not ultimately the main culprit and "did not effect performance."

    The network’s native token (AVAX) dropped 3% since the outage occurred, underperforming the broad-market CoinDesk CD20 Index, which was slightly up within the same period.

    Rival blockchain Solana had a five-hour outage earlier this month as it suffered under heavy congestion.

    UPDATE (Feb. 23, 15:32 UTC): Adds AVAX price reaction.

    UPDATE (Feb. 23, 17:25 UTC): Updates story when the network resumed working, adds detail about the error.

    UPDATE (Feb. 23, 18:15 UTC): Adds more details.

    Edited by Parikshit Mishra and Sam Kessler.


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