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Solana Validators Plan Network ‘Restart’ as Outage Continues

Solana developers have decided to restart the network after over seven hours of downtime.

Sep 14, 2021 at 4:27 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 15, 2021 at 7:33 a.m. UTC

Solana node operators are coordinating a “restart” of the high-speed blockchain Tuesday in an attempt to bring the stuttering network back online.

“The validator community elected to coordinate a restart of the network” and is preparing a “new release” that will right the frozen blockchain, according to an afternoon tweet from the Solana Foundation.

In Solana’s Discord server, developers distributed restart instructions at 3:21 p.m. Eastern time.

The outage began early Tuesday after “resource exhaustion” on the network brought blockchain validation to an hours-long halt. On-chain activity froze across Solana’s multibillion-dollar ecosystem of trading, staking and lending projects.

A source familiar with the matter told CoinDesk that the outage “impacts everything built on Solana, but the issue is the underlying [layer 1].”

Tuesday’s outage came amid booming interest in Solana, a network seeking to attract Wall Street usage whose token has been on fire since late August. Investors have flocked to Solana as a low-fee platform for decentralized finance (DeFi).

The disruption was caused by bot trading of Grape Protocol’s Tuesday token offering, founder Anatoly Yakovenko said on Twitter. It is the second time in two weeks that Solana’s mainnet cluster experienced “instability,” according to a Messari research note reviewed by CoinDesk.

A flood of transactions pushed the network past its limits early Tuesday, Solana’s status account tweeted shortly after 3 p.m. Eastern time. The activity triggered a forking that knocked multiple nodes offline. Engineers tried and failed to triage the problem, according to Solana.

It’s not unheard of for blockchain networks to experience service disruptions. Solana’s mainnet is still in beta mode; it last experienced an outage in December, another source said. Last week’s hiccup was also related to a resource exhaustion event.

“It’s good for people to understand that Solana mainnet is still clearly in beta,” said a source building one of Solana’s popular DeFi protocols interrupted by the outage. “I have faith in the Solana core contributors and validators to resolve this issue promptly.”

Engineers were rushing to push a patch to Solana node runners, multiple sources told CoinDesk. Once it’s ready and running across 66% of validators (a supermajority on the network) Solana is expected to come back online.

Until then, the ecosystem with over $11 billion in total value locked (TVL) is in wait-and-see mode. Activity remains frozen at block #96538485.

It is unclear what implications the Tuesday outage may have for Solana. One source in the developer community pointed out that some projects have time-sensitive operations, like liquidations and IDO launches. Those could become thorny the longer the network remains down.

UPDATE (Sept. 14, 19:48 UTC): Adds information on developer response to Solana outage and background material. Changes headline to reflect latest move.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Danny is a business reporter at CoinDesk.

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