The so-called Ethereum killer, Solana, has encountered an overload and excessive memory consumption issue on its blockchain, which made network validators go offline for nearly 11 hours. As a result, the network could not prioritize messaging and stopped producing new blocks.
The Mainnet Beta earlier yesterday peaked at 400,000 TPS, resulting in complete resource exhaustion. Even some of the applications that offer services using the Solana network reported that they were also experiencing delays. The famous Solana wallet, Phantom, put out a tweet mentioning they are having trouble connecting with other applications.
Obviously, this had to impact Solana’s native token price, and since the network outage, SOL dropped by almost 13%. Considering the significance of this issue, it is surprising to see it dipped to only around 145-147 dollars. Even though the restart of Mainnet Beta is now successful and everything seems to be back to normal, we cannot overlook what just happened on the Solana blockchain network.
With its recent rally, Solana made it to the top 10 cryptocurrencies, and it was mainly because- its blockchain has high throughput and extremely low gas fess compared to Ethereum’s network. However, the fundamentals of Solana remain the same, and it is still a single-shared machine that barely satisfies the laws of decentralization.
Some people might point out what happened to Ethereum a couple of years back, but at that time, the blockchain did not make the network go offline. In the case of Solana, the network had to shut down as it was facing instability and started forking.
All this leads to Solana’s ability to solve The Blockchain Trilemma. The cheap gas fees and Bonded Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism attracted hundreds of thousands of users to explore the ecosystem. But they continuously fail to realize that Solana is not on the same level as Ethereum in terms of decentralization, at least for now.
The reduced complexity and high throughput are possible, all thanks to Proof-of-History and a single-shard approach. However, these innovations are now showing their inefficiencies. The network cannot handle the computational and storage workload by using a single shard for the entire blockchain. So when the number of transactions peaked on the Solana blockchain, it could not properly authenticate transactions and stopped creating new blocks.
This is what Ethereum is planning to solve with its next major upgrade. By introducing 64 shard chains that run in parallel, the transaction speed is expected to increase by 100x.
While decentralization is the foundation of blockchain technology, it seems as if the majority of the market cares far less about it. Users want a good experience, faster speeds, and lower gas fees, so Solana is their most preferred option right now. The network outage is a big deal, as blockchain should not break down, but the flip side is- it did not happen when there are a billion users.
People believe this setback is going to help Solana in the future, as it already has excelled in many things that other projects failed to even execute. What matters now is- how the network can handle transactions when it goes above the theoretical limit. Because it will happen sooner or later, given the infrastructure and user experience are attracting more people.
Born and brought up in India, Karthikeya Gutta is a crypto journalist and freelance contributor for ItsBlockchain. He covers various aspects of the industry with in-depth analysis and research. His passion towards blockchain and crypto ecosystem is mainly because he believes it can really change the world and help millions of people.
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