Solana Suffers Power Outage After ‘Resource Exhaustion’

As the lights go out for Solana, we consider the longer-term repercussions of instability for projects building on the network.

Solana Instability Prompts Questions

A range of projects that have reaped the rewards of building on Solana will have endured discomfort as issues surfaced on Tuesday.

The Solana network quickly acknowledged the problems it was facing after an incredible period of token price growth. The disruptions began around 12:00UTC on September 14.

“Solana mainnet-beta is experiencing intermittent instability,” Solana confirmed via official Twitter through retweeting @SolanaStatus. “This began approximately 45 minutes ago, and engineers are investigating the issue.” 

A worthwhile consideration is that Solana’s token price did not endure a cataclysmic drop, as may be expected from such an outage. CoinMarketCap registered a 24-hour price drop from just over $170 to $143. This will do much to quell the initial panic. 


What Happened?

In a series of tweets from @SolanaStatus that Solana’s official Twitter account retweeted, the explanation focused on transactions that flooded the processing queue. Solana may have become too big for itself. 

“Solana Mainnet Beta encountered a large increase in transaction load, which peaked at 400,000 TPS. These transactions flooded the transaction processing queue, and lack of prioritization of network-critical messaging caused the network to start forking.”

This forking led to what Solana termed ‘excessive memory consumption,’ which eventually led to several nodes going offline and the eventual outage. Engineers that attended the issue have thus far been unsuccessful in their attempts to fix the problem. This led to the validator community opting to restart the network.

A complete restart of the system was completed, per @SolanaStatus, at around 08:00 UTC on September 15. The restart effectively acknowledges that Solana is not a blockchain but, in essence, a centralized exchange written on structured query language.


Who Will the Disruption Hit Hardest?

Inevitably, it is the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) projects being built on Solana that could be most at risk. As the outage dragged on, sentiments fall towards the Decentralized Exchange (DEX) liquidity that has endured static prices and what impact this may have in the initial moments the network goes live again. The quickest to pull the trigger upon Solana’s return could see the benefits of large price deviations. 

In normal circumstances, there would be built-in safety mechanisms to combat such price deviations that could even impact leveraged derivatives markets. Millions of dollars potentially could be at risk of undercollateralizations or even liquidations. 

These are, of course, not normal circumstances. How much of this Solana may have anticipated remains to be seen. Undoubtedly there will be active users looking to capitalize from the current disruption and vacuum left over. This initial hectic phase of coming back online could yet cause more instability. 

Alternatively, the relaunch could be ‘guarded,’ as one informative Twitter thread by @CometShock put it. This could see only specific actors permitted to transact and offer a delay to the general market while a recovery ensues.

Solana has their work cut out here, and returning online will not be as easy as it seems. Others will say that these risks are simply a part of the game, but those that may return to significantly depleted positions will not be so blase.   

About Solana

Solana is a public blockchain. It is open-source and centralized, using proof of stake and proof of history. Bloomberg considers Solana “a potential long-term rival for Ethereum,” and its recent price surge has done much to support this belief. Like Ethereum, Solana interacts with smart contracts and has overseen the growth of several successful projects building on it. 

Due to its innovative hybrid consensus model, Solana has attracted interest from both smaller traders and huge institutional traders. The Solana Foundation has underlined its intention to make decentralized finance accessible to all. This undoubtedly has had an impact on its relentless growth. 

Where to find Solana:

Website | Twitter | Blog | GitHub |

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