Solana, a popular blockchain protocol for cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens, suffered a network outage on Wednesday that took down the network for approximately four hours.
According to a tweet from the Solana Status Twitter account, the network stopped working because a bug was causing blocks to generate invalid results. That meant that network validators needed to be halted. Validators are server nodes that verify blocks of transactions on the network being added to maintain blockchain integrity.
Blockchains operate by securing transactions by adding them to blocks and “chaining” them together by cryptographically verifying that blocks conform to a set of rules. If a block violates these rules, it cannot be added to the chain. If too many blocks begin to fail, for whatever reason, then an outage happens, which was the case here.
In order to fix the outage, validators running on the network were then required to upgrade their software versions to a new version to fix the bug before a restart. A process that took approximately four hours.
In the aftermath, Solana’s native cryptocurrency, SOL, fell about 12% in value.
This was the fifth outage for the Solana blockchain in 2022. The worst outage was in January, which lasted Jan. 6-12.
Solana was launched as an alternative blockchain to Ethereum, the most popular blockchain for nonfungible tokens and decentralized finance. NFTs are a type of receipt that represents the ownership of a virtual item, such as a piece of digital artwork, video game item, music or document. They can be bought, sold and traded.
According to Solana’s website, it’s much cheaper and faster than Ethereum and is capable of processing more than 50,000 transactions per second and has an average cost per transaction of $0.00025. For comparison, Ethereum can handle up to 25 transactions per second and transaction fees are $1 on average but in October they peaked near $45.
These capabilities have made Solana an attractive opportunity for decentralized applications and wallets looking to transact more quickly and more cost effectively. There is also the Phantom wallet, focused entirely on allowing users to access and run dapps directly out of Solana.
As a competitor to Ethereum, Solana has seen major venture capital backing during the cryptocurrency boom in 2021 with a $314 million private token sale led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital. It also surpassed Ethereum in daily NFT sales volume for the first time on May with $24.3 million in sales for Solana to $24 million for Ethereum, according to CryptoSlam.