Excessive transaction load caused network forking
Solana has been a constant presence in headlines for the past couple of months. Predominantly because of the increasing price of its native token SOL. Unfortunately, in the past 24 hours, the network has seen some serious challenges. On September 14, the SolanaStatus Twitter account revealed that the network has seen an unmanageable load of 400,000 transactions per second. This overload led to an involuntarily forking event.
Solana couldn’t handle 400,000 transactions per second, which resulted in an involuntary fork, creating two versions of the same blockchain. This is a serious design flaw for the blockchain, especially when Solana boasts some of the highest transaction processing speeds. Following the announcement and a somewhat negligent reaction from Solana devs, Twitter erupted with comments.
What happened with Solana?
Over the past couple of weeks, Solana has been a hot topic for all kinds of crypto investors. Predominantly, people were looking into SOL, as the native token saw a meteoric price rise recently. Around the beginning of August, one SOL token was evaluated at about $36. However, in only a month, this valuation rose to an all-time high of $213. You can see why SOL has caught the attention of crypto enthusiasts. Additionally, DeFi activity on the platform skyrocketed as the price of the native token went up.
So what happened on September 14th? The answer is rather simple. The huge boost in activity for the Solana blockchain led to an unmanageable load of pending transactions. With upwards of 400,000 transactions processed per second, the network started gasping for air. According to the official tweet, this overload caused forking to begin. This is where concerns for the integrity of the blocks and the transactions happening on the network started surfacing.
In a follow-up comment on Twitter, SolanaStatus explained that the forking event caused excessive memory consumption. This, in turn, caused some validator nodes to go offline. What this means is that the network essentially couldn’t process transactions, as validators started shutting down. An even more concerning detail from last nights’ events is that Solana engineers could not stabilize the network. This led to a wave of disapproval.
After several hours and a node operator vote, Solana announced that the system would undergo a complete restart. However, the Solana community was not at all happy with what went down. Both Twitter and Discord erupted in heated discussions.
What happened with SOL?
Interestingly, while the Solana blockchain was experiencing significant challenges, its native token SOL, seemingly was not too affected. Early in the day on September 14th, SOL was valued at around $169, according to CoinGecko data.
When news of the network crash spread, the price fell to about $145. However, at the time of writing, SOL has rebounded and is now priced at $162. If we’re simply looking at numbers, SOL surfaced unscathed by the overload. However, if we look at the Discord discussions, the community did not feel that way.
Because of the network ceasing to process transactions, trading with SOL was virtually impossible. Considering this, panic buying and selling was impossible, which led to a huge outcry on social media. Users were trying to either jump in while SOL was going down in price or to panic sell. No one knew whether SOL would rebound or keep dropping. Either way, as the blockchain was not functioning, traders couldn’t do anything with their SOL capital.
This is probably one of the saving graces for SOL. The price drop could have been more significant if there was residual functionality on the network.
Meanwhile the SolBlocks controversy unfolded
As the whole Solana blockchain was trembling with transaction processing problems, an NFT project further disrupted the community. SolBlocks, an Art Blocks copycat project on Solana, announced the launch of its first collection – Fidenza. Sounds familiar? It should, as Fidenza is among the most popular and most valuable Art Blocks NFT collections.
Here is the official announcement:
SolBlocks did their best to explain that the collection will use Tyler Hobbs’ algorithm. However, it will create entirely new pieces, not just copies of the already released Art Blocks series. However, many people saw this as outright plagiarism. Following the announcement, many people were wondering if Tyler Hobbs even knew about SolBlocks’ plans.
Looking at the test pieces the SolBlocks team published, there are visible similarities. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering the generative algorithm is absolutely the same.
For the moment, there has not been an official position released by SolBlocks. No comments regarding whether they have Tyler Hobbs’ blessing to use the Fidenza algorithm have been published. However, both the Solana community and the NFT communities have expressed concerns about the project’s validity.
Art Blocks is one of the most renowned generative NFT platforms. Especially the Fidenza NFT collection, which has been put on a pedestal. NFT collectors are seriously dedicated to it, and it shows in their portfolio. For example, this wallet has 1669 Art Blocks NFTs, including five Fidenza NFTs.
Further exploration with the DappRadar Portfolio Tracker reveals that art collectors like Balthazarian are also heavily invested in Art Blocks. You can check out his portfolio here. Balthazarian has 171 Art Blocks NFTs, with a total value of $385,350.
Considering this, it does sound tempting to launch an Art Blocks copycat, especially on a popular protocol like Solana. However, authenticity and originality are key elements in the NFT space. Copying an entire collection and using the same generative algorithms might take it a step too far.
What’s next for Solana?
Following a rather challenging 24 hours for Solana, the network has now announced that the restart has been successfully completed.
Full functionality should resume in several hours. However, the bad taste following this crash will remain. Solana is at the forefront of crypto enthusiasts’ interest, and this was definitely a misstep on the network’s part. Hopefully, the devs team will learn from their mistakes and will introduce improvements.
DappRadar will continue monitoring Solana, and the budding ecosystem it’s creating. If you’re curious to explore more news on Solana, check out the links below. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in NFT collections like Art Blocks – check out the DappRadar Portfolio Tracker.