The NFT minting bots on Solana contributed more than 4 million transactions per second, knocking validators out of consensus and causing the network to go down for about seven hours.

The Solana network suffered a seven-hour outage overnight between Saturday and Sunday due to a large number of transactions from the non-fungible token (NFT) minting bots.

A record four million transactions, or 100 gigabits of data per second, congested the network and caused validators to fall out of consensus, causing the Solana network to go down at approximately 20:00 UTC on Saturday.

It was not until seven hours later, on Sunday at 3:00 UTC, that validators were able to restart the mainnet successfully.

How the Outage Happened

On Twitter, @SolanaStatus posted that, “Validator operators successfully completed a cluster restart of Mainnet Beta at 3:00 AM UTC, following a roughly 7-hour outage after the network failed to reach consensus. Network operators and dapps will continue to restore client services over the next several hours.”

The bots hijacked a popular app used by the NFT projects in Solana to launch collections called the Candy Machine. In a Metaplex Twitter post, the company confirmed that bot traffic in its app was partially to blame for the network outage:

“Today Solana mainnet-beta went down partially due to botting on the Metaplex Candy Machine program. To combat this, we have merged and will soon deploy a botting penalty to the program as part of a broader effort to stabilize the network.

Metaplex shared that it would be implementing a charge of 0.01 Solana (SOL), or $0.89 at press time, on wallets that try to complete an invalid transaction that the firm said “is typically done by bots that are blindly trying to mint.”

The outage caused the price of SOL, the native currency of the Solana network, to plunge almost 7% to $84, though prices have since recovered to above $89.

The recent network outage marks the seventh time this year that it has suffered technical difficulties, according to its own status reports. Between January 6 and 12, 2022, the network suffered problems that caused partial outages of between 8 and 18 hours.

At This Point… Solana…

Solana said that “high computing transactions” caused a reduction in network capacity to “several thousand” transactions per second (TPS), well below the advertised 50,000 TPS.

Later in January, more than 29 hours of downtime were recorded between the 21st and 22nd of the month, with excess duplicate transactions again causing network congestion and Blockchain network outages.

In September 2021, Solana suffered a major network outage for more than 17 hours. Solana attributed that drop to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against an initial decentralized exchange (DEX) offering, with bots sending 400,000 messages per second to the network. Industry watchers commented on what they have often considered an “Ethereum killer”.

Solana was the second network subjected to notable NFT-related transaction volume over the weekend. The cost of transactions on Ethereum soared to an average of over $450 due to the launch of 55,000 NFTs by Yuga Labs, with some users paying as much as 5 Ether (ETH), or $14,000, in gas fees for transactions, and much more to mint one of the NFTs.

By Audy Castaneda


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