The Solana blockchain protocol reportedly faced a third major network outage on January 4. Details about the outage remain unclear, as even though multiple reports alleging the downtime in the Solana blockchain surfaced from Coinbase and users on Reddit, its co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko said on Twitter that this was a result of “getting a new runtime commercialised.”
Solana is a public blockchain protocol that seeks to offer faster transactions at significantly lesser fees than Ethereum, one of the most popular public blockchain protocols in the world. One of Solana’s key claims is the blockchain’s ability to support a significantly higher volume of transactions than other blockchains such as Ethereum, at any given point in time.
Reports about the outage on the Solana network have claimed that an unspecified error appears to have slowed the network down and caused transactions on it to fail. A report on the outage by Wu Blockchain claimed that this could have been caused by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) cyber attack, although Yakovenko has since denied this claim.
The new runtime issue that Yakovenko mentioned has been stated by Solana Labs executives previously as well. In a Cointelegraph interview in December 2021, Austin Federa of Solana Labs stated that issues on the blockchain’s network runtime are being worked on.
“Solana doesn't use Ethereum Virtual Machine, and a ton of innovation was done to ensure that users have the cheapest fees possible. But, there's still work to be done on the runtime,” Federa said.
Solana suffered a first network outage in September 2021, which was reportedly caused due to a DDoS attack. Solana disclosed that the outage occurred due to attackers targeting an initial decentralised exchange offering (IDO) by Grape Protocol, which launched the IDO on Solana-based decentralised exchange (DEX), Raydium.
Solana has claimed to have the capacity to handle 50,000 transactions per second. During the DDoS attack, bots allegedly brought the network down with 400,000 transactions per second.
A second DDoS attack had reportedly targeted Solana in December as well, but after brief periods of the network being clogged, it largely stayed operational.
A DDoS attack uses bots or automated services to send a massive volume of requests to a server, thereby overloading it and bringing it down. DDoS attacks are typically used by cyber attackers for disrupting public services, in a bid to leverage a bargain against the threat.
At the time of writing, both Coinbase and Solana’s own downtime trackers state that the blockchain is operating normally.