The Solana blockchain is back online following a seven-hour downtime caused by a large number of bots attempting to mint non-fungible tokens on the blockchain system.
Solana stakeholders hurried to put the network back together after an “insane quantity of data” flooded the proof-of-stake chain on Saturday night, pushing validators out of consensus and bringing block production to a halt.
Bots flooded Candy Machine, a popular non-fungible token (NFT) minting tool, with an unprecedented flood of inbound traffic earlier Saturday: four million transaction requests and 100 gigabits of data per second — a record for the network, according to one individual at the Solana Foundation.
At 4:32 p.m. ET, block production became impossible, and the network went dark. Validators restarted the cluster at slot 131973970 by 11 p.m. ET, coordinating through Solana’s Discord channels and a Google doc created by one of the validators.
Anatoly Yakovenko who was away for much of the squabble, lauded the validator community with spearheading mainnet recovery. The Solana co-founder was chastised on Twitter for reportedly going “missing in action” amid a network outage.
Unlike prior disruptions, the hard fork restart on Saturday did not result in new-and-improved code filling throughout the validators. It simply resumed where the network had left off seven hours before.
Other ecosystem components quickly bolstered their defenses. At 11:36 p.m. ET, Metaplex, the main steward of Solana NFT infrastructure and a close partner of Candy Machine, announced that a 0.01 SOL “botting penalty” would be implemented soon to help NFT projects manage excessive traffic.
While Solana’s ascension to the top tier of crypto’s main alternatives to Ethereum has been swift, the surge of bots and concerns about stability means this was not even the longest downtime in recent months.
The network of the digital currency has been hit by a wave of blackouts and service outages three times in the last year, the most recent of which lasted up to 18 hours in January and enraged traders who watched their portfolio values plummet while unable to sell tokens.
Solana core developers have yet to figure out what went wrong on Saturday, or how the alleged botting attempt managed to disrupt consensus despite existing precautions.