Solana Crashes For Seven Hours as Bots Swarm Candy Machine NFT Minting Tool

Bishal Kumar Chanda

Solana network crashed for nearly seven hours on Saturday after bots swarmed the Candy Machine NFT minting tool. It submitted more than 4 million transactions per second, gathering above 100 Gbps traffic that crashed the network. In fact, the unprecedented tsunami of inbound traffic was a record for the network.

Solana Blockchain Crashes From Significant Influx of Bots

According to the Metaplex tweet, the outage was "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."

Meanwhile, Solana's head of comms also confirmed the crash on Twitter, stating, "PSA: Solana mainnet beta fell out of consensus, and the validator network couldn't recover." Later on Saturday, the validator operators performed a cluster restart of Solana's Mainnet Beta network.

Notably, the official Solana Discord became the main ground for restoration efforts, as some urged node validators to spread the news to others who might not be aware. During the outage, co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko was traveling, and he credited the validator community for spearheading mainnet recovery. 

Unlike the 17-hour outage in September, Saturday's cluster restart did not resolve the outage with new and improved code. Instead, it just picked up where the network failed seven hours prior. 

In preparing the restart, validators thought of temporarily implementing code to block Candy Machine transactions. However, some argued in the Discord that such a move constituted censorship. Regardless, it would only be effective if two-thirds of the validators agreed.

According to a member of the Solana Foundation, Solana's core developers are yet to diagnose what went wrong on Saturday. As of yet, there is no clue as to how the apparent bottleneck overcame existing safeguards and knocked validators out of consensus. 

Bot Influx and Network Crashes - Not New For Solana

Saturday's outage led some to question the blockchain's efficacy, with many posting memes on social media about the crash. The issue also reminded everyone of the 17-hour outage Solana suffered in September. Back then, the Solana Foundation issued a report blaming that "network stall" on a "denial of service attack."

Furthermore, Solana also faced similar server issues in January this year, which lasted 18 hours. Similar to the other incidents, a massive influx of NFT bots caused that.

Effects of Solana Blockchain Crash

As a result, there was a bloody but brief drawdown in the Solana market. After tumbling to $83.06 during the night's outage, as of writing, Solana has recouped some of the losses and is trading at $87.58. 

The recent failure also re-establishes why the Solana blockchain will never take over Ethereum in terms of NFTs. The Ethereum blockchain dominates the NFT space as users keep losing trust after events like these. However, Solana has been doing exceptionally well in recent months, and the record-breaking volume is also an indicator of its growth. 

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