Like most new blockchain networks, Solana was created to address the challenges noted in the pioneer networks in the crypto industry. Although the network has addressed some of the issues in the industry, it is also facing its own challenges.
Major Issues on the Solana Blockchain
On 4th December, the Solana network went down and caused panic for its users. By the time engineers identified and fixed the problem, the network had been off for about six hours.
On 14th September 2021, Solana confirmed they had been experiencing intermittent instability for close to one hour. This challenge was probably caused by resource exhaustion, culminating in denial of service.
Recently, Solana reported another outrange, bringing the total number of major disruptions to seven. The issue was caused by bots that initiated a very large number of transactions from Metaplex, a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace on the Solana system. This outrange persisted for about seven hours.
Solana is a decentralized network with more than 1,700 validators who have to arrive at a consensus on what to do. According to George Harrap, the co-founder of Step Finance, Solana validators are getting slowed down by bots spamming NFT mint. However, many of them are working towards getting a consensus on the best way forward.
With the recent marketplace-related issues, concerns have been raised over Solana’s ability to support the growing demands on its platform. It would not be surprising to see some of the users shifting to alternatives, such as the Ethereum-based NFT marketplace, OpenSea.
Solana is Addressing Trilemma Issue, But a Reliable Solution a Long Way
When Solana was launched, it was immediately labeled an “Ethereum Killer.” The design of the blockchain factored in a blockchain trilemma, a concept proposed by the Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin.
The blockchain trilemma, according to Buterin, means there are three main features for a successful blockchain, but a standard blockchain would only be able to optimize two while sacrificing one. Solana added proof-of-history (POH) into the proof of stake (POS) to try and address the issue. This means that the network delegates a central node to help determine transaction time that the network can agree on. As Buterin noted, this model speeds up transactions, but it sacrifices decentralization, which is an important pillar of the blockchain network.
Now, users are turning to layer 2s and layer 1s, such as Avalanche, but Hisham Khan, the CEO of Aldrin, says that these do not help address speed, scalability, and transaction costs. Khan adds that scalability and stress tests are critical parts of the process being used to shape the blockchain ecosystem.
To address the challenges, Solana Labs, the tech firm behind Solana blockchain, has indicated it is working on a chain of upgrades. Anatoly Yakovenko, the CEO of Solana Labs, indicates that plans that will be unveiled in the coming weeks to address Solana challenges are already in the works.
Despite these challenges, Solana is expanding and had a market cap of USD 30 billion by the time of going to press. However, whether the new upgrades in the works will help to propel Solana into the main POS blockchain remains to be seen.