Blockchain scalability issue continues to loom large.
Ethereum layer-2 Polygon, which is currently its most popular sidechain scaling solution, has had its Cryptokitties moment this week 🐱
Just like one of the first NFT Kitty successes clogged Ethereum network in 2017, a farming game Sunflower Farmers 🌻 has managed to overload Polygon sidechain, causing many users to have their transactions stuck and leading gas price to spike as high as 50x from the usual rates. Sure, Polygon fees are tiny compared to Ethereum, but an increase from <$0.01 to > $0.50 is sensible, especially for gaming, where transactions pile up quickly.
The surge in Sunflower-related transactions came after the game launched its reward-generating features, which have reportedly attracted not only gamers, but also quite a few bots. Moreover, the game is designed to have its state saved on-chain every 25 min, adding to the transaction load. Sunflower’s activity was so high, its contract alone was responsible for over 50% of Polygon gas fees at one moment 😮
This incident sure raises questions of game design (how to tell a gamer from a bot?), but also those of sidechain design. Sunflower’s increased activity is somewhat akin to a DDoS attack, and sidechains must be able to withstand it, meaning that more development is still needed in the layer-2 tech.
We’re still early though, and every day brings developers more feedback. In the meantime, other Ethereum scaling solutions, such as Optimism PBC, Arbitrum, zkSync or Loopring are not to be discarded 😊