Solana experiences troubled performance. Again.

Solana experiences troubled performance. Again.

Despite much progress in the blockchain tech, scalability still often comes as a trade-off for security or decentralization, two other points in the blockchain trilemma.

Yesterday Solana, touted for its high speed and low fees, suffered another network incident – the 3rd one in just several months:
?in September it halted for 17 hours after a DDoS attack on its DEX,
?in December its was clogged (but stayed online) due to another DDoS attack on its NFT platform,
? yesterday the network experienced a degraded performance related to “some congestion due to mis metered transitions” as per Solana’s cofounder Anatoly Yakovenko, and had many users see their transactions timed out. 

Solana is a highly scalable blockchain with a theoretic capacity of 65K transaction per second, an average block time of 400 milliseconds and an average transaction fee of 0.000005 SOL.

How does Solana achieve this?
? Solana uses an original consensus mechanism called Proof of History (PoH), which is, in very basic terms, a variant of the Proof of Stake (PoS): network nodes elect a Leader through PoS-based elections; this Leader then orders users’ messages, executes transactions and publishes them together with a signature of the final state to the Validators, who execute the same transactions on their copies of the state and publish their computed signatures of the state as confirmations. The PoH part is presented by a computations sequence, which allows to cryptographically verify passage of time between events and message ordering. By maintaining its own clock, Solana allows Validators to compute the state of the network from the ledger itself and bypass the difficulties related to multiple local clocks, thus pushing the limits of confirmation times.

Probably the biggest blockchain success of 2021, Solana’s ecosystem is developing very fast… maybe too fast? When the stakes are high, “runtime issues” or the “wonky cost model” – reasons for the blockchain’s unstable performance given recently by the Solana Labs team – can have big impact.

We sincerely hope these issues will be addressed and corrected soon, but in the meantime blockchain trilemma stays unsolved.