Solana, one of the fastest growing blockchain networks, experienced severe disruptions early Tuesday morning. Engineers responded quickly, beginning work before 6 a.m. ET, to push out a patch needed to restart the halted chain. But it wasn’t until approximately 10:00 a.m., when validators collectively controlling 80% of staked SOL had updated to a new version of Solana’s source code, that the network began humming again.
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This is not the first time Solana has gone down. It has seen at least one major crash that severely affected block production every year since 2021 — with some outlets counting at least 11 total disruptions over the past two years, including minor events. The mainnet network is often said to be running in “beta,” a term that typically refers to nearly-finished software that is being tested by a select group of users before an official launch.
“Engineers from across the ecosystem are investigating an outage on mainnet-beta,” the Solana team’s incident report read. While it is true that Solana has never officially announced that it was leaving the beta testing phase, a period meant to help identify bugs and evaluate performance in real-world conditions, at this point the phrase seems increasingly like a cop out.
Solana is a fully functional blockchain with a large and committed user base. It is the fifth-largest “DeFi chain” by total value locked, representing about $1.7 billion in capital committed to the various on-chain apps. SOL, the native token, is the fifth-largest cryptocurrency at a market capitalization of nearly $42 billion. It is frequently cited as one of the blockchains with the most exciting developer communities.
There’s an argument to be made that Solana’s novel approach to blockchain architecture — it is often called a “monolithic chain” that uses a custom-built “proof-of-history” algorithm to quickly process transactions — needs time to cook before it’s fully ready to serve. There are also a number of major upgrades planned for the network to introduce greater programming flexibility and improve user experience.
But at the same time, its developer…