Bots brought Solana to a halt again – this is the seventh time this year

Bots brought Solana to a halt again – this is the seventh time this year
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  • January was the worst month for Solana so far, with more than six outages.
  • Between partial and major outages, the platform has now gone down 11 times in four months.
  • This weekend’s outage was caused by bots exploiting a feature in the Solana platform.
Blockchain platforms have a problem with scaling. Most are unable to handle the same level of traffic web 2.0 platforms can, hence the crash. But the Solana blockchain, which is often touted to be the ‘Ethereum killer’, seems to be buckling under the issue more often than expected. Over the weekend, the platform suffered a partial outage for the seventh time in 2022.

The outage on May 1 was caused by “botting” on an NFT marketplace built around the Solana blockchain. This means that a large number of transactions initiated by NFT minting bots flooded the network and caused it to go down. The outage continued for seven hours and the platform was back up at around 3 am UTC on Sunday, May 1.

“Today #Solana mainnet-beta went down 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,” said a tweet by Metaplex, the NFT platform in question.

Interestingly, the bots in question were actually trying to take advantage of a feature of the Solana blockchain that lets users launch NFT collections instead of minting individual pieces. The feature is called Candy Machine. Metaplex, the company which claimed responsibility, in part, for the outage, said that it would levy a charge on wallets that attempt to complete transactions using bots in order to discourage such usage of the feature.

Recurring concerns

However, the incident should still raise red flags among the Solana community, which has had to suffer through such outages quite often by now. According to Solana’s own tracker, six of the seven outages this year happened in January alone, and between January 6 and 12. Those outages lasted between eight to 18 hours.


Between major outages and partial outages, the Solana blockchain has now had 11 such incidents in the first four months of the year. And it has drawn the ire of crypto watchers too, since outages like this cause transactions to stop as well.

“I do not support SOL, there are far too many red flags. Consistently displaying a pattern of bad behaviour. Prioritising attracting ignorant investors over good blockchain design. There are many examples of lies, fraud & bad design,” tweeted Justin Bons, the founder of Cyber Capital on January 6.

The outage caused the price of SOL, the blockchain’s native coin, to crash by nearly 7% to $84, although trading since has seen prices recover to just over $89.

7th outage this year

The most recent outage marks the seventh time this year that Solana has suffered outages, according to its own status reporting. Between January 6-12, 2022, the network was plagued with issues causing partial outages for between 8 and 18 hours.

Solana said “high compute transactions” caused a reduction in network capacity to “several thousand” transactions per second (TPS), much lower than the advertised 50,000 TPS.

Later in January, over 29 hours of downtime was recorded between the 21st and 22nd of the month, with excessive duplicate transactions again causing network congestion and outages on the blockchain.

In September 2021, Solana was hit with a major outage with the network offline for over 17 hours. Solana attributed that outage to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on an initial decentralized exchange (DEX) offering with bots spamming the network with 400,000 per second. Industry observers commented on what has been often touted as an “Ethereum killer.”

Solana was the second network to strain under notable transaction volume related to NFTs over the weekend. The Ethereum transaction cost surged to an average of over $450 due to a release of 55,000 NFTs by Yuga Labs with some users paying up to 5 Ether (ETH), or $14000, in gas fees for transactions and much more to mint one of the NFTs.

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