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“This has been the biggest challenge for us, and the number one priority,” Yakovenko told Decrypt on the most recent episode of the gm podcast.
The young proof-of-history, proof-of-stake hybrid blockchain has had five major outages since its launch in 2020. Out of those five, three have occurred this year—each one the result of either bugs in Solana’s code or the network becoming overwhelmed by artificial traffic from bots.
Yakovenko believes Firedancer, a second Solana client announced back in August, will be a “long-term fix” because it will have its own separate software development team. Web3 firm Jump Crypto is developing Firedancer in partnership with the Solana Foundation.
Jump Crypto hopes Firedancer will dramatically scale Solana, allowing it to handle more transactions in a more efficient manner within the next one to two years.
“Because it's a separate team, the probability of them having the same bugs in their code as ours becomes virtually zero,” Yakovenko said.
The current issues with Solana can largely be chalked up to human error, said the co-founder. “This is still software written by humans,” Yakovenko said, arguing that Solana is “pretty complex.”
“It’s a monolithic chain, so it’s like but it does everything, all at once.”
The co-founder cited the most recent Solana outage in which an incorrectly-configured validator confused the Solana network and made it unsure as to which fork was the correct one, causing the network to stall.
“But at no point do failures like these put any users’ funds or program state at risk, because Solana has 2,000 different validators,” Yakovenko said.
Because Solana has over 2,000 validators and approximately 3,400 different replicas of its network, there are plenty of backups to choose from should a critical failure occur.
“As long as one of these copies survives, you can effectively recover the whole network,” Yakovenko said.
The co-founder noted that in addition to Solana’s five outages, there have also been times where the network saw such high traffic that it became “unusable.” That’s a problem that is not unique to Solana.
Ethereum, the leading blockchain for DeFi and NFTs, has notoriously suffered from network congestion over the years. In 2017, the network crashed under the weight of CryptoKitties NFTs, for example—and more recently, congestion brought Ethereum to a crawl back in April during Yuga Labs’ $561 million “Otherside” NFT launch.
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