Bots bombarded the network with “Candy Machine” NFT microtransactions, forcing Solana, a cryptocurrency in the top ten, to shut down for seven hours on Saturday. This isn’t the first time the network has met this fate; in September, their team confessed that the network had been brought to a halt by a denial of service (DOS) attack. Phantom, Solana’s largest DeFi wallet, issued a statement claiming that the network was down and that account balances might not even appear.
The Solana team appears to prioritize transactions per second over network decentralization. High network fees have long plagued smart contract blockchains such as Ethereum, but Solana’s micro-fees enable bots and hackers to easily clog the network with destructive transactions.
Despite its unusually good price action, Solana has had more network difficulties than any of its competitors. The undeniable benefit of a blockchain is the ability to move money to other individuals without relying on a trusted third party. While Solana is a computational platform and so has more complications, competitors such as Ethereum, Cardano, Algorand, and Tezos have not had network shutdowns like the former; instead, they have seen some slowdowns.
Even in beta, when a blockchain goes down more than three times in a year, it’s evident that there are severe architectural flaws in the network. Until the vulnerabilities that are driving these numerous DOS attacks are resolved, Solana DeFi programmes will not be a safe environment for new crypto users. While a temporary code patch exists for the recent outage, there is no permanent solution.
To promote decentralization and avoid further network shutdowns, Solana will need to make significant modifications to its fee structure and validator mechanism if they wish to survive. If the network is always crowded and going down, nation-states and other high-profile projects will not build on Solana.