Web3 Gawkers Seize on Solana Outage With Memes

The network suffered its first “major outage” of the year on Tuesday

By: André Beganski

February 6, 2024

One network’s loss is another network’s gain — at least on Crypto Twitter.

Solana suffered a significant outage on Tuesday, prompting engineers from its ecosystem to investigate the failure and craft a fix within a matter of hours. The “fast debugging” received praise from influential figures like crypto analyst Adam Cochran, but some corners of Web3’s water cooler displayed a more memetic response — as Solana’s block progression stood static.

A portion of posts on Tuesday played into a growing rift between fans of Ethereum and Solana. The latter network has generated buzz in light of recent airdrops, including Jupiter's much-anticipated one that saw DeFi trading on Solana momentarily outpace Ethereum. Tuesday’s Solana outage provided an opportunity for some X users to differentiate the two.

“The Ethereum network has been running since July 2015 and has never experienced a major blockchain outage,” BTC-ECHO analyst Leon Waidmann said on X. “Act accordingly.”

Jokes aside, Solana’s outage will likely dampen investor sentiment, CoinShares Research Analyst Max Shannon told Coinage. It’s a “very bad look” for the validators of a supposedly distributed ledger to restart the chain, he said, in addition to resurfaced performance concerns.

“Investors have previously seen Solana as crypto’s darling,” he said. “Solana’s outage should likely hurt price because institutions will see Solana as a very long way from its goal of being a performant DeFi platform at Nasdaq speeds.”

Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko previously shared with Coinage just how painful these network outages are.

“It's like stomach churning for me and all the engineers and it just sucks,” he said in 2022 about the downtimes. “I don't know how to describe that, like your blood-moving-from-all-your-extremities kind of feeling.”

Solana’s last “major outage” came nearly a year ago in February due to cluster instability, which knocked the network offline for 19 hours, according to Solana’s system status page. Compared to a handful of hiccups in 2022, it represented a notable decrease in issues for the network.

Almost all inflows Solana saw in 2023 from digital asset investment products came during that period of little downtime, Shannon pointed out. Behind Bitcoin, Solana saw the second strongest inflows of any coin last year at $167 million, more than $78 million for Ethereum, per CoinShares data.

Heading into Crypto Winter, Solana was considered one of several “Ethereum Killers” that could potentially deal a deathblow to the second-biggest blockchain. And over the course of three months last year, as 2023 came to a close, Solana surged from $20 to $120, according to CoinMarketCap. Part of the rebound could be appreciation for the progress Solana made on improving its network stability. 

As Yakovenko shared during his last Coinage interview, the new timeline for the much-heralded Solana parallel validator known as “Firedancer” from Jump Crypto is hopefully later this year.

"The goal for Firedancer is not just impacting outages, it's almost like a side effect," Yakovenko said, adding that he's been impressed with the progress so far to hit a goal of mainnet launch later this year. "What they're building is a system that is fully optimized to take advantage of hardware." 

As a network restart for Solana crept toward completion on Tuesday morning, the coin traded hands at $95, falling 3.5% over the past day, according to CoinMarketCap. Meanwhile, Ethereum had edged up 1% to $2,350 during the same period.

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