NFT minting bots on Solana contributed over 4 million transactions per second, knocking validators out of consensus and crashing the network for around seven hours. The Solana (SOL) network suffered a seven-hour outage overnight between April 30 and May 1 due to a large number of transactions from nonfungible token (NFT) minting bots.
A record-breaking 4 million transactions, or 100 gigabits of data per second, congested the network causing validators to be knocked out of consensus resulting in Solana going dark at roughly 8 PM UTC on April 30.
It wasn’t until seven hours later on May 1, 3 AM UTC that validators were able to successfully restart the main network.
Validator operators successfully completed a cluster restart of Mainnet Beta at 3:00 AM UTC, following a roughly 7 hour outage after the network failed to reach consensus.
Network operators an dapps will continue to restore client services over the next several hours. https://t.co/ezqEYQYKWl
— Solana Status (@SolanaStatus) May 1, 2022
The bots hoarded a popular application used by Solana NFT projects to launch collections called Candy Machine. In a Twitter post by Metaplex, the company confirmed that traffic from bots on their app was partially to blame for the network crash.
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. https://t.co/QaAZT3VxXz
— Metaplex (@metaplex) May 1, 2022
Metaplex shared it would be implementing a 0.01 SOL or $0.89 charge on wallets that attempt to complete an invalid transaction which the firm said: “is typically done by bots that are blindly trying to mint.”
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.
The most recent outage marks the 7th time this year that Solana has suffered outages according to its own status reporting. Between January 6 and January 12 in 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 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.”
At this point Solana should start posting business hours
— pseudotheos in (@pseudotheos) May 1, 2022
Solana was the second network to strain under notable transaction volume related to NFTs over the weekend. The Ethereum (ETH) 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 ETH or $14000 in gas fees for transactions and much more to mint one of the NFTs.