Yesterday, Ethereum (ETH), the second largest blockchain and the main smart contract platform, went through two incidents with block finality. It recovered promptly, and the network was online during the whole period of issues, developers say.
Ethereum (ETH) lost finality but did not go offline, Polygon CISO stresses
Yesterday, on May 12, the Ethereum (ETH) network briefly lost block finality twice. It means that network blocks were not "finalized." In blockchains, when a block reaches finality, it cannot be altered or removed from the chain. However, the network still managed to process some transactions as it was not "fully" offline.
Maybe it wasn't the greatest of ideas to explain how the network was DoS'd without deploying the fix first.— Mudit Gupta (@Mudit__Gupta) May 12, 2023
Ethereum is under stress again, potentially from a malicious actor.
For clarity - Network is still online, its not an Outage. Just degraded performance. pic.twitter.com/lQgPv1Xf9j
Ethereum (ETH) ecosystem veteran Mudit Gupta, chief information security officer at Polygon Labs and partner in DeltaBC Fund highlighted that the network faced no outage: Even during the time of "finality issues," some blocks were added to the network properly. However, almost 70% of blocks were rejected, so thousands of Ethereum (ETH) transactions failed.
As the network stayed online, no hard fork or chain split occurred. The actual roots of the problem are yet to be revealed by the researchers. By press time, the majority of them describe the incidents as "denial of service" caused by heavy load on the network.
Gupta suggested that it could be a malicious actor who increased pressure on the network, causing the series of "finality issues."
By printing time, Ethereum (ETH) is back to normal, only one block has been "skipped" in the last 60 minutes.
Secret sauce of Ethereum (ETH) sustainability
Developers are guessing which validator would be slashed (penalized) for yesterday's issues.
Today, on May 13, 2023, several Ethereum (ETH) client teams released hotfixes, i.e., emergency code updates. Namely, Offchain Labs' Prysm and Teku software was released in the past hours.
Ethereum (ETH) educationist David Hoffmann, host of Bankless podcast, is sure that the diversity of clients is what helps Ethereum (ETH) go through such accidents:
Ethereum is not a monolith. "Ethereum" is a composition of diverse and distributed components, none of which are individually critical to Ethereum. Components can (and will!) fail, but the chain will continue. This downtime "non-event" illustrates this perfectly
He also stressed that "single-client" blockchain systems are fragile and weak.