- Solana’s blockchain essentially stops processing transactions for 17 hours last Tuesday
- Blockchain failure cannot be considered “teething troubles” as it undermines the fundamental immutability and reliability of the technology
Adding to the longest chain – that’s one of the fundamental tenets of how the blockchain is secured.
As miners add blocks of transactions, the longest chain becomes the “truth” and helps to secure one version of that truth.
Which is why despite Ethereum’s at times high gas (transaction) fees, the vast majority of developers still build their smart contracts or dApps (decentralized applications) atop the Ethereum blockchain – it’s the oldest smart contract-enabled blockchain and the most heavily utilized – it’s the “longest chain” for developers.
Even as the market cap for Solana blew past US$62 billion earlier this month, and the price of Solana’s token rose by 6,000% over the past year, for 17 excruciating hours last Tuesday, no one could buy or sell Solana’s SOL token – the blockchain which it runs on, touted as the world’s fastest, had gone offline.
Solana’s blockchain simply couldn’t process any transactions with the people behind it putting the blame on “resource exhaustion.”
Say what you will about Ethereum and Bitcoin, but in their histories, the two blockchains have never had to face anything even remotely close to the gumming up of transactions.
To be sure, there have been times when surges in demand for transactions in both Bitcoin and Ethereum did lead to longer processing times, under no circumstance were transactions not processed altogether, a major no-no in the cryptocurrency space.
Centralized exchanges may crash, and smart contract exploits hacked, but the underlying blockchain itself, the stuff that cryptocurrencies ride on, is supposed to be sacrosanct, otherwise the entire justification for a decentralized and immutable ledger becomes questionable.
While Solana’s creators may have shrugged off last week’s incident as “growing pains” it will certainly provide food for thought for developers and investors alike that are betting on the latest and shiniest blockchain that is making sweeping promises.
Marketing buzz aside, for investors looking at the latest and greatest blockchain can consider the same principle that miners use – reliance on the longest chain.