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Solana Outage Causes Twitter Outrage


On the first of May, Solana was down for seven hours. That's terrible news, but there might be some great news in the details of this outage. What happened? Metaplex, a platform for Solana has a system called Candy Machine, which allows creators to make FTS without programming in Rust, which is a great thing. The problem is that accidentally the incentivized boats, which turned too happy and try to send 4 million transactions per second to Solana, which has a capacity of around 50,000 transactions per second. So it was a great big denial of service attack. Now what seemed to upset some people on Twitter is that some validator operator wrote a document that shows how to frankly speaking censor, the traffic that comes from bots. The outrage seems to be around three main topics, a) censorship, B) decentralization, and c) that it's the seventh outage this year for Solana.


i.e. Stability. Let's consider them in order on censorship. Are we really defending the freedom of speech for bots? I feel okay hurting the feelings of bots. Also, note that the technique they used isn't affecting Solana software, but the servers they run on the instructions are operational and they are recommended as temporary and optional. What I see in this solution and the whole phrasing is the opposite of censorship. Furthermore, the encouragement to remove those counter-measures later means that they have trust that the bot guys and Metaplex will figure the issues out, which is a good thing on decentralization. The fact that operators had to write those instructions means that Solana is pretty decentralized. The days that dudes were sorting out, outages with a few chat messages are long gone. That's a great thing. The centralization is a complex topic and it's all about avoiding collusion.


The way I see it, any application running, for example, solely in Amazon's AWS might have any transactional reversed if American institutions want that a lot. That's because Amazon is an American company running an application on AWS and Google cloud wouldn't make any difference because they're both American companies. Can someone build a truly globalized infrastructure on top of the hosting of American companies? No, at some point there might be a transaction that is very okay for Chinese people and not okay at all for Americans, American companies would be forced to reverse it, but the expectation from decentralized public blockchains is that this shouldn't be possible. Even if all American node operators were forced to reverse a transaction, there should be enough operators that would not reverse it. That's infrastructure for a globalized world. Does this mean that such a transaction should be totally irreversible? Unstoppable As some people say, my views is that decentralization is very valuable, but as we move closer to unstoppable, this feature becomes not only less useful, but also outright harmful when the vast majority of people who care about something in the world individually or through their representatives want a transaction reversed


that should be possible in blockchains this happens through node operators. In this case, I can totally see that each one of them could be easily convinced that everyone who cares about Solana would prefer the network to be up and stable compared to keeping bots happy and uncensored. So if the traffic didn't stop with Metaplex's intervention, which it did, it's great that they could do something about it. Imagine a network that is down for months because operators discuss the virtues of bots' freedom of speech. That's not a good network. What I want for a public blockchain is to be decentralized enough to be censorship resistant. This makes it useful as global infrastructure. Still. I want to know that if someone codes a doomsday machine on a blockchain, we will be able to agree and disarm it. The same goes for cutting funding for dangerous dictators. Of course, no one should be able to collude and do that on a trusted, decentralized blockchain.


Still if the vast majority of people individually or through their representatives want that it should be possible. Personally, I want seriously dangerous, bad actors under control, but I don't want such decisions to be taken lightly or without public discussion and a strong human consensus, actually I wouldn't develop or support in any other way, any blockchain where I didn't trust that their communities share that level of pragmatism. My view is that while decentralization is the value proposition of public blockchains, when that narrative becomes non pragmatic or extremist, it is actually harmful for everyone. Finally, a few words about stability. Yes, that's Solana's seventh outage this year, which for me means that the chain is growing and is growing fast. What did break Solana? 4 million transactions per second. 4 million! That's not little traffic. That's a lot. The signal I get is that something serious and cool is going on there. And yes, there was an outage and it was handled somewhat okay, But nothing to rave about. And I'm sure they will improve and learn out of this. I would blame anyone for repeated outages for a single reason, but I think this was an outage showing that Solana is reaching a new level. Anyway, that's just my opinion. And thanks a lot for watching.

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