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Solana Faces Congestion Crisis, but What is the Solution?

Last Updated April 5, 2024 10:32 AM
Giuseppe Ciccomascolo
Last Updated April 5, 2024 10:32 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Increased investor interest has led to a surge in network congestion on the Solana platform.
  • This congestion has caused significant delays in transaction processing and communication between nodes.
  • What’s the solution?

The decentralized financial platform Solana is currently undergoing a crucial test of its resilience due to surging investor interest. However, this heightened enthusiasm has brought about a substantial increase in network congestion.

This congestion has significantly affected the processing of cryptocurrency transactions and the overall performance of the platform. Recent data  reveals that Solana’s congestion has resulted in noticeable delays in communication between nodes.

What’s The Congestion?

Confirmation times for cryptocurrency transactions have seen a significant impact. With average ping times between 20 and 40 seconds, there’s a noticeable surge in transaction failures, estimated between 50% and 80%.

Moreover, the actual Transaction Processing Speed (TPS) observed on Solana, even under conditions of a full network, falls far below the promised 50,000. This discrepancy is partly due to the inclusion of vote transactions, painting a misleading picture of the network’s capabilities and causing dissatisfaction among users.

The congestion on the Solana network has been further exacerbated by the rise of crypto activities related to memecoins. This surge isn’t aligned with the blockchain’s actual capacities, resulting in increased transaction failures and delays.

These issues have sparked significant debate within the Solana community, with users expressing their frustrations over failed transactions and a declining user experience across social media platforms.

Debate Over The Issue

In echoing the sense of urgency and concern, Ryan Rzepecki, founder of Spectra Cities, described  the current situation as an “existential moment” for Solana, drawing parallels to the severity of the FTX collapse. Rzepecki emphasized:

He said: “The entire Solana thesis hinges on whether various applications can effectively share the same chain, and if composability outweighs sovereignty. For this ecosystem to function, memecoin trading must not disrupt essential activities like payments, governance, and depinning. This moment is as critical as the FTX collapse.”

While Rzepecki expressed optimism about the Solana community’s capacity to address these issues, he also acknowledged the growing dissatisfaction among users and ecosystem partners.  He said: “To be clear, I firmly believe these challenges are solvable. However, Solana risks losing the trust of users and significant ecosystem partners if these issues persist.”

In response, Solana’s co-founder, Anatoly Yakovenko, provided  a nuanced perspective on the complexities of the challenges.

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, he said: “The interesting aspect is that every scaling challenge poses an existential threat.”

Yakovenko elaborated on the difficulties of resolving congestion issues, contrasting them with total system failures. He said: “Dealing with congestion bugs is far more challenging than total liveness failure. The latter is a one-time event, where the bug is identified and patched, allowing the chain to resume. The former requires navigating the entire release and testing pipeline, making rapid deployment nearly impossible.”

What’s The Solution?

The Solana Foundation has announced several measures  and recommendations to address network congestion. These initiatives include optimizing computing unit (CU) usage, implementing priority fees to enhance user experience, and exploring stake-weighted Quality-of-Service (QoS) to prioritize transactions efficiently.

Concerning CU Budget Request Optimization, developers are encouraged to specify a compute unit budget for their transactions to avoid unnecessary resource allocation. Currently, many transactions do not utilize their entire CU budget, leading to inefficient scheduling. Developers have to request compute units that match transaction requirements more accurately.

In terms of Stake-Weighted QoS adoption, infrastructure providers need to implement this feature, introduced last year, which prioritizes transactions based on stake, enhancing sybil resistance. A comprehensive guide to stake-weighted QoS will be available soon to facilitate adoption.

In response to congestion, the Solana team is prioritizing infrastructure enhancements to accommodate increased transaction volume and minimize system failures. A pivotal update, including refinement of the transaction scheduler, will be available in April as part of the v1.18 mainnet update. This update will play a critical role in addressing congestion issues, offering better network performance and reliability.

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