Breaking: Blockchain Outage And Cause Of The Issue

Journalist:
Drew Cordell (@DrewjCordell) @DrewjCordell
March 19, 2014

As you may already know, Blockchain went down 03/17/14 unexpectedly, the company responded saying that:

“We have temporarily suspended Shared Coin transactions while investigating some transactions that are “stuck”. The particular transaction in question is https://blockchain.info/tx-index/115315411/10. Rebroadcasting this transaction in bitcoind results, in Error code -22.”

The issue was not clearly known until Blockchain released a detailed report today. They said the cause of the outages were as follows:

“On Monday March 17th, Blockchain services experienced a series of technical issues that originated from a database error and resulted in the suspension of services. The issue was entirely unrelated to the earlier problems with the SharedCoin service; it was simply a timing coincidence. This was not the result of hacking or attacks, or of any suspicious activity. It was simply the result of an obscure bug and a combination of technical factors that expressed this bug under heavy load.”

The issue was apparently not caused by the previous issues they had with Shared Coin. They claim that their site was not hacked and that this was the result of a database error. Blockchain assures us that any and all funds are safe from theft or loss during the downtime. The developers have not given a set time for  when the services will resume, only assuring us that all funds are safe and that the Blockchain team is working as hard as possible around the clock to get it all fixed within 72 hours. Blockchain wallet transactions are stored on the de-centralized Bitcoin system, meaning that Blockchain does not have access to them. Blockchain does not store any encrypted keys so the funds will remain safe, even under the event of an attack.

Some services have been partially restored, including the Blockchain explorer. Services and Databases are still down and are currently being worked on. Funds can still be manually withdrawn independently of their service, so it appears that things will be safe and secure. Many users have been manually withdrawing their coins to be sure that they are not lost. The website has launched some additional servers for the increased traffic of users that they are expecting to the site due to the outages. As people flock to withdraw their coins and to spectate on the issues, the servers could become overloaded, this preemptive measure seems like a good idea to keep things running smoothly. According to Blockchain, all wallet files and backups have been secured.

The next few days will tell the future of Blockchain though it appears they have control of the website by restoring some services. By restoring the Blockchain Explorer, the site has renewed some of the trust that had been lost during the unexpected outage of service. Users have been able to successfully withdraw their funds and it appears everything will return to normal with no loss, once they restore the service. Blockchain is offering help via a support request on how to withdraw balances to a desktop wallet. We will keep you updated on the developments that happen with Blockchain in the coming hours.

Edit

As promised Blockchain has successfully restored full services to their site. They have fixed the issue in a very timely manner and have successfully protected each user’s personal assets on the site. No funds were lost during the outage, and I believe that the site will only grow stronger because of this. The team promises to work hard to analyze what because the issue as well as making sure that it doesn’t happen again. Online wallet sites should take note of Blockchain’s system; it is a very good idea to make the wallet compatible with desktop wallets and make withdrawing funds possible even when the site is down. This feature would successfully protect individual assets under the event of an attack. The independence of the funds to the actual website is astounding and proved to be a great feature to an online wallet. I believe that Blockchain will learn from the mistake, and in the end grow to be an even stronger wallet. Mistakes are forgivable, especially when there was no loss, or loss of control. None of the users of Blockchain felt powerless during the outage because they were still in control of their funds throughout the whole affair. The developers have noted that there may be some performance issues as people all rush back into the service simultaneously; however, the service should be up and running normally within a day or two. There is no reason to panic or lose the trust in Blockchain because of this outage, the coins were handled very cautiously and responsibly the whole time, and were never in any danger of loss or theft because of the great security system Blockchain has.

Last modified (UTC): January 22, 2016 16:41

Drew Cordell (@DrewjCordell) @DrewjCordell

Drew is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas, majoring in Business. He is an active member of the Cryptocurrency community, and enjoys collecting, trading, and writing about various coins. Outside of the digital currency world, Drew tends to spend his time with friends, playing video games, or studying.