- Solana has had four outages in the past six months, but if you ignore those warning signs, it’s the best blockchain, Sam Bankman-Fried says.
- He claims that such challenges are normal for a blockchain that’s doing more than all others combined – but keep in mind he’s one of the biggest SOL investors.
Solana – the Ethereum killer that shot up to the top five on the promise that it could do what Ethereum has failed to, and even do it better, but has failed to live up to promise. It has had four outages in the past six months, two of them in 2022 (we’re still in January). But if you ignore the outages, Solana is the best blockchain in the ecosystem, Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO and founder of FTX says.
As CNF reported a week ago, Solana suffered an outage that lasted about 30 hours on January 21-22. In its notice, the blockchain project blamed the outage on high levels of network congestion, adding, “The last 24 hours have shown these systems need to be improved to meet the demands of users, and support the more complex transactions now common on the network.”
Forget the outages, Solana is outperforming other blockchains: SBF
But despite these outages, one of Solana’s biggest bulls says it’s still the best blockchain network in the space. Sam Bankman-Fried, better known as SBF, took to Twitter to share his thoughts on Solana, its outages and what the future holds for the Ethereum killer.
1) I haven't commented much on @solana this week, but some brief thoughts:
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) January 25, 2022
Even with the network degrades, SBF defended the platform, saying that even the term ‘degraded’ is relative.
As far as I can tell, during the week when it’s had performance issues, and if you exclude all of the voting transactions from the TPS….it’s still processed more transactions than all other major blockchains. Combined.
According to the block explorer, Solana has averaged 2,600 transactions per second in the past six hours, way higher than Ethereum at 24 according to ETHTPS.info, and way higher than Bitcoin. However, it has competition from newer layer 1s like Terra and Avalanche, as well as layer 2s such as Polygon.
On this count, SBF is right, Solana is still one of the best performing blockchains, at least by transaction count. But is this enough even as the network suffers constant outages?
Yes, it hasn’t processed as many as it could have. But it’s still doing a ton. Which is to say: there’s more work to do. There’s always more work to do. And the most important thing is doing that work. Building.
Outages may just be Solana’s Achilles’ heel
The question seems squarely to be – are constant outages a big enough problem if a blockchain is performing in other sectors?
SBF insists they are not. He says that the outages are only because Solana is ambitious and is trying to push the boundaries of what blockchain networks can do, something that the likes of Ethereum and others aren’t.
“But also, let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture,” he says.
Only by being ambitious can we make progress. And sometimes that means failing to hit our goals, but we still often end up further than if we’d never tried. And there’s always tomorrow.
Most people disagree. A network outage, which Solana now treats as a normal occurrence, is a pretty big deal. It means that if you were making a trade, you have to wait until the developers work on the outage. If you were transferring an NFT from one wallet to another for enhanced security, it may not be such a big deal. If you were experimenting with crypto and sending a few bucks to a friend, you can afford to ignore it.
However, for the majority of the blockchain users, especially those to whom minutes, and even seconds can make a significant difference in the value of their holdings, an outage is quite a significant challenge.
DeFi is one of the sectors in which outages are a very big deal. Traders need to get in and out of trades with razor-sharp precision, and outages stop this. One of the leading DeFi platforms on Solana, Solend, recognized the challenge that the outage was, even as SBF and Solana founder Anatoly Yakovenko brush it off as a minor inconvenience.
On the recent outage, Solend tweeted:
We’re painfully aware of the issues in which users were unable to save themselves from being liquidated due to network congestion, and are looking into reconciliation.
Emin Gün Sirer, the CEO of Ava Labs, which runs Avalanche was quick to point out that the blockchain network doesn’t suffer from the Solana challenges. This is despite Avalanche supporting an average of 4,500 TPS, even higher than Solana.
But SBF championing Solana has to be scrutinized a bit more. Granted, every crypto leader has a right to support any project he/she believes in. However, SBF can’t be counted on to be impartial with Solana, much like CZ can’t be impartial on BNB, nor Vitalik with Ethereum.
SBF was one of the top investors in Solana. His market-making and VC firm Alameda Research teamed up with Andreessen Horowitz to pour in $314 million into the Solana Foundation in June last year.