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Cardano’s Resilience Sees It Rise Head And Shoulders Over Ethereum, Avalanche, And Solana

Updated: Mar 12

Network resilience is the ability of a service to handle disruptions and continue offering its services to users at an acceptable standard. The concept captures the capacity of modern IT systems to remain operational despite a barrage of issues. Some popular issues that can test a platform’s resilience are misconfigurations, power outages, or operator errors.

In the blockchain space, resilience is a crucial part of operations that separate the best from the hopefuls. How frequently a distributed ledger network suffers outages can determine if users can trust it for the long haul, especially given the intricate technicalities around blockchain systems. In this category, a number of popular blockchain networks have either failed to live up to their hype or become redundant due to the plethora of outages they have suffered.

In this article, we dive deep into three major smart contract-backed blockchain services, investigating their resilience level against peer-reviewed network Cardano.

Avalanche Hits The Sack For The First Time

Nothing can be more frustrating for users than being unable to access a service at the time they need. According to a Gartner research, companies lose around $300,000 for every hour of downtime they experience. This shows that there is little room for network outages in the modern IT and financial ecosystems.

Although resilience has been hedged into the blockchain ecosystem, services in this nascent industry have had their fair share of downtimes and outages. One blockchain network joining the ranks in the past couple of months is self-described fastest protocol by block-finality time, Avalanche blockchain.

On February 1, 2024, the Avalanche blockchain had its first-ever block ingestion incident. This event triggered a delay across the Primary Network and the connected Subnets. Hence, the, Core, and were unable to record the latest network activity. However, the issue has since been resolved. The block ingestion delay led to a lapse spanning five hours.

Not quite done with that, another block finalization stall occurred a little over three weeks on 

February 23 when the Avalanche mainnet blockchain network could not properly validate transactions. This means transactions posted to the Avalanche mainnet were not resolved leading to a clogged pipeline.

In its incident report, the Avalanche team noted that the issue came from an upgrade it released earlier which sent out an excessive amount of gossip to validator nodes. This created an endless chatter that caused block finalization to significantly stall. To address this issue, an upgrade was released titled AvalancheGo and network validators were encouraged to make the necessary upgrade. The issue has since been resolved as well but the Avalanche blockchain saw a downtime spanning another 5 hours plus. In all this, users were forced to pause their transactions and saw value slip out of their hands.

While Avalanche’s struggles have drawn attention, no decentralized base-layer protocol has suffered more downtimes than the Solana blockchain. A proof-of-history (PoH) and proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol, Solana boasts transaction throughput upwards of 50,000 TPS but it has been the most hard-hit by downtimes.

So far, the PoH and PoS dual-combo protocol has suffered 11+ plus outages across its four years of operations. Most have taken several hours, with the least outage being recorded only taking the censorship-resistant network offline for approximately five hours. 

Source: Solana Status depicts red to highlight network outage or downtime

Solana’s continued outages have raised concerns around its reliability as a decentralized finance (DeFi) powerhouse that could help onboard the next generation of users into the burgeoning space.

What Causes Network Downtimes?

As we have pointed out earlier, a network’s resilience could be battle-tested by misconfigurations, power outages, or even operator (validator in the case of blockchain systems) errors.

Little explored cause is an upgrade or a network hard fork (or hardfork). A hard fork is a new software update that is incompatible with a blockchain or a cryptocurrency’s network nodes. This incompatibility often leads to a split into two blockchain networks which often run in parallel. A hard fork occurs due to a conflict in the rules in the software upgrade. This leads the network nodes to stop using the previous version, causing incompatibility and forcing validators to choose whether to revert to the previous software version or adopt the new one.

While hard forks are forward-incompatible, soft forks are backward-compatible allowing for the addition of new features without causing any structural changes or split in the network.

A blockchain protocol that has experienced a downtime or outage due to a major hard fork is the Ethereum protocol in May 2023. The foremost smart contract network experienced delays in block finalizations but has since rectified the issue and has been operating for 300+ days without any hiccups. The block finality issue was prompted by its transition from the older proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm to PoS.

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

On the other end of the spectrum, science-based Cardano network has never reported any downtime throughout its operational existence. The platform has continued to enjoy 100% uptime, ensuring that users are able to send and receive value, build decentralized applications (dApps) and services without any challenges.

Cardano’s success in network resiliency is despite launching multiple upgrades as part of its roadmap in its development journey. This goes to show that the popular adage of ‘breaking things and finding out what works down the line’ is not the best and most sustainable way of building decentralized value transfer mediums.

The Cardano research and development team, Input Output Global (IOG), has stuck to its science-based and peer-reviewed methodology, ensuring that all network upgrades and possible features are meticulously thought out and ironed out to ensure minimal hiccups in the long run.

What this proves is quite simple and that is the fastest way to travel and make progress is by being slow and taking measured steps daily. 

26 views1 comment



Great information Thank you!!!!

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