The Ripple fork, Stellar went down for almost two hours on Thursday with its users unable to process transactions or even move tokens on the payment network. Interestingly, it’s Tim Swanson who alerted Twitter regarding the issue, and later representatives from Stellar confirmed the occurrence.
The reason for abruptly going offline has since been attributed to the network validators going missing.
The network deploys the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) mechanism (a proprietary consensus mechanism) in which a quorum of validators is well selected from total nodes to reach consensus.
The downtime was hardly noticed, and during that period, the network didn’t register any transactions.
Decentralization a Concern
This Thursday’s incident has raised questions about the network’s level of decentralization that uses the “validator” network design just like Ripple. Therefore, it’s a design that few servers validate all the transactions, and when they experience some problems, the system quickly becomes unusable.
Can something similar occur on the XRPL? If not, how was it avoided in your design?
— Eric Dadoun (@EDadoun) May 16, 2019
Last month, the network’s chief scientist confirmed that decentralization is a concern for Stellar. According to Jed McCaleb, Stellar’s nodes are not the thing to blame on for the downtime, and that the project has done much to get folks to not rely too much on the nodes.
The way to handle the whole thing is by first having a better onboarding of new validators whereby the users require published standards as well as explorers to help in the creation of better quorum sets. Also, there have to be better operator standards.
Stellar’s Point of Failure
The network stopped as a result of SDF validators going down hence the halt. The point has been noted out that the system stops when at least two to three validator nodes get down.
Nothing has thus far explained about the validators to go down all of a sudden, and given that the network isn’t used frequently even the community, as well as others, failed to take notice at first.
Is Stellar Safe?
The implication from the network is that there are risks of having little critical validator nodes which, when disabled, can indeed jeopardize the whole system. The network looks to have learned the failure and has promised to have learned from the halt.
The entire scenario has been responded by Stellar (XLM) Organization already as they set up steps to mitigate future risks. For instance, the blockchain firm has set it clear to be better monitoring as well as alerting individuals running the validators when the nodes go missing. Also, it has set for quicker restarts to help operators recover whenever a halt on the network occurs.
Consequently, although the halt looks so much negative, the response from Stellar on how to handle such risks going forward is a masterpiece.
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