How Solana is fixing outages, and the challenges it will tackle in 2023

Hull Invest

2022 was a particularly turbulent year for Solana (SOL). SOL’s price plummeted by 55% in his first month after the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX revealed its bankruptcy in early November.

At the time of writing, SOL is trading at $11.15, down 70% from its November peak of $37.73. Solana last traded at this level in February 2021. crypto slate data.

Solana Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Total Value Lock (TVL) fell 63% in a week amid the FTX debacle. On Nov. 14, Solana TVL had hit $330 million after losing nearly $500 million in his week, but according to DefiLlama, he had lost another $214.53 million as of press time. down to the dollar. data.

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the disgraced former CEO of FTX, who is currently out on bail awaiting criminal trial for fraud, was an early supporter of Solana, a hedge fund owned by SBF, according to Forbes. Alameda Research owns 53 million SOL tokens as of late August. report.

Solana’s decline speculation Regarding Binance considering the acquisition of FTX. Market analysts predicted that Binance would prioritize its own Binance Smart Chain and his BNB (BNB) token over Solana in the event of a takeover, leading investors to a hot sell. However, Binance eventually pulled out of the deal, leading to him declaring FTX and Alameda bankrupt on November 11th.

In June, a class action lawsuit was initiated against the Solana Foundation, Solana Labs, Multicoin Capital, FalconX, and Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko. In the lawsuit, Solana alleged that it was centralized, defendants profited from the sale of unregistered securities, and made misleading claims.

As the network attempts to recover, Yakovenko recently explained what the network is doing to solve the problem in 2023 and its main focus areas.

Solana’s ongoing focus

Fixing network failures

Long before the FTX debacle, Solana had its own problems with chronic network outages in early 2022. In the months that followed, the frequency of the outages decreased, but they continued to affect investors. On January 21st, the Solana network faced an outage lasting more than 24 hours, coinciding with the market downturn. This liquidated several traders’ positions.

According to Solana uptime tracker, Solana faced 14 outages in 2022, resulting in a total of 4 days, 12 hours and 21 minutes of downtime. Note, however, that the tracker does not record outages. Admitted on the network’s official Twitter account on November 9.

While network outages and slowdowns were primarily due to congestion, Jakovenko said a series of bugs were also responsible for the series of outages in early 2022. Some bugs were new, while others appeared as a result of increased network usage, Yakovenko said. .

As such, fixing network failures and increasing reliability and resilience will be a core focus of the Solana engineering team in 2022. At his Breakpoint 2022, Solana’s annual conference, Yakovenko said:

“I think this past year has been all about reliability for the Solana engineering team, and I think a lot of that has been worked out.”

August, Solana announced Jump Crypto, part of the quantitative trading firm Jump Trading Group, is building a new validator client for Solana. A validation project called Firedancer would propose significant network upgrades to improve Solana’s efficiency, resilience, and throughput, Solana claimed.

According to Solana, Firedancer can handle 600,000 transactions per second (TPS) in its test environment, compared to the network’s current average of 4,000 TPS.

Additionally, Solana redeployed its User Datagram Protocol (UDP)-based system to process transactions on top of QUIC, a protocol developed by Google. QUIC enables fast asynchronous communication and makes Solana more resilient.

Additionally, Solana deploys stake-weighted QoS, which “prevents non-staked or low-stake nodes from spamming everyone else,” Yakovenko said. Solana has also developed a local commission marketplace that allows users to pay an additional fee in exchange for prioritizing transactions for verification, increasing the reliability of the network.

Improved performance

Solana’s engineering team has developed several turbine optimizations that work behind the scenes to amplify the power of instantaneous communication. Additionally, Solana is working on runtime optimizations. This includes an upgrade to his Sealevel runtime in Solana, which has already improved transaction throughput, Yakovenko said.

Solana engineers continue to grapple with two difficult challenges: the transaction scheduler and the replay of those transactions, he added. Jacobenko says:

“Solutions are getting better and better, and the heuristics are getting closer to the best possible.”

Improved security

In early August, a hacker exfiltrated an estimated $8 million worth of SOL and USDC from approximately 7,767 hot wallets. The attack affected his web- and mobile-based Solana wallets including Solflare, Phantom, Slope and Trust Wallet.Some Ethereum (ETH) Investors Said affected by attacks.

Improving network security is paramount to the safety of user funds, but also important for mainstream adoption, Yakovenko said. According to Yakovenko, increasing the number of Solana validators has made the network more secure and censorship-resistant. Solana Validator totaled 1,911 in the last 24 hours, but 30 validators control 33% of the total stake.

Yakovenko pointed out that security needs to be further improved for Solana’s mainstream adoption. This could mean deploying automated auditing as a security feature that helps developers discover loopholes and errors in smart his contracts and development. he added:

“The more automation we can build, the more robust these systems will be.”

Improved programmability

Making Solana more programmable means using tools such as compilers that support many developer languages, Yakovenko said. Solana already has his Solidity compiler called solang. In addition, Solana’s development framework, Anchor, is easier for developers to use, he added.

With these additions and upgrades, Yakovenko said:

“Last year I went from chewing on a glass to surfing on a glass.”

The newly released Seahorse program enables developers to write anchor programs using Python, further enhancing Solana’s programmability.

Improved mobile compatibility

According to Yakovenko, virtual currencies are primarily desktop-based because the Web 3.0 business model is incompatible with that of large app stores. However, making cryptocurrencies accessible via mobile applications is essential for widespread adoption. This is because, according to Statista, about 82% of the world’s population, or about 6.6 billion smartphones, are in use. data.

Yakovenko said app stores are not friendly to crypto-decentralized applications (dApps). Also, dApps that are approved by the app store will need to add an extra step for users to connect their wallets. he added:

“This is a big challenge for the user experience and for the developers, not for the network.”

Developed by Solana Mobile, the Solana Mobile Stack aims to address these challenges. For example, seed vaults use security elements built into mobile phones to store seed phrases, making them inaccessible from Android and allowing dApps to easily connect to wallets, Yakovenko said. increase.

Additionally, the Solana dApp Store, which will begin accepting applications in January, will become a permissionless marketplace for mobile dApps, Yakovenko said.

Solana’s 2023 focus

Solving key programmability challenges

Solana aims to launch token-22, A new token standard that enables the development of new applications such as transfer and ownership, collecting royalties for secret payments.

Moreover, the network aims to achieve formal verification, and the tools are already in place, Yakovenko said. he added:

“At breakpoint next year, we are talking about smart contracts that are open source, have formally verifiable specifications, and allow auditors to look at the specifications and tell us where assumptions are missing or wrong. I can’t prove it.”

The network is also looking to enable type-rich bitcode, which could remove barriers that prevent function calls between Solana programs. This gives Solana full configurability, including passing messages between different services, Yakovenko said.

One of the key problems Yakovenko wants Solana to solve is dynamic pricing for network conditions and storage. Solana has already optimized its network with hardware, but further scaling will be required once the number of accounts reaches 5 billion or 10 billion, Yakovenko said.

He added that the Solana team has yet to figure out how to price storage. He said:

“I don’t know how to check the value of the next account next to the validator and that its storage is used effectively.”

Working on network-level improvements — “Solana slimmed down”

Yakovenko would like to enable a light client that allows users without running a full validation node to inspect small samples of data. A light client, which Yakovenko jokingly calls a “diet client,” could help secure the network and verify that the majority of nodes are correct, he said. Yakovenko calls the goal of enabling a light client “Slimming Solana” because Solana’s proof is much larger than his protocol layer.

Additionally, at the network level, Yakovenko would like to decouple the act of block generation from the execution of validator nodes. He said:

“This makes the actual block producer a bit more stateless and doesn’t need the most synchronized state, so you can spend all your resources on the very nasty real-time knapsack problem of creating a block. .”

This can be achieved by using bankless readers, which could lead to significant improvements in network reliability and latency, argues Yakovenko.

In 2023, Yakovenko is also considering enabling APEX. This separates the task of playing and reviewing blocks from fork selection. This way he doesn’t have to deal with spikes and dips in his web traffic requests from validators. Jacobenko says:

“When you pick a fork, you see the execution and the result. And if you can achieve this, it means that the actual program execution can run a full epoch behind the fork choice. You can do it at once.”

All three ideas improve network security and performance, argues Jakovenko.

Allows for multiple simultaneous block production

Enabling concurrent block generation is what Yakovenko calls “the mother of all hard bombs”. In order for Solana to be able to create a real-time historical record of events around the world, the information needs to be sent instantly. It also helps identify who originally discovered the information.

Therefore, it is important to remove latency from your network. This can be achieved with multiple concurrent block producers, as it provides multiple places to validate transactions, said Jakovenko. However, this is different from sharding, which divides a large database into smaller pieces, Yakovenko said, adding:

“We still have a single state machine, a single unified worldview of what a state is. There are multiple ways to encode that history.”

All of the above improvements and updates will help make decentralized systems as fast, reliable and secure as centralized systems, said Yakovenko.

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