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Bot Swarm Causes Major Outage on the Solana Network

As most community members continued to process the chaos of the Otherside drop, the fragility of the Solana Network was laid bare for all to see. Amid the unassuming calmness of a Sunday afternoon, a swarm of bots overcame the pioneering proof-of-stake chain, resulting in a complete outage of all systems lasting a grand total of seven long hours.

The bizarre events unfolded as Metaplex’s Candy Machine minting tool became overwhelmed with bot activity. Information as to why the bots targeted the Candy Machine app remains scarce. However, they flooded the besieged software by as many as 4 million transactions and 100 gigabits of information every second. This cacophony of traffic then overcame Solana’s own self-administered safeguards, effectively, turning off the lights and rendering it inactive.

Following a seven-hour period, and much discussion by the chain’s validators on the project’s Discord, Solana’s node operators chose to restart the beleaguered network, while selecting not to block the candy machine application, therefore continuing operations exactly where it left off.

Validator operators successfully completed a cluster restart of Mainnet Beta at 3:00 AM UTC, following a roughly 7 hour outage after the network failed to reach consensus.

Network operators an dapps will continue to restore client services over the next several hours.

— Solana Status (@SolanaStatus) May 1, 2022

Since the incident, Metaplex announced it will impose a 0.01 $SOL bot penalty on future unwanted transactions via the Candy Machine, forcing developers to think twice before bombarding the system with minting requests. Despite the resolution, a number of questions remain. Generally speaking, was this a deliberate act? Why was the Candy Machine targeted? And if so, what was the ultimate goal?

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