Amidst surging demand, the network overload on Solana is causing transaction failures and making even basic tasks a chore. As the Head of Protocol Development at Helium Foundation recently said, “Using Solana right now is like trying to teach a fish to climb a tree.” And he’s not the only one airing their grievances publicly.

Over the past few weeks, Solana has become the epicenter of the DeFi universe, hosting meme coins and trendy tokens like Wormhole, Jupiter, and Tensor, leading to a surge in decentralized exchange volume on the network to record highs in March. But now, it seems the network has become a victim of its own success.

Related: Tensor (TNSR) Airdrop: Launch of a New NFT Token on Solana

After weeks of mounting disappointment and developer tweets pointing fingers at specific apps and startups, a clear cause has been identified. A fix — or at least part of one — may be just around the corner.


Solana Troubles

Austin Federa, Head of Strategy at the Solana Foundation, took to Twitter on Wednesday with a summary of the situation, noting that the issues stem from the implementation of the QUIC protocol and can be attributed to a known problem that has suddenly worsened due to “unprecedented demand.”

Something we didn’t expect was the speed at which demand for Solana would surge, turning implementation from ‘adequate but needing improvement’ to ‘inadequate’ in a matter of days. A charitable read is that this is a ‘failure of success,’ otherwise known as ‘planning to fail.’ Simply put, it’s technical debt.

Federa mentioned that the issue developers have been discussing on Twitter in recent days was already on the agenda for resolution. However, he noted that the Foundation is putting more resources into “new critical work,” such as the upcoming Firedancer client, aimed at making Solana more robust following previous incidents of failures and outages.

Every solution is a series of compromises. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t. It’s not unlike what the Solana network experienced back in early 2022 when demand exceeded the capabilities of multiple systems.

Upcoming Updates and Features

The Solana Foundation has rallied developers from across the ecosystem, including those from Anza — a development outlet spun off from Solana Labs in January — as well as the Firedancer team, Jito’s infrastructure company, and others. An update for the Anza Agave validator client on Solana is expected around April 15th and might help reduce the overload.

Anza engineer Rex St. John shared a Solana explorer screenshot on Wednesday afternoon, showcasing significantly improved network ping times. “Preview of coming attractions,” he wrote. “Don’t worry yet. This is just a taste of what’s to come when it’s ready for prime time.”

While data indicates a surge in trading demand on Solana, some community members point to other factors contributing to the issue.

For instance, the new Ore project is creating a Bitcoin-like mining experience on Solana, but as a result, it’s adding strain to the network. Elsewhere, prominent builder Mert Mumtaz — co-founder and CEO of infrastructure startup Helius Labs — and others claim that some infrastructure firms on Solana are leveraging this issue to boost their profits.

“Imagine knowing about a core network issue as an infra provider,” Mumtaz tweeted on April 4th. “Instead of helping to fix it, you exploit it for profit and wreck UX for everyone, then brag about it. Shameful.”

More Info:

There might not be one sole reason for the demand hiccup affecting Solana’s performance right now, but the main culprit is known—and developers seem to be pulling out all the stops to test and implement fixes, hopefully aiming for improvements in the coming days.

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