Stellar's blockchain experiences a "cascading failure," crashes for 2 hours

16 May, 2019
by Richard Allen
Stellar's blockchain experiences a cascading failure, crashes for 2 hours

According to a tweet by Tim Swanson, head of research at Post Oak Labs, Stellar’s blockchain went down for around two hours on May 15. Only those who run validators noticed the issue.

In another tweet, Swanson explained, “a critical mass of nodes went down causing a cascading failure and so the entire network went but because it isn’t frequently used, few noticed.”

A Stellar Foundation representative later confirmed the downtime in a Reddit post. According to the network monitoring service, everything is back up and running normally.

As the Hard Fork reports, cybersecurity experts have been keeping a close eye on cascading failure issues experienced by the Stellar blockchain. The issue is reportedly caused by its reliance on a small group of network participants validating transactions.

According to the cybersecurity experts, “If two centralized nodes can not receive or send any message because of DDoS, then all nodes in Stellar network will be blocked and can not move to the next step in the consensus process.”

Stellar’s chief scientist David Mazières wrote in a blog post:

“To the extent that Stellar is centralized, the question is whether the validators at the center of the network actually reflect the most important anchors and exchanges. This is currently a weak spot in the Stellar ecosystem.”

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