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On Friday, the Ethereum blockchain encountered a technical glitch that resulted in the network being unable to finalize blocks for a duration exceeding an hour. This is the second instance of such an outage occurring within the previous 24-hour period.
The occurrence, the reason for which is yet to be determined, has triggered significant security apprehensions among the users of Ethereum, which is the second-largest blockchain platform by market capitalization. The Ethereum Foundation has highlighted that in situations where blocks cannot be finalized, there is a possibility that pending transactions could be reordered or removed from the network.
At the time of reporting, the Ethereum network had resumed its block finalization process. However, this marks the second time in a 24-hour period that Ethereum has encountered a performance setback, with the chain experiencing a similar issue on Thursday that resulted in a pause in finality for approximately 25 minutes.
Any doubts regarding Ethereum's stability could damage its reputation among developers. The dependability of a blockchain network is critical to its ability to attract users and investment, and Ethereum has consistently been regarded as one of the most reliable networks in the industry.
"I wouldn't say I am concerned but it's definitely not ideal," Toghrul Maharramov, a developer at the Ethereum infrastructure startup Scroll, wrote in a message to CoinDesk. "To be able to say whether or not the situation is the fault of the protocol design or an outcome of a bug, we need to first understand what actually happened."
On Twitter, Superphiz.eth, who identifies as an "Ethereum Beacon Chain community health consultant," provided clarification that transactions were not disrupted due to the finality issues that Ethereum faced recently. Despite the lack of finality, which caused some hiccups in the past few days, there was "zero impact on-chain activity," as stated in Superphiz.eth's tweet.
While the lack of finality on Ethereum did not cause any disruptions to on-chain activity, some of the services built on top of Ethereum's multi-billion-dollar financial infrastructure and other applications may need to make operational modifications. For example, leading crypto exchange platform DYdX temporarily suspended deposits due to the finality issues and has stated that it is "continuing to monitor and investigate this issue."
"The second wave is over, but I fully expect a third," Superphiz.eth tweeted after today's incident, advising the validators that operate the network to "Increase your hardware spec if you can, switch to a minority client if you can. Apply patches when they're available."
"But really don't worry too much," he added. "As bad as this looks, the chain keeps going and eventually finalizes."