Large volume of transactions caused Avalanche to collapse, explains engineer

Ava Labs engineer Patrick O’Grad reported in a recent statement that a code error caused the Avalanche network to crash on February 11. The setback arose as part of the launch of the decentralized exchange (DEX) Pangolin.

In this sense, O’Grad explained that the massive use of the network by AVAX users “triggered a non-deterministic error”, causing some validators to accept some “mint transactions” (transactions by which new tokens are created) , which turned out to be invalid, so the rest of the network refused to respect these transactions, paralyzing the first chain, identified as C.

The issue resulted in some network users reporting that wait times were up to four hours to complete a transaction, according to Coindesk.

How does Avalanche work and where was the fault?

The network of Avalanche owns three chains, the first string is C for contracts, the second string is X for asset transfers, and the third string is P for subnet management and staking. Each of them runs a different virtual machine, designed to fulfill their respective purposes, but validated by the same set of validators.

According to what the engineer explained, the cryptocurrency AVAX and other digital assets “can be transferred between these chains. Because they are separate and isolated from each other, they do not know, nor do they analyze each other’s transactions.

In this way, when a user moves AVAX from one chain to another «the system destroys the AVAX in the source chain and mints it in the destination chain, through a couple of transactions.

This design allows the high-performance X chain based on DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) to be coupled to the C and P chains, both linear, slower and fully ordered, without requiring synchronization of data structure or time, “says the document.

The error in this case happened when a bug specifically affected the C string and allowed an invalid mint.

All this in the context of launch of Pangolin, which led to an increase in network use, increasing the number of blocks that were processed. Thus, there were validators that accepted blocks with invalid transactions and others did not accept it.

Faced with this anomaly, validators stopped moving up the C chain, but Avalanche continued to process transactions from the other two chains. Also, Avalanche code states that there cannot be two nodes that accept different blocks at the same height, or that have conflicting transactions.

You can summarize the problem, noting that what happened was that the validators accepted the invalid block. According to what the engineer Patrick O’Grad’s report says, they could not advance in any other block that did not have the mint error and that led to the arrest of Avalanche.

The bug caused no losses on the blockchain

Despite the problems that the network presented, O’Grad assured that the error was fixed, stating that it will not be re-presented in the future.

The bug did not affect regular transactions, coin transfers, asset transfers, coin destruction, or smart contract invocations. Avalanche never allowed any user to successfully send the same funds to two recipients. This means that absolutely no double spending occurred.

said Patrick O’Grad, an Avalanche engineer.

Likewise, the engineer emphasized that the error is not due to a problem in the Avalanche consensus, the network or the system. He called on anyone who wanted to verify the blockchain to do so through a transaction or by reviewing the metrics.

He also indicated that the problem happened on the same day of the Chinese New Year and that caused delays in the start-up of the services offered by the Avalanche network.

Avalanche and the launch of the DEX Pangolin

The Avalanche decentralized application network was launched in September 2020 and its technology allows business blockchains (public or private) to operate with other platforms.

Ava Labs has among its founders Emin Gün Sirer, professor of computer science at Cornell University. In addition, it has the support of firms such as Galaxy Digital, Bitmain and Initialized Capital by Mike Novogratz.

As reported by CriptoNoticias, a few days ago the Avalanche team announced the launch of a new decentralized exchange called Pangolin, which runs on the Avalanche network.

The market capitalization of AVAX is USD 2,876 million and the daily trade volume is USD 265 million. Source: Screenshot.

“It is fully compatible with Ethereum assets and tools, but with a faster purpose, higher performance, low fees and full compatibility with Ethereum token tools and standards,” the company explained in a press release.

One day after the launch of DEX, on February 10, the cryptocurrency obtained a 200% increase in value, but at the time of writing this article the currency is valued at USD 37 and registers a 28% drop in the last seven days.