On May 15, and largely unrecognized, the Stellar (XLM) network had shut down for over one hour. One of those who noticed the outage was Tim Swanson, the founder of PostOakLabs.
In a tweet, Swanson noted:
“Yesterday the Stellar network went down for about 2 hours… only those who run validations noticed it. No new transactions were added for approximately 2 hours.”
Now, the team behind XLM has come out to confirm the occurrence. In a blog post, the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) said that the “Stellar network halted for 67 minutes due to an inability to reach consensus. During that time, no ledgers were closed, and no transactions were processed – basically, Stellar stopped.”
However, the foundation maintained that the state of the ledger was uncompromised and was “consistent across the network.” SDF added that the network boasts over 100,000 daily active users and more than 3 million accounts. The team assured users that no money was lost and no balances were confused.
Although the Stellar Development Foundation noted that such an outage revealed some areas that needed improvement, there were claims that the network is highly centralized, thus the shutdown.
But according to SDF:
“Ironically, the opposite is true. Stellar has added many new nodes recently. In retrospect, some new nodes took on much consensus responsibility too soon. We need better community standards around maintenance timings, quorumset building, and validator configuration.”
To reduce the chances of the XLM network shutting down in the future, SDF indicated that it would deploy better monitoring and alerting functionalities. These will help alert operators when a vital node is down. Additionally, SDF will help network operators to recover “quickly if the network does halt.” With the current settings, a halted node requires “excessive” coordination with other participants before it restarts.
While SDF doesn’t rule out that the network will never shut down in future, it says with such improvements, the outage time “would have been much shorter.”