The blockchain ecosystem is now over a decade old and a lot has changed since the first Bitcoin block was mined on January 3, 2009. This burgeoning technology has given rise to more blockchain communities, with notable innovations such as the Ethereum blockchain which introduced the concept of smart contracts.
Today, innovators in the crypto ecosystem can develop decentralized applications (DApps), allowing anyone across the globe to access the featured products. However, it has not been a smooth ride for the upcoming smart contract blockchains; Ethereum, which leads the pack, is still trying to solve its scalability issues with the much-awaited 2.0 upgrade.
Back in 2017, this leading smart contract blockchain experienced a major slow down following the crypto kitties craze which increased the number of transactions on its network by sixfold. Similar situations have befallen rival Layer-1 chains with notable downtimes on leading platforms such as Solana within the past few months.
Though touted as ‘Ethereum killers’, one cannot ignore the fact that upcoming Layer-1 chains also face some network challenges. So, what could be the reason for the frequent downtimes on native blockchain ecosystems? The next section of this article will highlight some of the trends, featuring alternative solutions that could facilitate the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Not Yet Dawn for the Blockchain Ecosystem
As mentioned in the introduction, the blockchain ecosystem has evolved significantly but is yet to reach its full potential. Last year saw the debut of promising Layer-1 chains such as Avalanche and Solana, both of which have attracted a large community of stakeholders. That said, these chains have experienced downtime at some point, with the most frequent ones being on Solana.
Per the latest updates, Solana’s network went down as recently as January 4th, although it was back on within five hours. This was not the first time Solana experienced a downtime; the network suffered two distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, one in September and another in December. Notably, the September DDoS attack caused a 17-hour downtime, resulting in a backlash from some of the stakeholders in the crypto community.
While one would have thought that Layer-2 blockchains are safe from similar downtimes, this has not been the case. Ethereum-based Layer-2 chain Arbitrum reported a downtime in its network back in September 2021. According to the medium blog post announcement, the 45-minute outage resulted from a bug that caused the Sequencer to get stuck during high period transaction times.
“The root cause of the downtime was a bug causing the Sequencer to get stuck when it received a very large burst of transactions in a short period of time. The issue has been identified and a fix has been deployed.” read the blog.
Looking at these developments, it is evident that blockchain ecosystems have a long way to go before they can accommodate mainstream adoption. On the brighter side, the path of innovation in crypto has always lived up to its fast-paced nature.
Mainstream Adoption & Emerging Blockchain Networks
With 2022 starting on a high note, crypto natives are optimistic that emerging niches such as NFTs and alternative blockchain ecosystems will attract more participation. Even better, the community is gradually moving away from the narrative of sticking to one blockchain ecosystem in favour of operating on the most efficient and user-friendly chains.
This shift in sentiment is paving way for the adoption of alternative blockchain networks such as Qtum, an open-sourced blockchain public platform that combines Bitcoin’s UTXO model and smart contract capabilities. Unlike its counterparts, Qtum blockchain has never experienced downtime since it was launched in 2017.
Furthermore, the Qtum blockchain ecosystem features a business-friendly smart contract platform which means enterprises can build personalized networks. At its core, Qtum follows a Decentralized Governance Protocol (DGP), enabling the modification of particular blockchain settings through its underlying smart contracts.
While Qtum is one of the few examples, the emergence of blockchain networks that can accommodate mainstream adoption is a significant game-changer for the crypto market. As the industry grows from being a small knit community, new entrants and especially corporations will be focused on fundamental value as opposed to the speculation narratives.
Additionally, more stable blockchain ecosystems will prevent the loss attributed to downtimes. Smart contract developers and other innovators in the crypto industry will be able to build without fear of capital or client loss. This will spur the rate of innovation and crypto adoption as the industry prepares to go mainstream.
Like any nascent technology, blockchain is still in its early stages of development. What started as a revolution against the traditional banking ecosystem is slowly growing bigger than most would have imagined ten years ago. This being the case, it is not surprising that we have many upcoming blockchain infrastructures that are trying to solve the shortcomings of pioneer chains.
Eventually, some of the existing blockchain networks will fade away while fundamental projects take over the market dominance. This may take some time given that most projects are yet to onboard similar numbers to the traditional financial ecosystem. Nonetheless, it will either be a winner take all situation or collaboration between the players which live through to see mainstream adoption. The latter is likely to produce a better result.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.