Ethereum core developers are yet to pinpoint the root cause behind the network’s failure to confirm transactions.
On Thursday evening, several users of the Ethereum blockchain reported that their transactions were only partially processed on the Beacon Chain. The network’s core developers tweeted shortly after confirming that the network was having trouble finalizing transactions and the issue was being investigated.
Finality has been restored. We do not know the root cause yet, but something happened to cause several client implementations to work really hard to keep up with the chain.
— prestonvanloon.eth (@preston_vanloon) May 11, 2023
Around 25 minutes later, the mainnet resumed finalizing blocks, but the reason behind the brief disruption remained unknown. In this instance, the issue seemingly fixed itself without any developer intervention.
Terence Tsao, co-founder of Ethereum Proof-of-Stake client Prysm, issued an update on Twitter, saying the team had identified areas where state caching could be improved so that nodes perform better during periods of degradation, like the one witnessed earlier in the day.
“Given the chain has stabilized, as a staker / node operator, there’s no action required moment,” he said.
Marius van der Wijden, another Etheruem developer, described the event as a “great firedrill” for the network.
“It looks like two or three issues came together (as its often the case). The chain recovered gracefully and we discovered a few other issues that could be improved to make Ethereum more resilient,” he said on Twitter.
One of the dangers of the chain not finalizing is that the network could enter a so-called “inactivity leak” mode, where validators are penalized for not participating. Fortunately, the issue was resolved before it got to this stage, which was likely one or two epochs of non-finality away, according to Ethereum developer Ben Edgington.