Anomaly disrupts almost 60% of Cardano’s nodes

Over a half of the Cardano blockchain nodes experienced temporary disconnection, but the majority of affected nodes have now recovered.

Cardano affected by node disconnection

On January, 21, at 7:00 pm EST, Cardano experienced a temporary interruption between block 8300569 and 8300570. Nearly 60% of the nodes on the popular blockchain platform went offline.

Tom Stokes, operator of the ADA stake pool, Cardano's cryptocurrency, was among the first to report the issue.

In his tweet, Tom Stokes shared a chart showing a quick recovery of most of the lost nodes shortly after the disruption. The network managed to regain productivity of 87.40% of its nodes.

Input Output Global (IOG), the development company maintaining the Cardano blockchain, stated in a Reddit post:

„~60% of all Cardano nodes were just taken offline by a transaction bug. No reboot of the blockchain is needed but investigations on the cause are still ongoing.”

Richard McCracken, the Stake Pool Operator of the Digital Fortress, a hybrid Cardano stake pool, also claimed that a restart of the network was not necessary.

Still, the IOG developers are seeking technical support from the GitHub community. Even though the problem was explained by an anomaly triggering two simultaneous reactions in the node, a restart after throwing an exception, and a disconnection of a peer, the real culprit is still unknown.

Some engineers and developers see the quick recovery of the majority of nodes without human intervention as the proof of Cardano’s high node diversity and decentralization, believing these are the strengths of this platform. Others are sure, the diversity of the network is not enough. They assume the fast restoration happened due to the robustness of the nodes in the first place.

Although the majority of the nodes are already functioning properly, the IOG developers are seeking technical support from the GitHub community to fully understand the cause of the problem. The initial explanation for the issue was the anomaly that triggered two simultaneous reactions in the node. One led to a restart after throwing an exception while another one caused disconnection of a peer. Yet, the underlying problem is still unknown.

The team behind Cardano is continuing to investigate the case.

Is node disconnection a serious threat?

The severity of node disconnection depends on the network architecture and the factors leading to the issue. Generally, a network that loses active nodes has reduced decentralization, making it more vulnerable to manipulation and slower transaction performance. Additionally, the disconnection of a full node can result in the loss of data stored on that node.

The proof-of-stake mechanism used in the Cardano network not only makes it more energy-efficient than the proof-of-work method used in Bitcoin but also makes the platform more resilient to the loss of node connectivity. The PoS consensus mechanism allows relatively low-powered nodes to participate in transaction validation, increasing the integrity of the network.

The specific PoS consensus protocol used by Cardano, Ouroboros Praos, maintains the platform's performance even when a significant number of nodes are disconnected.

ADA’s reaction to node deactivation

ADA is the native cryptocurrency of Cardano. Both the platform and its cryptocurrency were launched in 2017 after a two-year development process led by Charles Hoskinson, one of the creators of Ethereum.

According to Coinmarketcap, ADA is currently ranked 8th among cryptocurrencies with the highest market capitalization, with a value of nearly $13 billion at press time. Its closest competitors include Binance USD (BUSD) with a market capitalization of over $16 billion and Dogecoin with a market capitalization of around $11.7 billion.

A chart showing the change of Cardano price from December 2022 to January 2023
Source: tradingview.com

The price of Cardano has been steadily increasing since its recent dip on January 19, 2023, when it traded at $0.3381. Despite the disruption in node performance, ADA continues to trend upward. As of this writing, Cardano is trading at $0.3787.