Ethereum Mainnet Experiences 25-Minute Transaction Chaos

  • On May 11, Ethereum mainnet experienced a disruption in service for a period of approximately 30 minutes.
  • The problem was caused by two clients having a combined share of 76% dominance and no other client having more than a third of the network’s dominance.
  • This is not the first time for Ethereum to experience outages; they previously encountered an outage in November 2020.

Investigation Launched into Block Finalization Failure

Ethereum developers have launched an investigation into the block finalization failure that caused the recent 25-minute transaction chaos on the Ethereum mainnet. According to terence.eth, a contributor to Ethereum, the issue has been resolved and further information will be available soon. Superphiz, another contributor to Ethereum, believes that if no single client had more than a third of the network’s dominance, then this issue could have been avoided entirely.

Previous Outage Experienced by Ethereum

In November 2020, Ethereum experienced an outage due to one of its clients failing to upgrade its software version. This resulted in Infura, an Ethereum service provider maintained by ConsenSys, encountering a disruption in service which caused other services and firms to be unable to access the network’s data. As a result, there was a temporary hard fork which created two separate chains on the network.

Network Resilience and Diversity of Clients

The blockchain is designed with resilience against such issues in mind; transactions were still able to continue despite block finalization being absent for roughly thirty minutes. Superphiz also pointed out that this incident may have been prevented if there were multiple clients with varying levels of dominance on the network instead of only two dominant ones.


>Moving forward from this incident, it will be important for developers and contributors alike to ensure that similar issues don’t arise again by ensuring diversity amongst clients as well as increasing overall network resilience.