Take a deep breath as Beacon Chain stops finalizing… and then recovers

An unknown issue on Ethereum’s beacon chain caused transactions to halt for about half an hour on May 11.

On Thursday, May 11 at around 8:15PM ET, several core Ethereum developers announced that the Beacon Chain was having problems verifying transactions. New blocks could have been proposed, but an unknown problem prevented them from being finalized.

A similar issue occurred on March 15, when a low validator participation rate caused a delay on the Goerly testnet version of Ethereum’s “Shapela” upgrade, which ran successfully on April 12.

The Beacon Chain is Ethereum’s native proof-of-stake blockchain, first launched in 2020. Faster and more environmentally friendly Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism.

After 25 minutes, the mainnet began finalizing blocks again, with Ethereum core developer and Primatic Labs co-founder Preston van Loon announcing that “finality has been restored”.

According to data from blockchain analytics provider Beaconcha.in, Ethereum saw a sharp and sudden drop in verifications from epoch 200,552 to 200,554.

For reference, an epoch is the period of 32 slots in which validators propose and confirm blocks. A time slot usually lasts for approximately six minutes and 24 seconds.

Although the source of the problem is unclear, Ethereum developers Said The problem is investigated so that it does not recur.

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Following the event, the pseudonymous Ethereum advisor @Superphiz noted That “diversity of customers” was one of the main reasons why Finality’s loss was so short-lived. However, he also pointed out that the loss of finality could have been avoided entirely if no single client had more than 33% control.

Client diversity refers to the number of software clients available to network validators, and more client diversity means a more secure and robust network for validators.

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