The Ethereum (ETH) blockchain had a technical issue on May 12 that led to a stoppage of finalizing blocks for over an hour. The incident followed a previous technical problem on May 11, making it the second one in 24 hours.
A bug could have attacked Ethereum
The Ethereum Beacon Chain failed to finalize transactions for an unclear reason, causing major security concerns for users. Steven Zheng, the Block research director, mentioned that people speculate that the reason was bugs in staking clients or MEV infrastructures.
The Ethereum Foundation stated that the unfinalized blocks could lead to the re-ordering or dropping of pending transactions from the network.
The recent attack was the second one in 24 hours, with the same issue on May 11 when finality paused for about 25 minutes.
According to an Ethereum staker, they found a production incident where all four sets of CL+EL deployed in their system were simultaneously rebooted, which is a rare phenomenon. It was then discovered that these BeaconNode Prysm suddenly doubled their memory usage, which drove the memory limit and triggered OOM.
A self-proclaimed Ethereum Beacon Chain community health consultant, Superphiz.eth, clarified that transactions do not stop due to finality issues like those on Ethereum. In addition, he noted that the lack of finality had no impact on on-chain activity.
As of the time of writing, the network has fixed the issue and restored the block finalization.
Changes need to be implemented on network
Some services built on Ethereum may need to modify operations due to finality issues. DYdX, for example, paused deposits temporarily due to the incident and continues to investigate the matter and monitor it.
Superphiz.eth noted that he expects a third even with the second wave over. He further advised validators on the network to increase their hardware spec if they can and switch to a minority client if possible. However, he noted not to worry too much about it, even if it looks terrible. The chain keeps going and will eventually finalize.
Meanwhile, it’s clear that questions about Ethereum’s stability remain and could stain its credibility in the builder’s eyes. The reliability of a network is essential for blockchains that would like to attract capital and grow users. That is important because Ethereum is historically viewed as among the most stable networks on the market.