Avalanche halts block production amid inscription wave launch

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Update (Feb. 23 and 1:28 PM UTC): This article has been updated to insert new information published by Ava Labs co-founder Kevin Sekniqi.

Decentralized applications (DApp) platform Avalanche witnessed a significant technical disruption impacting the block production of the proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain. 

On Feb. 23 at 12:02:27 UTC, the Avalanche’s primary network experienced block production issues, seemingly putting the network to a halt. Avalanche’s blockchain explorer showed that the last block on Avalanche’s P-Chain, X-Chain and C-chain subnets was produced over an hour earlier. Avalanche also put out an official alert related to the block finalization stall. Avalanche wrote:  

“Developers across the community are currently investigating a stall in block finalization that is preventing blocks from being accepted on the Primary Network.” 

Block production is an important process for the stability and continuity of blockchain networks. This involves the inception of new blocks that validate and record transactions. Interruptions in the block production process result in delays in transaction processing, impacting the overall functionality of the network. 

Kevin Sekniqi, the co-founder of Ava Labs, posted on X (formerly Twitter) that their team is already investigating the issue. According to Sekniqi, the halt in block production may be connected to a “new inscription wave” launched an hour before the issues surfaced. 

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The Ava Labs executive believes that the issue might be an “esoteric bug from some edge case” and mentioned that the issue is likely a mempool handling issue with inscriptions. Sekniqi assured the community that this would be “handled quickly.”

Nearly an hour later, Sekniqi clarified that the issue was a code-related bug unrelated to performance handling. The executive explained that inscriptions may have hit the edge case but did not affect performance. 

Similar reports on Avalanche’s block production halting surfaced back on March 23, 2023. At the time, the Avalanche blockchain explorer showed that the C-chain stopped producing blocks. However, Sekniqi explained then that the network had been unstable due to a bug with its v1.9.12 and that they’ve deployed a fix, leading to the network stabilizing.

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