Weiss Ratings Endorses Stellar Lumens (XLM) In Spite of Blockchain Network Down Time
Weiss Ratings recently asked crypto Twitter why Stellar
“has one of the best consensus algorithms of any projects ever. Yet it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves”.
Most pundits said that the platform does zero to market itself.
— Weiss Crypto Ratings (@WeissCrypto) June 4, 2019
Nonetheless, besides Stellar’s poor marketing, its recent blockchain downtime did portray it as a fragile platform which could further hurt its market potential. Its blockchain went offline abruptly leaving its users stranded. Transactions processes were halted, and token movement on the high-speed payment network came to a halt.
Strangely enough, most of its effects went unnoticed even after a two-hour outage. Those who run its validators, however, noticed the problem. Speaking of the event Tim Swanson, the Post Oak Labs head of research and technology tweeted:
what basically happened was that a critical mass of nodes went down causing a cascading failure and so the entire network went down but because it isn't frequently used, few noticed.
— Tim Swanson (@ofnumbers) May 16, 2019
Stellar's blockchain had during the network experienced a shortage of validator nodes, and therefore consensus became an impossibility. Without a majority of its network of nodes active, Stellar's network will freeze because as Jed McCaleb Stellar Protocol creator explained after the event, ledgers could not be closed safely without sufficient nodes online.
The Stellar Consensus Protocol
Stellar's blockchain, like any other, is dependent on the distributed peer-to-peer mechanism since it has no central authority. The decentralization of a blockchain platform requires rigorous consensus protocols to ensure decision-making. Most cryptocurrencies often have to sacrifice decentralization of performance when working with their preferred consensus protocol.
Behind every decision, a miner, user, node, or validator makes lies the underlying consensus protocol. Consequently, the consensus reached by these groups is what goes to an immutable ledger. The verification of the data that goes into the public ledger, though, can be messy.
Bitcoin will, for instance, use proof of work, done through mining. No one miner, hence, can claim a falsified majority vote without gaining a majority hashing power, which is often hindered by the capabilities of mining hardware. PoW is, however, energy intensive and slow.
In contrast, some blockchains use the more energy efficient PoS. It is faster, but it rewards the wealthiest and fastest nodes with transaction fees as rewards. Stellar, on the other hand, uses a decentralized Byzantine agreement, which is an almost social way of reaching consensus.
Stellar Still Rising
Through the Stellar Consensus Protocol nodes that are familiar to each other engage with nodes that they agree on for consensus. As a result, in the procedure known as federated voting, a node exchanges messages with other nodes in its quorum slice. The principle behind this protocol is that quality consensus is hard to reach between nodes that have no knowledge of each other. Without some form of familiarity, a malicious node could join the network and falsify a record.
Despite the downtime, Stellar's coin, the Lumen is going against all odds. However, such a failure has not been heard of in the larger blockchains but did not come as a surprise. The Stellar network had become increasingly centralized because the three Stellar Development Foundation nodes have been heavily depended on.