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Arbitrum Goes Down Citing Sequencer Problems

Layer 2 Arbitrum suffers 10 hour outage.

Arbitrum Goes Down Citing Sequencer Problems

Arbitrum, a scaling solution designed to both quicken and reduce the costs of Ethereum transactions, went offline for roughly 10 hours on Jan. 9, according to an administrator in the project’s Discord. 

No funds were lost, according to Arbitrum’s Twitter account, and the network is back online. 

Still, influential members of the crypto community underscored the importance of the outage. 

“If you didn’t tweet about Arbitrum turning off, you’re not allowed to sh*t on Solana network problems ever again – it’s only fair,” tweeted Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs. 

Solana, a rival to Arbitrum in terms of cheap and fast transactions, saw its network go down on Jan. 4 as well as having similar outages last year.

“I am confident the Ethereum people who criticized Solana will be equally fair and critical about this,” joked Cobie, a trader and host of popular crypto podcast UpOnly. 

Sequencer Problem

Offchain Labs, which develops Arbitrum, dropped a post to explain the outage, citing a hardware failure in Arbitrum’s Sequencer node. A Sequencer is a node that has special, albeit limited, power to order transactions on the network, according to Offchain Labs’ documentation.

Offchain Labs currently has control over the Sequencer, making transaction ordering a centralized process for the time being. The firm stated in their post-mortem of the outage that they have researched a credible path towards concurrently decentralizing the Sequencer and minimizing downtime for Arbitrum.

The firm said that the Sequencer had accepted 284 transactions when the network went down. These were logged upon rebooting before accepting new ones. 

Leading L2

Arbitrum is the leading Layer 2 solution for Ethereum in terms of value locked (TVL), according to L2BEAT. At $2.62B as of Jan. 10, the project has 47.7% of the total L2 market share. 

Daily transaction count on Arbitrum spiked to 267K on Sep. 12 as a lucrative yield farm called Arbinyan popped up on the L2. 

Since the spike, Arbitrum daily transactions have hovered around 30K, well short of Ethereum’s mainnet, which averaged over 1M daily transactions in 2021 according to Etherscan.

The stakes will only get higher if Arbitrum continues to grow — decentralizing the Sequencer, as well as developing a more resilient system, will be developments to watch as the L2 and alt-Layer 1 race continues to heat up.  

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