PancakeSwap, the leading Binance Smart Chain application in terms of market capitalization, blamed recent performance woes on an overloaded blockchain.
“No, #PancakeSwap isn’t slow, BSC is just overloaded right now,” the tweet said. “We also have an ATH number of people using the site.”
The increased demand for BSC block space appears to be the culprit with daily transactions hitting an all-time high of 8.1M on Tuesday, and then again yesterday at 9.1M.
The increased demand led to BSC’s leading block explorer BscScan, to suggest that users increase their gas submissions to above 5 gwei, which has been the standard for the chain’s users. PancakeSwap also encouraged its users to “use more gas,” on Twitter.
In the meantime, the user experience floundered.
“Block explorers were out, nodes were not synced and average transaction times went from 5-15 sec to 10-15 minutes” reported The Defiant engineer, who goes by the online alias Sam Farmer.
An Early Geth Fork
BSC is a fork of Geth, itself an implementation of Ethereum, written in the Go programming language. BSC is suffering from arbitrage bots spamming the network with transactions, Andrei Anisimov, previously a Senior Software Engineer at Coinbase, said in an interview.
“Ethereum experienced similar problems during the DeFi Summer, which prompted the core devs to introduce time-based transaction ordering,” he said.
Core developers merged the feature into Ethereum’s protocol in July, before BSC was released, but BSC forked Geth prior to the pull request according to Anisimov. Because of the fork’s timing, BSC is not ordering same-price transactions chronologically, but randomly, in the mempool where transactions are picked to be integrated in the blockchain.
This, coupled with 5 Gwei fixed gas price across major BSC apps, incentivizes arbitrage bots to spam the network, said Anisimov.
“BSC is pushing their chain significantly harder than what I think Geth can handle.” said Ethereum team lead Péter Szilágyi, the developer who actually merged the pull request above, on Twitter “It’s nice while the chain is empty, sure, but once you pile enough data up, Geth is gonna reach it’s (sic) limits.”
BSC’s Big Blocks
Binance made key trade-offs when forking Etereum, making the gas limit higher and increasing the block times, to allow for lower fees and faster transactions. The improved performance was largely responsible for the massive increase in BSC usage which came in Q1.
Before demand for BSC blockspace reached recent heights, higher gas limit and increasing block times did not present a problem for the chain. Now however, it appears the tweaks, which allowed the blockchain to become so popular, so quickly, are showing their limits.
Increased block size temporarily allows for throughput to increase linearly, but it will eventually make it impossible for BSC’s already specialized validating nodes to process the chain’s state, according to Philippe Castonguay, Director of Product at Horizon Games.
“If they keep increasing the gas limit, there will be a point where it will be physically impossible for even their most powerful server to be fast enough to stay ahead and BSC will drastically slow down,” Castonguay said on Twitter.
BscScan shows the chain increased its gas limit to 60M from 30M.
Back To Business
BSC is up and running, Binance Chain, BSC’s parent chain, said on Twitter. At some, like with Ethereum’s congestion woes, may take the spiking transactions on the chain as a bullish signal.
The war for market share continues in crypto land with scaling capability as the key battlefield.