The Decred cryptocurrency yesterday experienced an “outage” that took out most of its proof-of-work miners. Was it just a temporary blip, or difficulties with the blockchain’s complex nature?
Outage Affected PoW Miners and Pools
Project organizer Jacob Yocom-Piatt posted an outage notice on the community discussion forum. While the core software continued to function normally, the PoW portion of the mining network had “run into several temporarily show-stopping bugs”.
At fault was a requirement for PoW miners to set a value in the stake version. The default value was hard-coded to 0, leading Decred’s consensus daemon, dcrd, to reject blocks the software generated.
“With Decred, the various mining pool software configurations use the getwork JSON-RPC to get a block header from dcrd, which they then relay to their pool clients. However, the pool software typically makes changes to these headers before they are sent to clients, which in the case of Decred meant zeroing out the stake version field that was added with version 0.7.0. Similarly, mining client software, such as ccminer, zeroed out that same field for the stake version.”
The stake version needs to increment for Decred’s hard fork voting to function. This allows participants to vote on new proposals and agendas affecting the project.
Leaders reached out through all channels to ask mining pool members to update and get the network working again as soon as possible:
— Decred (@decredproject) April 23, 2017
At press time, all major pools had cooperated and the blockchain was functioning again. Bitsonline has reached out to community leaders for additional comment.
All good now, network is healthy
— supr nova pools (@SuprnovaPools) April 24, 2017
Decred and Its Hybrid Mining Network
Decred is novel among cryptocurrency projects. It uses a “hybrid consensus system” whereby some coins are mined with a proof-of-work mechanism (like Bitcoin) and some with proof-of-stake. The decred website says this is to balance power more equitably between miners and users.
The outage highlighted the problem when small projects with large market caps involve complex software implementations. Decred’s currency token has been on a tear this year, rising from 0.0006 BTC in January to a 0.0166 BTC high in March. Coincap.io calculates its current market cap at an impressive $83.9 million.
However the outage didn’t seem to affect the token’s price: it still sits around 0.0136 BTC, and above $16 USD equivalent value.
Wants to Balance Miners, Users
The project first launched in December 2015. As with many other altcoins, developers wanted to address what they saw as flaws in Bitcoin’s economy. In the case of Decred, it was governance, centralization and development funding.
Specifically, Yocom-Piatt cautioned in 2015 that Bitcoin development receives funding from external entities whose interests may not align with the community. A small group of insider developers wield too much power over its direction.
However it’s debatable whether end users understand the economics of cryptocurrencies to choose the “fairest” power model. Ultimately, network security and stability will attract more users.
Are you a miner? Were you affected by the outage at all? Let us know.
Images via Decred, Pixabay
Note: the author of this article does not currently hold decred tokens. Bitsonline editorial pieces should not be considered cryptocurrency trading or investment advice.