Ethereum Developers Investigate Incident That Triggered Missing Blocks on ETH Mainnet

The Ethereum mainnet recently experienced a disruption characterized by missing blocks, raising concerns regarding the network’s stability and performance. This incident has prompted Ethereum developers to launch an investigation into its underlying causes.

The X handle of beacon chain. eth, an open-source Ethereum explorer, drew attention to the situation, noting that Ethereum core developers are investigating it: “The Ethereum network has been struggling and missing blocks for the past few epochs. Core developers are investigating, but it’s best to monitor your nodes closely,” it noted in a tweet late Wednesday.

The Ethereum network has been struggling and missing blocks for the past few epochs.

Core devs are investigating, but it’s best to monitor your nodes closely 👀

— beaconchain.eth 📡🦇 (@beaconcha_in) March 27, 2024

In the early hours of March 28, Terence.eth, an Ethereum developer, hinted that the situation was returning to normal.

“The mainnet’s missing block situation appears to be returning to normal now. No action or update is required from any CL or EL client at this moment,” Terence wrote. Responding to inquiries on what might have triggered the issue, he stated, “The blob sidecar was not released from the relayer.”

The issue was unrelated to the inscription but might have been compounded by more blobs. Terence went on to say that the issue has been going on for a week and was raised during the most recent Ethereum ACD call. While further updates are likely to be provided, the ETH developer hinted at a post-mortem.

Earlier in March, the ETH mainnet underwent the Dencun mainnet upgrade, which implemented ephemeral data blobs with EIP-4844, also known as “protodanksharding.” It is unclear whether the issue is related to the recently launched upgrade, as additional information was not available at press time.

Ethereum developers uncover threat to network

In another similar incident, Ethereum developers uncovered a threat against the Ethereum network that existed from the Merge until the Dencun hard fork. Before the merge, different message size limits for RPC communication were set to protect clients from denial-of-service (DOS) attacks.

On Feb. 7, it was discovered that it was possible to create a block that exceeds the 5MB limit, with a bunch of transactions that are less than the 128KB limit and do not surpass 30 million gas.

This issue meant that an attacker could create a bunch of high-paying transactions and send them to the network, forcing the majority of nodes (=geth) to reject blocks that a minority would approve. These blocks would be forked away and the proposer would miss out on rewards. In positive news, the bug has now been fixed in the client’s.


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