Solana Ranks Near Bottom on DeFiSafety Technical Risk Score

Updated by Geraint Price
In Brief
  • Solana's infrastructure relating to nodes is subpar, according to DeFiSafety.
  • The chain is controlled by just 25 validator groups.
  • SOL price and network TVL has slumped over the past six months.
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Independent ratings organization DeFiSafety had few compliments for Solana following its repeated outages and reliability issues this year.

The firm, which generates Process Quality Reviews (PQRs) for crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, has released a report on Solana and it was highly critical.

“Due to repeated downtime, Solana has the second-worst final technical risk score of the 15 chains that we have reviewed so far,” it stated.

DeFiSafety is not a security or code auditing company, rather it reviews the quality of process and documentation behind the code. The Canadian firm provides chain scores based on various factors such as smart contracts and teams, documentation, testing, security, admin controls, and oracles.

No love for Solana

Solana has often been touted as an “Ethereum killer” but it has failed miserably at living up to that claim. The network has suffered at least five full or partial outages or service disruptions since the beginning of this year, and several in 2021.

The last major outage was on June 1 when a bug prevented consensus achievement which affected block production. DeFiSafety stated:

“Solana’s base score is low. Despite a public software repository and some good documentation, their infrastructure relating to nodes is subpar.”

It added that there is only one node implementation and updates are “handled in a haphazard manner” with no process for an archive node. It remains unclear where the chain stores its history with no documented updates on the Solar bridge after archives were abandoned.

Solana block explorer no match for Etherscan

Additionally, the Solscan block explorer does not match Etherscan in terms of utility, it claimed. DeFiSafety researchers reported frequent failed searches and 404 errors when trying to view older transactions. “This raises questions about the nature of Solana as a blockchain if it is not easily verifiable,” they stated.

The firm also reported that Solana node software had not been audited even though the chain was in a 2019 audit which focused on architecture only.

“This is alarming given the lack of formal process relating to upgrading any part of Solana – the production version of the chain is at the whim of whichever core contributor sees the push request.”

Then the report moved onto the gritty subject of Solana downtime and its chain restart policies which are apparently in the hands of just 25 validators who coordinate via Google Docs. It declared that the potential for chain manipulation was high since it is controlled by such a small number of groups and concluded.

“All in all, Solana presents systemic technical risk. There is no doubt about it. User funds, in our eyes, are at risk. We penalize them heavily for downtime because users cannot access their funds when the chain goes down.”

SOL price suffers

The once darling of the crypto space is suffering at the moment with its native token wiping out all gains it has made over the past 12 months. SOL has dumped almost 50% in the past month, a sell-off that has been accelerated by reliability issues in April, May, and June.

SOL is currently down 85% from its Nov all-time high of $260 and in danger of dropping out of the crypto market cap top ten. The asset was trading at $38.43 after a 3.4% loss on the day according to CoinGecko.

Total value locked on Solana has also dumped more than 75% over the past six months according to Defillama.

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