Crypto News

ViaBTC Capital | Reasons Behind Solana’s Frequent Downtime: Design Flaws in the Gas Economy

What is the gas fee? In the blockchain world, the gas fee is a fee that users have to pay to the blockchain network for each transaction. For example, when a user makes a transfer on Ethereum, miners must package his transaction and put it on the blockchain to complete the transaction. This process consumes the computing resources of the blockchain, and the fee paid to miners is called the gas fee. Gas economy Imagine that each public chain is a society or a city, and gas would be the currency that users need for various activities in the city, and the economic designs of gas have far-reaching impacts on the public chain’s future development. Today, we will illustrate the significance of the gas economy from the perspectives of performance and value capture. Performance – The frequent network congestion of Solana In early May, Solana’s mainnet lost consensus, and block generation was suspended for 7 hours. The mainnet was down due to the NFT minting of a new NFT project. Users turned to bots for sending transactions as much as possible to increase their success rate of minting. This led to 6 million transactions per second on the Solana mainnet, which jammed the network. Moreover, as Solana transmits consensus messages as a special transaction message between validators, the heavily congested network also disabled the normal transmission of consensus messages, eventually leading to the loss of consensus. This is not the first downtime of Solana. Last September, the public chain suffered a 17-hour downtime due to the massive trading volume created by on-chain bots during the launch of the hit project Raydium. A 30-hour Solana downtime incident happened at the end of January 2022 when the BTC price plunged from $44,000 to $33,000 during a market crash and created plenty of arbitrage opportunities. Meanwhile, the liquidation/arbitrage bots on Solana, which center on DeFi, kept creating massive transactions, which resulted in network downtime. When comparing Solana to a conventional IT system, we can tell that the downtime resembles a DDoS attack. 「A DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack refers to adding traffic from multiple sources to exceed the processing capacity of a network so that real users would not be able to acquire the resources or services they need. Attackers often launch a DDoS attack by sending more traffic to a network than it can handle or sending more requests to an application than it can manage.」 Instinctively, many people would think that Solana’s downtime is rooted in its public chain designs: the monolithic design of Solana inevitably leads to downtime. At the moment, mainstream public chains use two kinds of designs: the modular and the monolithic. The modular architecture refers to a modularized deployment where consensus, storage, and execution are implemented separately so that the collapse of the execution layer will not compromise the security of the consensus layer. At the same time, mainstream designs adopted by Avalanche’s Subnet, ETH 2.0, and Celestia’s Rollup can all diverge massive transactions. On the other hand, although Solana as a whole is designed to enable fast transactions, scalability and security were sacrificed. However, the modular design of a public chain is not the key because although the consensus stayed secure, the individual rollup could still suffer from downtime when facing overwhelming transactions in a very short period. In other words, the modular design just lowered the systemic risks (e.g., a certain rollup could halt but the rest can survive) for the public chain. The gas design is the real reason behind Solana’s downtime, and more network downtime is on the way if the design is not improved. – The gas mechanisms of different chains The figure below shows the gas designs of three mainstream public chains. On Solana, the gas fee is based on the number of signatures. The more signatures a transaction uses, the higher the gas fee. However, the maximum memory capacity of each transaction is fixed, and so is the maximum gas fee per transaction, which helps users easily calculate the cost of sending massive transaction requests. Moreover, transactions on Solana are not sequenced, which means that when the cost of sending massive requests is lower than the profit (arbitrage, NFT minting, etc.), users would use bots to send transactions on a large scale to increase the likelihood of the execution of their transactions. This is also the reason behind the downtime events that took place on Solana. Ethereum and Avalanche share similar gas designs. Both feature the base fee and the priority fee, which creates an inherent sequencing issue because transactions with a higher priority fee would be first executed. As such, although users can still use bots to create massive transactions on Ethereum and Avalanche, their transactions will not be executed no matter how many requests are sent when the priority fee becomes insufficient, and they have to wait in line. Considering the cost of gas, such a design eliminates the possibility of network downtime arising from massive transactions at the economic level. Source[1] – Improvement by Solana Economic isolation has always served its purpose better than methodological isolation. Solana has already started to build its own Fee Market by introducing a concept similar to the priority fee. Meanwhile, Metaplex, Solana’s NFT market, will also adopt a new concept called Invalid Transaction Penalty, which means that users will have to pay a fee for invalid transactions when minting NFTs. Value capture Value capture is the reflection of a gas economy via the market cap of the gas (the native crypto of the chain). The market cap of a native coin is roughly determined by two factors: cash flow and monetary premium. – Cash flow When it comes to charging the gas fee, most public chains follow the same approach: lower the gas fee as much as possible to attract users from Ethereum. From the perspective of cash flow, such an approach is unsustainable. Of the three mainstream public chains, only Ethereum stands with a considerable net cash inflow, although the network is still issuing more Ethers. If we consider additional issuance as a type of subsidy, then the net expenditure of Ethereum per day would be about $25.7 million if the annual issuance rate stands at 3.21%. Solana and Avalanche, on the other hand, have an income of $6,250 and $42,000 a day on average, with a daily net expenditure of $4.6 million and $1.86 million and a yearly issuance rate of 6.93% and 5.22%. The high net expenditure & high issuance rate significantly dilute the market cap of the public chain coins. Source[2] Let’s turn to the destinations of cash flows. Under Ethereum’s current mechanism, the base fee is burned, while the priority fee is offered to miners. Compared with the gas burning and distribution mechanisms of Solana and Avalanche that offer the gas fee to validators, the miner reward is a design that compromises value capture. Ethereum uses the PoW design for block generation, and most of the miners adopt a business model under which tokens that have been mined are sold to cover the mining cost (such as electricity fees and maintenance costs). Therefore, the part of the gas fee paid to miners will most likely go out from the ecosystem. It would be better to give the gas fee to validators because the cost of running a node is not as high as operating a mining factory. Since there are not significant ongoing operating cost, validators are more likely to invest the rewards they’ve received in the nodes, which makes the ecosystem safer without diluting the value of the native coin. Burning fees might be the most direct and effective way to capture valuee and benefits both node stakers and token holders. In addition, MEV constitutes another major source of revenue for public chains. According to statistics from Flashbots, from 2020 to now, $600 million worth of MEV has been paid to miners, which is a conservative estimate. Source[3] – Monetary premium Monetary premium refers to the appreciation of a public chain coin in terms of its practical value and value storage. Most existing public chain coins are carrying out massive issuance, which makes them poor value storage, and the practical value forms the backbone of their market cap. The growth of the ecosystem of a public chain coin will create scenarios where it can be used as a payment method. For instance, most NFT transactions are settled with public chain coins. Meanwhile, most emerging public chains also consider the practical value as the primary means of appreciation, which is why they have set negligible gas fees to attract traffic and new users. Meanwhile, some public chains have built foundations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to encourage more developers to build DApps in their ecosystem. The logic behind such an approach is to make big investments to attract users in the initial stage and try to recover the cost later. Conclusion To sum up, the gas design of a public chain will have profound impacts on the future development of a public chain, and a poor design could lead to poor value capture and even performance bottlenecks. When evaluating a public chain project, we can also get a rough picture of its development strategy and future growth through its gas designs.   [1] https://docs.solana.com/implemented-proposals/transaction-fees#congestion-driven-fees,https://ethereum.org/en/developers/docs/gas/,https://docs.avax.network/quickstart/transaction-fees/ [2] https://cryptofees.info/,https://moneyprinter.info/,https://solanabeach.io/ [3] https://docs.solana.com/implemented-proposals/transaction-fees#congestion-driven-fees,https://ethereum.org/en/developers/docs/gas/,https://docs.avax.network/quickstart/transaction-fees/

Bitcoin Crypto News

Why Pain May Not Be Over For Bitcoin Holders Just Yet

Past trend of the Bitcoin long-term holder SOPR (EMA 30) may suggest that BTC holders may face more pain in the coming months. Bitcoin Long-Term Holder SOPR Has Dropped Below “One” Recently As explained by an analyst in a CryptoQuant post, BTC investors may be in for a frustrating few months if history is anything to go by. The “spent output profit ratio” (or SOPR in short) is an indicator that tells us whether Bitcoin investors are selling at a profit or at a loss right now. The metric works by going through the transaction history of each coin being sold on the chain, to see what price it was last moved at. If the previous selling price of any coin was less than the current value of BTC, then the coin has just been sold for a profit. On the other hand, the past value being more than the latest price of the crypto would imply the coin has moved at a loss. When the value of the SOPR is greater than one, it means the overall Bitcoin market is selling at a profit right now. Related Reading | Bitcoin Coinbase Premium Gap Approaches Zero, Selloff Ending? On the other hand, values of the indicator less than one imply investors as a whole are realizing some loss at the moment. Now, the “long-term holder” (LTH) group includes any Bitcoin investor who has been holding their coins since at least 155 days ago without moving or selling. The below chart shows the trend in the SOPR over the history of the crypto specifically for these LTHs. Looks like the 30-day exponential-MA value of the indicator has gone down recently | Source: CryptoQuant In the above graph, the quant has highlighted all the regions of relevant trend for the Bitcoin long-term holder SOPR. It seems like during past bottoms, the indicator’s EMA-30 value has gone below one and trended sideways there for a while (except for the COVID-19 crash, where the metric didn’t stay in the zone for too long). Related Reading | Bitcoin Whale Presence On Derivatives Still High, More Volatility Ahead? Recently, the LTH SOPR’s value has once again gone below one, suggesting long-term holders are realizing losses right now. The analyst notes that while such capitulation events have historically lead to bottom formations, it may still be a while, even months, before a low is actually found. BTC Price At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price floats around $21.4k, up 11% in the past week. Here is a chart that shows the trend in the value of the coin over the last five days: The price of the coin seems to have surged up over the last few days | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView Featured image from Kanchanara on Unsplash.com, charts from TradingView.com, CryptoQuant.com

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ECB’s Christine Lagarde Proposes A MiCA 2.0 To Cover Bitcoin, Staking, And Lending

$2.2 Trillion Asset Manager Buys Stake In MicroStrategy, Gains Indirect Exposure To Bitcoin

President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, speaking with the European Parliament on Monday, has called on Lawmakers to start working on fresh crypto regulations to cover DeFi and Bitcoin as she fears that crypto will eventually grow to the point where it becomes a financial stability risk. While congratulating the parliament on its […]

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Five Altcoins Are Showing Strength As Bitcoin Bottoming Begins, According to Analyst Nicholas Merten

A closely followed crypto analyst says five large-cap altcoins are starting to flash signs of strength as Bitcoin (BTC) attempts to carve a bottom. Nicholas Merten tells his audience of 516,000 YouTube subscribers that a shift in altcoin markets is beginning, with Bitcoin in the process of bottoming out.  “We are getting into the kind […]

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Bitcoin Crypto News

Bitcoin Coinbase Premium Gap Approaches Zero, Selloff Ending?

On-chain data shows the Bitcoin coinbase premium gap has improved recently and is now approaching a neutral value, suggesting the selling pressure may be drying up. Bitcoin Coinbase Premium Gap Close To Zero, But Still Negative As pointed out by an analyst in a CryptoQuant post, the selling pressure from US investors seems to have reduced in recent days. The “Coinbase Premium Gap” is an indicator that measures the difference in the Bitcoin prices listed on crypto exchanges Coinbase (USD pair) and Binance (USDT pair). The quant notes that US investors are known to use the Coinbase platform, especially high-net entities and institutions. When the value of this metric is positive, it means the price on Coinbase is higher at the moment. Such a trend suggests there has been buying from US investors recently. Related Reading | Bitcoin Whale Presence On Derivatives Still High, More Volatility Ahead? On the other hand, a negative premium gap implies there has been some selling on the crypto exchange as the price is lesser than on Binance. Now, here is a chart that shows the trend in the Bitcoin Coinbase premium gap over the year 2022 so far: The value of the metric looks to be negative right now | Source: CryptoQuant As you can see in the above graph, the Bitcoin Coinbase premium gap has been negative in the last couple of months. During the LUNA crash, it reached a highly red value of $131, which means there was some heavy selling from US investors then. During the consolidation period that followed, as well as during the latest crash, the value of the indicator moved sideways around a negative $20. Related Reading | Is Bitcoin Like Buying Google Early? Check Out The Shocking Comparison Over the last few days, however, the trend seems to have changed and the premium gap is now observing some upwards movement. While the indicator still has a negative value, it’s quite close to zero now as the gap between Coinbase and Binance stands at just -$5. This shows that the selling pressure from US investors has been dying down recently, a sign that could prove to be bullish for the price of Bitcoin. BTC Price At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price floats around $21.2k, up 11% in the last seven days. Over the past month, the crypto has lost 28% in value. The below chart shows the trend in the price of the coin over the last five days. Looks like the value of the crypto has been going up over the last few days | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView Since the low below $18k, Bitcoin has been trying to gradually make some recovery. However, the crypto is currently finding it difficult to leave the $21k level. Featured image from Unsplash.com, charts from TradingView.com, CryptoQuant.com

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Crypto Analyst Who Predicted Bitcoin (BTC) Crash Below $23,000 Has New Alert for Crypto Traders

The popular crypto analyst who accurately predicted current market woes is now cautioning investors that Bitcoin (BTC) is likely to fall further. The pseudonymous trader Capo tells his 409,300 Twitter followers he sees no indication that BTC has reached a cycle bottom around the $20,000 level. “Based on what you read on Twitter, you may think […]

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Bitcoin Crypto News

Bitcoin Whale Presence On Derivatives Still High, More Volatility Ahead?

On-chain data shows Bitcoin whales are transferring large amounts to derivatives exchanges right now, a signal that more volatility could be ahead for the crypto. Bitcoin All Exchanges To Derivatives Flow Continues To Show High Value As explained by an analyst in a CryptoQuant post, BTC whale activity on derivatives exchanges still seems to be high. The relevant indicator here is the “all exchanges to derivatives exchanges flow,” which measures the total amount of Bitcoin moving from spot exchange wallets to derivatives. When the value of this metric spikes up, it means whales are currently moving a large number of coins to derivatives exchanges right now. Such a trend usually occurs around lows in the price of the crypto as whales look to get themselves long positions. Related Reading | Bitcoin Recovery Slows Down As Whale Inflows Remain Elevated On the other hand, low values of the indicator show whales aren’t moving much coins to derivatives at the moment. This kind of trend has historically lead to tops in the value of the coin. Now, here is a chart that shows the trend in the Bitcoin all exchanges to derivatives flow over the last couple of years: Looks like the value of the metric has been quite high recently | Source: CryptoQuant As you can see in the above graph, the Bitcoin spot to derivatives flow has spiked up recently, suggesting that whale activity is pretty high right now. In fact, the current value of the indicator is actually the highest ever in the history of the cryptocurrency, implying there is an all-time high rate of whales on derivatives currently. Related Reading | Bitcoin May Have Hit Bottom According to These Indicators, BTC Targets $23K? Historically, the price of the crypto has observed significant volatility whenever the metric’s value has been elevated. Based on this trend, the quant believes that the value of the coin could still see further fluctuations in the near future. The analyst also notes that a reduction in the all exchanges to derivatives flow will need to be there, for the volatility to die down. BTC Price At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price floats around $21.1k, up 4% in the last seven days. Over the past month, the crypto has lost 27% in value. The below chart shows the trend in the price of the coin over the last five days. The value of the crypto seems to have surged up over the last couple of days | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView After hitting a low of below $18k a week ago, Bitcoin has been trying to recover. So far, the crypto has managed to break above $21k again, but it’s yet unclear whether this recovery will last. Featured image from Unsplash.com, charts from TradingView.com, CryptoQuant.com