Dash, a blockchain powering the namesake privacy-focused coin, stopped processing transactions and producing new blocks for about 16 hours on Monday, according to Samuel Westrich, CTO of Dash Core Group.
“There was a problem during v19 activation of Dash Core,” Westrich tweeted around 5 a.m. UTC (1 a.m. EST). “The chain is stalled and currently not producing blocks,” he added. “We have everyone investigating the issue.”
Several hours later, Dash Core developer Pasta tweeted that the devs had identified issues and were working on a fix. “There are two options we are investigating, and everyone is focused on promptly resolving this issue,” Pasta wrote, adding that the planned release of the latest Dash Core client update, v19, might be delayed to resolve the issues first.
According to Pasta blocks and transactions on the Dash blockchain will not be considered final until an update is deployed. Exceptions will be made for two sorts of transactions specific for Dash: ChainLocked and InstantSend locked transactions.
Following the news, crypto exchange Binance announced that its own mining pool for DASH will suspend the distribution of mining rewards until the blockchain resumes block production.
A user on the DashPay Reddit page suggested that the planned v19 update did not go smoothly. The developers launched a hard fork, which introduced a new type of nodes, and these new nodes created a mess, so the blockchain split into two chains running in parallel.
“The chain appears to have bifurcated now with some nodes running forward past the fork block 1874880 and others still stuck on 1874879,” user xkcdmpx wrote. “It seems about 10-20% of the network is able to move forward, however, we do not have confirmation if this is the ‘correct’ chain.”
Some later posts in the thread had been since deleted and users complained about excessive subreddit moderation on the official Dash forum.
Late Monday night, the Dash Core developers issued a fix for the issue, according to the CTO Samuel Westrich. “Blocks have been being produced for about 7 hours now. We advise to upgrade to this version asap. Currently around 40%+ of the network has upgraded and the figure is rising quickly,” Westrich tweeted at 3:41 a.m. UTC on Tuesday. Around 4 p.m. he wrote that 80% of the network had adopted the hot fix and were running the blockchain again. The v19 update has been moved to June 14, according to the Dash Discord channel.
The update for Dash network clients was announced on April 14 and included significant modifications on how the nodes and wallets function. The update requires a hard fork – an irreversible change in the protocol rules that needs to be adapted by the absolute majority of nodes – otherwise the blockchain will split into two parallel versions of transaction history.
After the v19 activation, a new version of Dash masternodes will be introduced, with higher collateral requirements and more authority on the blockchain, according to the Dash Core official website. Masternodes host full copies of the blockchain and support some complex functions of Dash. They need to post a collateral to operate, receive rewards for supporting the network and also can vote to support new projects for Dash.
The update will bring a number of other changes for nodes, wallets, Dash anonymity features and other aspects of the blockchain’s operation, including copying some of the features of the Bitcoin blockchain. One of the new features will be that transactions that appear “stuck” in the queue to be processed will be re-sent sooner that they are now, after one hour, instead of the current more than 24-hour delay.
At the same time, Dash Core has been working on the Dash Platform v0.24 update on testnet to bring some high-level updates to how the blockchain works.
Dash was launched in 2014, more than a year later than Ethereum, but hasn’t been enjoying massive popularity, currently with a market cap of $493 million, 85th in size on CoinMarketCap.
UPDATE: (May 23, 2023, 16:30 UTC): This story has been updated to reflect the fact that the network outage had been temporary and block production ultimately resumed.
Edited by Stephen Alpher.