The Open Network (TON) blockchain faced significant challenges in transaction processing as a new protocol, inspired by Bitcoin Ordinals, led to a surge in activity. Issues began on Tuesday, and by Thursday afternoon, over 2.5 million transactions were pending, causing the blockchain’s speed to plummet to less than 1 transaction per second.
TON wallets halt services due to congestion
This congestion prompted popular the blockchain’s cryptocurrency wallets, including Wallet and Tonkeeper, to temporarily suspend their services. According to a post in the Community Telegram channel, producing over 2 million transactions increased network usage by 61 times within half an hour. The bottleneck followed the launch of Tonano, a service for creating blockchain inscriptions inspired by Bitcoin Ordinals, utilizing the TON20 token standard on the blockchain.
Although Tonano launched on Monday, it had to halt minting by Thursday due to the overwhelming demand. An anonymous technical report posted on the Telegraph blog platform explained that the congestion resulted from “validator nodes running on weak hardware.” These validators had rented low-load hardware without considering potential load growth. With the network operating at low load for months, the sudden 50-100 times increase in load within 30 minutes caused these validators to significantly slow down the entire network.
Validator node’s struggles and solutions
To address the issue, a patch was issued, and future measures, including harsher penalties for lagging validators, were proposed. The challenge of inscriptions flooding the blockchain with data has been a contentious topic in the Bitcoin community, where the format was initially introduced. Recently, this format made its way to the Polygon blockchain, causing a spike in transaction volumes but without halting the network. The blockchain started as a project led by the team behind Telegram, a widely used messaging app in the crypto space.
The white paper was authored by Nikolay Durov, brother of Telegram’s founder and CEO Pavel Durov. Despite raising $1.7 billion in a closed token sale in 2018, the project faced legal action from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an alleged unregistered securities sale. Telegram settled with the SEC, officially abandoning the project in May 2020. However, the project’s developer community and Telegram’s former technical partner, TON Labs, continued development.
Two competing projects, Toncoin (now TON) and Free TON (now Everscale), emerged. In September, Telegram officially endorsed TON, integrating the coin’s wallet into the messenger app’s interface for users outside the U.S. The Open Network blockchain grappled with transaction processing delays linked to a surge in activity driven by a protocol inspired by Bitcoin Ordinals. The congestion was exacerbated by validator nodes running on insufficient hardware, prompting temporary service halts by popular wallets.