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Ethereum

Ethereum suffers unannounced hard fork following Infura bug

  • Ethereum service provider Infura has reported a failure related to a malfunction in an old version of the Geth client.
  • Ethereum Core developers introduced an “unannounced hard fork” at the block level 1,1234,873.
  • Binance CEO reported that funds are kept safe and announced a reinstatement of withdrawals.

A few hours ago, Ethereum‘s network infrastructure and API access provider, Infura, reported an “extended service failure”. The Infura team published the report at 8:12 UTC on November 11, attributing its cause to a malfunction in several components of older versions of Ethereum’s client Geth causing a critical consensus error in block 11234873.

Infura determined that the Ethereum client components that operated with versions after 1.9.19 were not affected. The team was able to identify the root cause of the problem and a solution was prepared to restore the service. Infura had to enable “additional capabilities” to support the affected components.

At the time of publication, research, and a solution to re-establish the service is still ongoing. Infura’s page shows major outage in 5 components of its Ethereum API: Mainnet Archive Data, Mainnet Filters, Mainnet Logs, Mainnet WebSocket JSON-RPC, and Mainnet HTTPS JSON-RPC API. Therefore, there have been failures in Infura’s price feed that affected the following exchanges: Binance, Upbit, Bithumb, Crypto.com. Metamask and even some DeFi applications might have been affected. As a result, ETH and ERC-20 tokens withdrawals were suspended.

Unannounced Ethereum hard fork?

Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, confirmed on his Twitter account that the withdrawals for the mentioned assets have been enabled again. User funds were not affected by the failure. Zhao made a peculiar report of the situation:

There was a possible ETH chain split at block 11234873. Etherscan and Blockchair are showing two different chains and data after this block.

In that sense, the lead developer for Blockchair, Nikita Zhavoronkov, made a more detailed explanation. Apparently, at the height of the referred block, Ethereum’s developers “introduced a change in the code”. This caused a chain split and the subsequent failure of the Geth client.

The crypto community has criticized Infura and the companies that were not aware of the upgrade. These entities were “stuck in a minority chain,” according to Zhavoronkov. However, the developer adds:

Technically, that was an unannounced hard fork. Something similar happened to Bitcoin 7 years ago when there was a database upgrade.

The developer of Ethereum Core, Péter Szilágyi, responded to Zhavoronkov by confirming that “technically” an unannounced hard fork was introduced. The update was intended to repair a “sleeping” error that was more than two years old and was not released to minimize potential damage.

The responsibility for the failure does not lie entirely with the companies providing the service, such as Infura. Szilágyi believes that all users should run their own node or accept the consequences of depending on a third party:

Stop pointing fingers at Infura using older Geth. It’s only sane from an operator perspective to not surf the newest releases. If you use Infura, you don’t get to complain how they conduct their business. You gave up that right when you delegated your node to them.

On the other hand, following his aggressive marketing strategy, TRON (TRX) CEO Justin Sun took the opportunity to promote their platform. Sun told users to “not worry” about withdrawal suspensions with Ethereum and recommended using TRX and USDT based on the TRON network. A portion of the users responded to Sun and recommended that he “focus on fixing the bugs” on his platform.

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