The Stellar Lumens Network came to a grinding halt after network validators were unable to reach consensus. The Stellar Development Foundation revealed the measures they will take to reduce such downtime in a blog post, May 17, 2019.
Stellar Network Went Down for an Hour
On May 15, 2019, the Stellar network completely shut down for nearly an hour after consensus was unable to be maintained. During the downtime, there were no double spends, the ledger just stopped functioning and no transactions were processed.
Breaking: yesterday the Stellar network went down for about 2 hours… only those who run validators noticed it.
no new transactions were added for ~2 hours.
— Tim Swanson (@ofnumbers) May 16, 2019
Despite community concern, safety was not compromised one bit as this was developed as Stellar’s temporary cyanide pill to ensure the ledger stays immutable and user funds are not affected. Stellar validators had lost contact with certain other validator nodes that were temporarily removed from their quorum set.
The network caters to over three million accounts and 150,000 transactions a day; while the trade off between uptime and double spends is reasonable, a protocol that aims to penetrate institutions cannot be allowed to have long outages. At the same time, these same institutions likely prefer the network coming to a stop for a while rather than their funds being compromised, so the differing perspectives make prioritizing slightly more ditficult.
Stellar Development Foundation is working on new updates to make sure downtime is limited and validators are able to see when they lose connection with other validators. In the recent past, Stellar has added a lot of new validator nodes;