The Ethereum Blockchain Just Experienced a ‘Finality’ Crisis


The Ethereum blockchain suffered two brief episodes last week where blocks weren’t finalizing – an unwanted bout of instability that presents risks to the blockchain’s security but isn’t considered dire.

There was a lot of confusion in terms of what the delay in “finality” meant for the functionality of the blockchain, prompting discussions about security concerns. So, it bears unpacking a bit.

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The cause of the temporary loss of block finality remains under investigation, though Prysm, a provider of client software used to run a node on the blockchain, just released a new version, describing it as “the first full release following the recent mainnet issues,” with “critical fixes.”

When data blocks don’t finalize, there isn’t supposed to be any downtime or difference in end-user experience. That said, a loss in finality can lead to some security issues like reorgs.

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