The number of reachable nodes has declined further following an “attack” that overloaded the bitcoin network.
Last week, an unknown actor sent a deluge of spam that left bitcoin’s nodes – the clients that store and relay transactions – with upwards of 88,000, or 1GB worth, waiting in their collective memory pool.
As Jay Feldis from hardware node maker BitSeed explained to CoinDesk, many low-spec nodes simply could not keep up:
“Eventually, the transaction backlog fills-up the RAM memory of the nodes. This causes the node computers to slow down dramatically or even freeze-up. If a node slows down too much, the bitcoin network considers it to be ineffective and ‘offline’. My guess is that most of the offline nodes just stop functioning well enough to respond.”
By Thursday, node numbers on tracking service Bitnodes had dropped 10%.
Today, despite the memory pool returning to normal (around 4MB at press time) and Core developer Jeff Garzik implementing a ‘quick fix‘ for operators, the total number of reachable nodes – 5,030 – remains 16% lower than before the ‘attack’.
Over the past year, the bitcoin network has been subject to a