The startup, located in a deep cryptocurrency niche, caused a stir and demand among experienced enthusiasts and broke Solana for 17 hours. Apologized, and, quite satisfied with itself, continued to work.
Today, one cannot be surprised by stories about fraud in the crypto industry, currency theft and blockchain attacks. But the story we will tell about the successful startup Grape and how it blocked the Solana blockchain stands out from this boring series of intentional atrocities.
Away from the hustle and bustle
There are many places on the network where specialists who can’t stand fuss and publicity like to gather. A platform for communication can be anything you like — a chat room in an Internet game, a little-known messenger, a private telegram channel, and so on. One such service is Discord.
Sometimes these are quite massive chat rooms, whose members form a kind of private club. It happens that such communities form joint business projects, which often grow into a DAO state. In this case, community members form a kind of decentralized governance structure that operates according to predetermined rules, with all business correspondence and documentation located on a blockchain. This makes collaborative business open, verifiable and secure. But in order to prove that you belong to DAO, you need to own a certain amount of cryptocurrency or tokens of that community.
Grape Network was conceived as a tool to make it easier for users to pass identification and work in DAO with decentralized finance, NFT, etc. As a rule, such projects choose the Ethereum network as their location. But its well-known issues with speed and cost led the founders of Grape choose another blockchain — the fast-growing and high-speed Solana.
To participate in the DAO, thanks to the startup, all users have to do is link their Discord account to their Solana wallet and upload all the necessary tokens to it. And the path to the private chat rooms is open.
How to boost the “fastest” blockchain
The blockchain, which until recently was the fastest one (currently Free TON is the leader), looked like a perfectly reliable platform for such placement until September 14, 2021.
It was a day filled with ‘mixed emotions.
Said Grape’s co-Founder Dean Pappas
Solana stopped for seventeen hours. In the early days after the mainnet restart, the user community and analysts suspected that a situation similar to what happened to Ethereum in 2016, when one of the DAO protocols was hacked, leading to the theft of $70 million, could happen to the blockchain.
In fact, it turned out that Grape’s tech-savvy users were to blame. On that day, the startup announced the sale of its native GRAPE tokens. Quite a niche product, interesting only to people deeply involved in the subject, and they turned out to be crucial for the ambitious Solana.
The decentralized exchange Raydium, where the sale took place, was flooded with requests generated by bots from advanced clients of the Grape network. The number of transaction requests at a time was such that the $40 billion network could not cope with their processing and had to shut down.
Look what we have done!
We kinda reveled in the fact that, ‘Hey, look what we did.’ You know? That was the primary emotion.
The boom attracted $600,000 to Grape at the start, and another $1.2 million a week later, when the token sale was re-launched.
The near-zero transaction costs that Solana is famous for in the context of its rivalry with Ethereum proved to be a double-edged sword. This created a favorable microclimate for spammers, who flooded the network with bots and demonstrated the fragility of the blockchain.
The Grape case is perhaps unique in the crypto industry, where dubious undertakings, hacks, thefts, and fraudulent startups are more common. As an example, the founders of DeFi projects YFDEX.Finance simply disappeared with a $20 million investment. In our case, however, the startup has become hostage to its own appeal, and the blockchain it operates on become hostage to overconfidence.