STEEM Blockchain Fixed After Premature Fork Threw it Into Chaos

STEEM is up over 10% after a chaotic few days in which the blockchain wasn't working correctly.

The STEEM blockchain hit a bit of trouble over the last 24 hours as a software update threw the entire network into disarray, with pages from the Steemit social network no longer loading. Developers announced that they were fixing this issue yesterday, saying that they are “hard at work” to solve the issues.

About ten hours later, the social network announced that its block producers were slowly coming back online, getting the site working as it should, though Steem’s own node still had yet to return.

A few users later complained that their deposits in various exchanges were still unconfirmed as they did not appear on the blockchain. We have no word on whether these issues have been fixed.

Blocktrades, one of the Steem blockchain’s block producers, sent out an explanation this morning regarding the incident.

“During this time, we along with many of the other top 20 block producers (as well as some notable other witnesses such as @abit who donated some useful fixes on the way to getting the blockchain operating again) worked pretty hard to get the chain running again and were ultimately successful as of a few hours ago,” the producer wrote in a Steem update.

Blocktrades also explained that there was a bug that caused nodes running 0.20 of the software to split off from those running 0.19, making consensus nearly impossible. According to the producer, the fix involved a decision to temporarily move everything back to code from version 0.19 to avoid any accidental double spending.

“As of this moment, we’re back above 90% participation rate… I expect that many of the witnesses voting for v0.20 will probably switch back to an updated version of v0.20 tomorrow or the day after,” Blocktrades added.

According to Steem, the version 0.20 fork wasn’t supposed to happen until September 25 , but from our understanding, some nodes have updated to the newer software version prematurely. We were able to confirm this at the final hour with Steemit via email.

“Our blockchain experienced interruptions yesterday due to an issue that arose out of the process of transitioning to Hardfork 20. The chain’s safeguards activated after an unexpected collision in v0.1.19 in non-consensus code and as a result, the chain was paused until a fix was patched in. Steemit’s light nodes are now in sync with the Steem blockchain and as such, is back online,” said Madeline Stone, a spokesperson for Steemit, in an email to Cryptovest.

Almost like clockwork, after the network came back online, Steem’s coin experienced a massive boost, jumping from about $0.70 this morning to around $0.85 by the afternoon, GMT. Similarly, its 24-hour trading volume skyrocketed to almost $10 million at press time from a dull morning at just over $2 million.

While this may be a cause for celebration for those who have put a lot of money into the coin over the last two months, this still leaves some questions unanswered. Users on Twitter suspect this has to do with the fact that Bittrex’s Steem wallets were frozen for a time, but then that wouldn’t explain the massive spike in trading volumes.

It’s possible that this massive price swing was in anticipation of the 0.20 software update or a pump by a major whale. Judging by its recent tweets, Steem developers seem to be going ahead with the scheduled software update over the next seven days regardless of these recent events.