Arbitrum network went offline for 78 minutes because of inscriptions


Ethereum layer-2 network Arbitrum One has experienced an outage on December 15 for approximately 78 minutes, but is now back online, according to a statement made by the network’s Discord community manager, Ricardo “Gordan.” Gas fees on the network are still abnormally high, but should “normalize” 

Message from Arbitrum community manager. Source: Arbitrum Discord.

The sequencer “stalled” at 10:29 am ET (13:29 UTC) during a “significant surge in network traffic,” according to an alert that was posted to Arbitrum’s official status page. At 5:58 pm UTC, Arbitrum’s block explorer, Arbiscan, showed that some blocks were being produced. However, they appeared to be only processing two transactions in each block.

Arbitrum outage alert. Source: Arbitrum

Some users took to X (Twitter) to speculate about whether the outage was caused by inscriptions, as this would explain the small number of transactions in each block. This was later confirmed by the team. Inscriptions are a type of data format used in some blockchain networks and are often used to carry collectible images. Inscriptions originated on Bitcoin but have recently been used on Arbitrum thanks to the MemeOrdi protocol.

According to blockchain analytics platform Layer2Beat, users of Abitrum can withdraw their assets to Ethereum even if the sequencer is down, although this will take 24 hours to process. If proposer validators are also down, the process will take at least six days, eight hours, 43 minutes, and 36 seconds. The network was down for less than two hours.


Update (Dec. 15,  8:34 pm UTC): This article has been updated to include a statement from the team that the network is up and running.

This is a developing story, and further information will be added as it becomes available.

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