Polygon Under Accidental Attack From Swarm of Sunflower Farmers
A chain normally known for its high throughput has been hobbled today by a surprising foe: a simple blockchain-based agriculture game called Sunflower Farmers.
Since at least Tuesday, Polygon proof of stake chain users have been taking to social media to gripe about failed transactions and degraded performance across the blockchain.
However, instead of a complex financial product taxing chains like Solana or an NFT drop clogging Ethereum for hours at a time, Sunflower Farmers is a simple resource-gathering game that uses blockchain transactions for simple in-game actions – a dynamic some have likened to an unintentional distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. A Sunflower Farm team member did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
The chain-wide slowdown is reminiscent of the early days of CryptoKitties, a 2017 non-fungible hit that clogged the Ethereum mainnet for weeks at a time with “breeding” and trading-related transactions.
Both Polygon’s throughput and the strains Sunflower Farm is placing on the chain are orders of magnitude larger than 2017′s game-related blockchain clog, however.
A simple transaction on Polygon currently costs roughly 500 gwei, or $0.50, up from fractions of a cent. Additionally, the number of active addresses on Polygon’s Proof of Stake chain has spiked 60% in a single week, with over 200,000 accounts transacting on the chain. Current speculation is that many of these addresses are “bots.”
“Botting” play-to-earn games – creating accounts that are controlled programmatically to earn in-game rewards – is endemic in the blockchain gaming industry, with titles like Axie Infinity and Alien Worlds struggling to differentiate between players enjoying a game and computers farming digital cash.
Crypto investment firm co-founder Dan Elitzer wrote on Twitter that Polygon’s normally high throughput might be partly to blame for Sunflower’s transaction-heavy mechanics, saying “If you make global state&computation ~free, people will do stupid shit until it breaks or the price increases enough to make them stop.”
Likewise, one Delphi Labs developer said that the incident is a prime example of why more games should have dedicated, application-specific chains, such as Axie Infinity’s Ronin.
Polygon’s MATIC token is up 1% on the day to $2.24, while Sunflower Farm’s SFF is down 59% to $0.613760.Source