Fees on Ethereum scaling solution Polygon are surging to record highs. The cause? A game.
Polygon gas prices spiked to an all-time high of a 410 Gwei average. That’s nearly twice as much as the previous high of 226 posted on Dec. 4, according to Polygon’s block explorer.
One Gwei is equal to one billionth of a MATIC token, native to Polygon, and transactions require many units of gas (denominated in Gwei), with more needed for more complex transactions. So while 410 Gwei is still fractions of a cent, with transactions costing many units of gas, those increases in price add up.
The game driving the surge is called Sunflower Farmer and people like Stephen Bentyn, who works on a Polygon-based app called Sapiency, are quipping on Twitter that “Sunflowers broke Polygon.”
This isn’t the first time a game has brought a blockchain to its knees; the most notable example being with Ethereum itself and CryptoKitties, arguably the first NFT application to reach maintream recognition. The concern is that scaling solutions like Polygon are meant to prevent this very issue, removing transactions from the main Ethereum chain to avoid popular applications from driving up fees and slowing down confirmation times.
A Sunflower Farmer smart contract is consuming well over half the gas on Polygon according to a chart provided by the chain’s block explorer.
At over 359,000 users, DappRadar ranks Sunflower Farmer as the number two application across all blockchains in those terms over the past 24 hours, second to only PancakeSwap on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and ahead of behemoths like Axie Infinity and OpenSea.
Polygon’s problems may run deeper than the blockchain simply becoming much more expensive to use. Phillippe Castonguay, director of product at Horizon Games, which produces a Polygon-based game called Skyweaver, tweeted that around 11% of Polygon validators were failing to submit blocks given the sudden surge in demand to transact on the blockchain.
Castonguay also indicated that the Sunflower game is the cause of the issue.
On a top level, the Sunflower game involves growing plants and harvesting them later in exchange for the project’s SFF token. Users can also use SFF to buy other tools, which can be used to acquire further resources which can be exchanged for NFTs represented by objects like chicken coops or scarecrows.
SFF is down 51% in the last 24 hours as of Jan. 5, according to CoinGecko, while Polygon’s token MATIC has dropped 9.3% as part of a broad sell-off which has seen the overall crypto market cap drop by 4.7%.