Over the past couple of days, three transactions with abnormally high fees were carried out on Ethereum’s network. Two of them, both with the same fee of about $2.6 million per transaction, were initiated from the same sending address, while the third one was from a different address and with a smaller fee compared to the others.
According to Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s Co-Founder, these million-dollar transaction fees “may” actually be blackmail.
What Happened on Ethereum’s Blockchain?
Two days ago, as CryptoPotato reported, an unknown address sent a transaction of 0.55 ETH to another user and paid 10,668 ETH (worth around $2.6M) of fees. While a lot of people were speculating that it may have been an input-value human mistake, the following day saw another transaction from the same address with the exact same transaction fee.
In total, the account had paid upwards of $5.2 million in fees for two transactions that carried a little over 350 ETH worth of value.
And if that wasn’t strange enough, just today, a third Ethereum transaction carrying around 3,221 ETH paid a fee of 2,310 ETH worth just shy of $550,000 at the time of this writing.
The third transaction from today had a different sender compared to the previous two. This had the entire community wondering what’s the reason for this.
Vitalik Buterin Weighs In
According to Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, these “million-dollar txfees *may* actually be blackmail.”
His theory assumes that the sending address belongs to a cryptocurrency exchange, to which hackers have “captured partial access to exchange key.” Since they don’t have the full key, “they can’t withdraw but can send no-effect txs with any gas price.”
In essence, the hackers would leverage their ability to send transactions of the kind and “burn” all funds “unless compensated.”
So the million-dollar txfees *may* actually be blackmail.
The theory: hackers captured partial access to exchange key; they can’t withdraw but can send no-effect txs with any gasprice. So they threaten to “burn” all funds via txfees unless compensated.https://t.co/kEDFGp4gsQ
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) June 12, 2020
When asked how this partial key would like, Buterin answered that “the key could be stored in some kind of cloud server instance that has a non-root account that’s capable of only withdrawing to particular addresses.”
It’s important to note that this is just a theory, and Buterin hasn’t made any claims. He also clarified that this could happen on any platform and not only on Ethereum.
In essence, the matter remains unresolved and particularly peculiar.