Vitalik Buterin and China-based blockchain analytics company PeckShield have said that ransom hackers are behind the $2.6 million fee ETH transactions.
June 13 2020 | AtoZ Markets – Over the past couple of days, two transactions with abnormally high fees were carried out on Ethereum’s network. The two transactions have stunned everyone in the Ethereum community.
According to Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s Co-Founder, these million-dollar transaction fees “may” actually be blackmail.
What transpired on Ethereum’s blockchain?
Two days ago, as AtoZ Market reported, that a mysterious Ethereum user paid 10,668 ETH (over $2.6 million) in fees. However, the value it transmitted was only 0.55 ETH.
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 the 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.— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) June 12, 2020
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
Buterin also explains how this partial key was like. According to him, “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.
Blackmail campaigns are common
Blackmail campaigns are not uncommon in the crypto space. A few months ago, Binance revealed that a pro-claimed hacker previously demanded 300 BTC from it for “withholding 10,000 photos that bear similarity to Binance KYC data.”
The hacker, however, refused to give the team any irrefutable evidence regarding the source of the breach. As a result, Binance ended the conversation, but the hacker then started distributing the KYC data online and to media outlets.
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