by Mac Slavo, SHTFPlan:
$300 million worth of the cryptocurrency Ethereum has been almost definitely lost forever. The losing of the currency was accidental and due to a bug in a digital wallet.
The Ethereum cryptocurrency has been lost after a series of bugs in a popular digital wallet service led one curious developer accidentally taking control of and then locking up the funds, according to reports.
The user, “devops199”, triggered the flaw completely accidentally. When they realized that they had taken control of the ether of other, they attempted to undo the damage by deleting the code which had transferred ownership of the funds. Rather than returning the money, however, the program simply locked all the funds in those multisignature wallets permanently, with no way to access them. “This means that currently no funds can be moved out of the multi-sig wallets,” Parity says in a security advisory.
Unlike most cryptocurrency hacks, however, the money wasn’t deliberately taken: it was effectively destroyed by accident. According to the Daily Mail, the lost money was in the form of Ether, the tradable currency that fuels the Ethereum distributed app platform, and was kept in digital multi-signature wallets built by a developer called Parity. These wallets require more than one user to enter their key before funds can be transferred.
On Tuesday, Parity revealed that, while fixing a bug that let hackers steal $32m out of few multi-signature wallets, it had inadvertently left the second flaw in its systems that allowed one user to become the sole owner of every single multi-signature wallet.
“We are analyzing the situation and will release an update with further details shortly,”Parity told users. Parity says that it is unable to confirm the exact amount lost and that the $300 million figure is “purely speculative”. The company also disputes that the currency is “lost.” They are arguing that the term “frozen” is more accurate. But if it is frozen, it appears that no-one has the ability to unfreeze the funds and there seems to be no resolution in sight.
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