The Victim Behind the $3.14 Million Bitcoin Transaction Fee Hack
The world of cryptocurrency has yet again been shaken by a colossal blunder resulting in a transaction fee of unprecedented proportions. On November 23, a mind-boggling fee of 83.65 BTC (approximately 3.14 million USD) was paid for a transaction involving the transfer of 139.42 BTC (about 5.23 million USD). This occurrence marks the highest transaction fee paid in USD terms, surpassing the previous record of 500,000 USD paid by Paxos in September.
The saga continued the following day when a newly created account under the name “@83_5BTC” emerged, claiming ownership of the wallet involved in this exorbitant fee. However, a startling revelation followed as it was disclosed that this claim was the result of a hacking incident. The purported account holder stated that they had set up a new cold wallet, transferred 139 BTC into it, only to witness its immediate transfer to another wallet, indicating a swift and unauthorized movement of funds.
It was my BTC that paid the high fee.
I created a new cold wallet, transferred 139BTC to it and it got transferred out to another wallet immediately. 😵
I can only imagine that someone was running a script on that wallet and that the script had a weird fee calculation. ☹️
— Hackers_paid_83.5BTC_fee_with_my_money (@83_5BTC) November 24, 2023
The Hack: Losing More Than Just a Fee
The implications of this incident are dire. Not only did the victim lose the staggering fee of 83.7 BTC, but the entire stack of 139 BTC was also compromised, totaling a loss of over 5 million USD. The assailant managed to siphon off nearly 56 BTC while paying an astronomical fee.
The primary speculation revolves around the compromised wallet’s low entropy. This essentially means that the wallet’s randomness generation might have been flawed, making it susceptible to hacking attempts and enabling the sender to inflate the transaction fee to expedite the transaction process.
The signature checks out, @83_5BTC apparently controls the key that paid that 83.7 BTC fee.
— mononaut (@mononautical) November 27, 2023
Seeking Answers and Potential Redress
In the aftermath, questions loom over the swift fee bump using Replace-By-Fee (RBF). It’s uncertain why this transaction was rapidly adjusted with such a high fee. Speculation suggests the possibility of multiple attackers vying to steal the funds, leading to an inflated fee strategy as a deterrent or hindrance to competitors or potential victims.
The complexity of this situation is further compounded by conflicting claims and signatures. While “@83_5BTC” asserts ownership over the transaction, there are doubts arising from the possibility of the message being signed by the attacker or another party who may have gained access to the compromised wallet’s weak entropy.
AntPool’s Role and Community Speculation
The transaction was accepted by AntPool at block 818,087, generating significant earnings for the company. There’s a cloud of uncertainty surrounding whether AntPool will consider reimbursement. If they opt to do so, verifying the victim’s identity becomes a crucial factor, possibly requiring diverse methods of authentication.
Community members, including developers like Mononaut and “niftydev,” speculate on the root cause, suggesting that the compromised wallet’s low entropy might have facilitated the fee manipulation and expedited transaction processing on the network.
i know this guy: he started an anon account + is trying to get his bitcoins back after a wallet got hacked last week; if you know anyone at @AntPoolofficial etc retweets whatever appreciated https://t.co/ImpormWHWY
— niftydev (b/acc) (@niftynei) November 27, 2023
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