Over the last day, the Ethereum user has fortuitously spent about $5.2 million on transaction fees to make just two ETH transactions. On June 10, the user-initiated a transfer of only $130 to ETH, accidentally incurring a cost of $2.6 million.
A few hours later, the same Ethereum user started another transaction. This time round, however, the transaction involves a much higher amount of Ethereum worth $86,000. The problem is that users still spend the same amount of transaction fees, another $2.6 million error. Oh, Ouch!
Mining pools’ reaction to the $5.2 million Ethereum user mistake
In the two cases, the mining companies have frozen the funds and are exploring the option to give them back to their original owner. Spark Pool, which mined the first transaction, issued a public statement instantly after block number 10237208 was extracted, noting that it has launched investigations on the matter.
Moreover, Spark Pool noted that the mining firm has the experience of handling similar issues. Notably, the firm saw a similar incident more than a year ago when block number 7238290 was mined more than a year ago. The transaction involved a transfer of 0.1 ETH, at the cost of 2,100 ETH in transaction fees.
On the other hand, the second transaction involving block number 10241999 was mined by a different mining firm by the name Ethermine. Similarly, the firm reacted instantly to the incident and tweeted that the original owner to contact their customer support to settle the matter.
Today our Ethermine ETH pool mined a transaction with a ~10.000 ETH fee (https://t.co/B5gRWOrcPf). We believe that this was an accident and in order to resolve this issue the tx sender should contact us at via DM or our support portal at https://t.co/JgwX4tGYr4 immediately! pic.twitter.com/sWxVRx5muv
— Bitfly (@etherchain_org) June 11, 2020
A bad mistake or a money laundry strategy?
Some people are contemplating that the two transactions could have been a money-laundering tactic. Theoretically, an Ethereum miner could turn illegally earmarked ETH into legitimate by miner’s reward by including a vast transaction fee and mining the block themselves. This is practically possible since ETH miners decide which transactions to include in their blocks.
Nevertheless, this does not seem to be the case in the two incidents. The strongest point of view against the argument is that two different transactions ended up in two separate mining pools, which uses thousands of ETH miners scattered globally, to find new blocks. This means that the funds were not being sent to one receiving entity; since they would be eventually divided among the thousands of miners that make up the pool.