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Mystery of $5.2 million Ethereum fees continues

Mining pool Bitfly, who received half of the fee, have distributed it to their miners however Sparkpool is still determined to find answers

Just under a week ago, two incredibly surprising transactions were made on the Ethereum network.  On June 10, Sparkpool mining pool received a $2.6 million fee for a transaction of only 0.5 ETH.

Then, the next day, another transaction paid a fee of $2.6 million to Bitfly for a transaction of 350 ETH.

Both fees were sent by the same wallet, and since last week, both Sparkpool and Bitfly have been trying to track the sender to return a portion of the fee out of good faith.

Bitfly made the decision yesterday to distribute the fee amongst their pool as a result of no credible individuals coming forward to claim the fee.

When one individual on Twitter challenged Bitfly about the length of time they have allowed for someone to come forward, they were quick to point out that they are a mining pool and not an arbiter of the network.  As such, they are not under any sort of obligation to return missent transaction fees.

Sparkpool however, has yet to make a decision.  They are still waiting for any other information to come forward.  Sparkpool has the advantage of having dealt with similar issues before, notably when a user sent a transaction fee of 2,100 ETH for a transaction of just 0.1 ETH.  They were refunded half the amount.

Sparkpool’s miners must be watching enviously as Bitfly’s pool receives a cut of the transaction fee.  Although it does only seem to be a matter of time before Sparkpool will distribute the fee as no one seems to be coming forward.

A popular suggestion that is that the fees might be related to an unsuccessful hack on an exchange.  After gaining access to an exchange’s credentials via an attack, the hackers would naturally try to send the seized funds to their own accounts, however, these would be prevented due to security measures on wallets.

Therefore, in an attempt to blackmail the exchange, hackers may have started to send meaningless transactions with disproportionately high fees to bleed off the funds they had gained access to in an attempt to blackmail the exchange for a ransom.

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