More than $1bn in Ethereum tokens were lost forever due to bugs and user errors
More than $1bn in Ethereum tokens have been lost forever due to bugs and user errors
The estimate does not take into account assets on cryptocurrency wallets with forgotten passwords, so in fact the total amount of all funds in lost tokens could be significantly higher
Coinbase exchange managing director Conor Grogan classified thousands of bugs and user errors in the Ethereum blockchain and estimated that 636,000 ETH ($1.15 billion) were permanently lost from these errors.
Grogan noted that the lost coins he accounted for represent 0.5% of Ethereum's total circulating supply (about 120 million ETH).
About half of the amount lost - about 306k ETH ($538m) - is due to a 2017 error in the Parity cryptocurrency wallet. Quadriga, a cryptocurrency exchange that closed in 2019, lost 60k ETH ($108m) due to a contract failure, while the NFT collection Akutars lost 11.5k ETH ($20m) in a failed token issue.
In addition, Grogan found that Ethereum users have collectively sent 24k ETH ($43m) to a token-burning address, from which they cannot be returned.
Grogan added that the estimate of $1.1bn is significantly lower than the actual amount lost to Ethereum. It only covers cases where tokens are permanently locked but does not take into account those funds that have become impossible to access due to forgotten private cryptocurrency wallet keys.
It is not just a smart contract error or forgotten password that can lead to the loss of tokens, but also an unfortunate joke. In the summer of 2022, a large NFT collector with the pseudonym Franklinisbored lost about 100 ETH (about $150k at the time) because of a joke bet on his own registered domain from Ethereum Name Service (ENS).
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