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A multi-million dollar mystery: How the „victim“ of high commissions at ETH has become the focus of attention

The hottest topic at Ethereum in June so far has been the mysterious transactions involving the payment of millions of dollars in commission to transfer small and medium amounts of Ether (ETH) – an activity that normally costs no more than a few dozen cents.

Investigators have managed to locate the potential victim – a suspicious South Korean crypto currency exchange – who suffered a serious error or was threatened by hackers in a very sophisticated way. So what are the main theories behind what happened, and will these millions of dollars be returned to their owner after all?

What happened?

Between June 10 and 11, a chain of transactions of Ether took place with abnormally high commissions, in which someone seems to have paid 2.6 million dollars to transfer Ether, which would normally cost around 0.50 dollars or a few dollars even for extremely large transactions. And it happened three times.

The first transfer took place on June 10 when someone moved 0.55 ETH, or about $140, and paid over $2.6 million in GAS prices for it. Within 24 hours, a second transaction was made from the same portfolio, spending exactly the same amount – $2.6 million – in commissions, this time to send 350 ETH.

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Interestingly, there was a third abnormal transfer around that time, although it came from a different direction in the portfolio and appears to be an isolated incident. That transaction involved 2,310 ETH being paid in commissions – or approximately $500,000 – for the transfer of 3,221 ETH.

The owner of the latter portfolio contacted F2Pool, the mining consortium that processed that transaction, and was able to demonstrate that it had suffered a „malicious attack on its node portfolio“. As a result, F2Pool decided to return 90% of the ETH gas price to the original owner and use the remaining 10% to sponsor a one-week zero cost Bitcoin Code mining period.

The story behind the first two transactions, however, appears to be much more complicated.