The week in review: Ethereum transaction fee misfortune gets crypto sleuths going 🕵️

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It’s sunny out, you’re going about your business, quietly sending Ether from a park bench. A disturbance occurs nearby, a ruckus involving some geese. You look to see the cause, but you want to get the transaction over with so you keep typing. BOOM – you’ve accidentally sent a complete stranger $2.6 million in fees. Hard to believe? Very, and maybe those weren’t the circumstances, but this week, it happened to the same person twice. We’ve got all the theories, and other news, below.

 

Is India backtracking on crypto ban?

 

No sooner had crypto media started claiming the dawn of India’s ‘crypto spring’, someone has to come and spoil it all. The Indian Ministry of Finance this week proposed to legally ban cryptocurrencies within the subcontinent and has initiated related inter-ministerial consultations.

 

The move follows the supreme court’s decision on 4 March to quash a 2-year ban imposed by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), preventing financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses, including exchanges. The proposal will first be sent to the Union Council of Ministers before being forwarded to the parliament for final review.

 

Will we see another twist in the tail of India’s crypto journey?

 

Oops

 

This week’s Darwin Award nominee is an unknown Ethereum user who accidentally sent not one but TWO transactions with excessively large transaction fees in a single day. The user kicked off their big giveaway by paying $2.6 million in fees to send just $133 of Ethereum. If this wasn’t enough, they made a second, similar mistake just hours later. This time, the user was sending $86,000, but still managed to send the same transaction fee of $2.6 million.

 

The community was awash with theories as to how it could have happened – ranging from money laundering to a charitable user. The most likely explanation, however, appears to be a potential bug. Alex Manuskin, blockchain researcher at crypto wallet ZenGo, for one, told The Block that “A possible explanation could be a mix in the bot code between the sent value and the gas price. This sender used to send a transaction every 1 minute or so, so this did not look like a human operator. Might be some sort of a trading bot, for some exchange, repeating the same operation.”

 

Emin Gün Sirer, Founder and CEO of AVA Labs, similarly argued that it looked like a programming error and suggested that the user could have confused gwei with Ether. Whatever happened, we’re hoping that if it was a mistake, it never happens again.

 

In a generous-spirited move, both mining pools who mined the blocks Ethermine and Sparkpool, have set aside the Ether worth of fees pertaining to the transaction and are calling for the “tx sender” to contact them in order to reclaim the funds. Let’s hope they notice soon.

 

You want fries with that?

 

“Can I buy coffee with Bitcoin” is a common refrain from doubters and FUD peddlers across the world, but the answer is increasingly: ‘YEP’. In a sugary piece of news from down under, over 2,000 Coca-Cola vending machines in Australia and New Zealand have started accepting Bitcoin following an agreement between Coca-Cola Amatil and digital asset platform, Centrapay.

 

Centrapay users can now use their Sylo Smart Wallet to pay for items via digital currency. They’re not stopping there though. Centrapay CEO Jerome Faury explained their plans to go global:

 

“At Centrapay, we’re working to create a future where individuals are in control of their own data and digital identity. Brands can connect directly and ethically with people, empowering them to make the right purchasing decision, whilst also supporting their retail and other distribution partners. Now we’ve shown how it can work in Australia and New Zealand, we’re looking to grow the business globally. We’ve established a presence in North America and will be targeting the US market next with some world-first innovations.”

 

Pentagon is wargaming Bitcoin-fuelled rebellion

 

Bitcoin was born amidst the 2008 financial crisis – an event that shook the world and changed the way younger generations including Millenials and Gen Z view the financial system. And it appears the attitudes that it fermented are causing concern in some particularly powerful circles. Documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that a Pentagon war game, called the 2018 Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Special Program, or JLASS, included a scenario in which members of Generation Z, driven by malaise and discontent, launch a “Zbellion” in America in the mid-2020s – a Zbellion run on Bitcoin.

 

The article states that: “During face-to-face recruitment, would-be members of Zbellion are given instructions for going to sites on the dark web that allow them to access sophisticated malware to siphon funds from corporations, financial institutions, and nonprofits that support “the establishment.” The gains are then converted to Bitcoin and distributed to “worthy recipients” including fellow Zbellion members who claim financial need. Zbellion leadership, says the scenario, assures its members that their Robin Hood-esque wealth redistribution is not only untraceable by law enforcement but “ultimately justifiable,” as targets are selected based on “secure polling” of “network delegates.”

 

Robin Hood-esque wealth redistribution. Sounds like a cause worth stopping.

 

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Team Luno

On our way to the moon, we write about all things crypto. And don’t forget we’re humans too. Our blog conveys the views of Luno and the many unique opinions and characters within our team. We’ll never provide you with financial advice, and we urge you to conduct your own research before purchasing or trading any cryptocurrencies. It’s a brave new world out there, and the market can be volatile at times, so never trade with funds you can’t afford to lose. Want to let us know how much you love our blog? Tweet us @lunomoney.

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