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£200 Million in Ethereum Cryptocurrency Disappears Due to Error

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A developer accidentally left a serious flaw in an Ethereum system, accidentally losing over £200 million worth of the cryptocurrency. At the time, the developer had been working on repairing a bug that would have made it possible for thieves to steal digital currency from virtual wallets.

Investors Into Ethereum are Checking on their Funds

As the developer attempted to repair the existing flaw, a second flaw was accidentally left behind in the system. That flaw affected all multi-signature wallets and would have made it possible for a single user to become their sole owner.

When the developer, known as “devops199” noticed the mistake, the flaw in the code was deleted in order to repair the damage. However, a critical component of the system’s code was deleted along with it. This caused the funds to be permanently locked within the wallets. This affected every multi-signatory wallet, leaving them without any way of gaining access to them.

A “hard-fork” is the only method of reversing the problem. However, that is a highly controversial technique. The error represents approximately 20 percent of the complete Ethereum network. Experts in cryptocurrency have described it as a “suicide.”

All Multi-Signatory Contractors have “Suicided.”

As of the writing of this article, it is impossible to move funds out of the multi-signatory wallets.

According to Ethereum Foundation head of security, Martin Holst Swende, the only way to correct this issue is through a “hard fork.” That would involve the recreation of an entirely new version of Ethereum’s network, involving a completely different set of rules from the original network.

Bitcoin exchange to dollar rate on monitor display. Cryptocurrency invest chart

However, in order to make that possible, a minimum of 51 percent of Ethereum’s users would need to agree to the move. Among the prime values central to Ethereum is that the users hold the power over the major decisions as it functions by way of a decentralised platform.

A Hard-Fork Undermines Ethereum’s Core Values

Should Ethereum move decide to make the repairs using a hard-fork, it would undermine the very nature of its decentralised platform values. Furthermore, certain purists have stated that it would be contrary to the company’s objective to return the funds.

The situation continues to be under analysis and Ethereum is seeking to produce an update with further details as soon as possible.

According to Parity Technologies in a tweet, “Update: To the best of our knowledge the funds are frozen and can’t be move anywhere. The total ETH circulating social media is speculative.” Parity powers a considerable portion of the Ethereum network’s infrastructure.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.