A second transaction of 350 Ether (ETH) (worth $86,000 at press time) with an incredible $2.6 million gas fee has just been confirmed on the Ethereum blockchain, less than 24 hours after the first transaction for 0.55 ETH ($130 at press time) with an identical fee amount was processed. Both transactions were processed with a fee of exactly 10,668.73 ETH.
Transaction details of the second unusual transaction. Source: Etherscan
These mysterious transactions have stumped the wider community with some suggesting money laundering or revenge from a disgruntled exchange employee.
Both transactions originate from the same address, but the blocks were mined by separate miners, which reduces the possibility that the transactions are a means of laundering money or avoiding tax.
An honest mistake?
This transaction went to Bitfly’s Ethermine ETH pool, which promptly took to Twitter in an attempt to reach out to the sender:
Today our Ethermine ETH pool mined a transaction with a ~10.000 ETH fee (https://t.co/B5gRWOrcPf). We believe that this was an accident and in order to resolve this issue the tx sender should contact us at via DM or our support portal at https://t.co/JgwX4tGYr4 immediately! pic.twitter.com/sWxVRx5muv— Bitfly (@etherchain_org) June 11, 2020
The Bitfly team have said they will work with the sender to resolve the issue as they believe it was a mistake.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said that a protocol upgrade, which would reduce the need for manual fee setting, should reduce the probability of these problems occurring in the future:
“Definitely a mistake. I’m expecting EIP 1559 to greatly reduce the rate of things like this happening by reducing the need for users to try to set fees manually.”
Adding to the mystery, one Twitter user mentioned that the transaction wasn’t broadcast in the same fashion normal Ether transactions are, however this is yet to be confirmed.
Sebastian Bürgel from on-chain privacy company Hoprnet suggested that the transactions are a bug in a money laundering bot, due to the regularity of the transactions in the sender account.
This second transaction was sent to a different address than the first and besides two transactions around 5 ETH, each 45 days ago, the receiving address has not been used. The 350 ETH are still in the wallet at time of press.