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Another USD 2.6M Paid in Ethereum Fees – Many Doubt it’s a Mistake

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Another USD 2.6 million in fees was paid for a different Ethereum (ETH) transaction, and people are doubting that this is a mistake as previously thought.

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The Cryptoverse was surprised by yet another small value sent with a dizzying fee within 24 hours. Compared to yesterday’s ETH 0.55 sent (USD 135.78 at the time), ETH 350 (USD 86,404) was sent on Thursday morning (UTC time), paying the same fee as yesterday – worth USD 2.64 million. The sending address is the same, but the receiver is different.

Etherscan.io commented that, given that both transactions occurred within 24 hours, and that both are mined by different miners, this “would indicate an external common causality.”

Regarding the first transaction, SparkPool announced they’re investigating it and that they’ve seen similar incidents before. “There will be a solution in the end.” Bitfly said that their Ethermine pool mined the second transaction with this enormous fee, saying that this is likely an accident. They’re calling the sender to contact them right away.

Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Co-founder, stated that this is “definitely a mistake.” He expects that a part of the solution will be EIP 1559 – it proposes a mechanism that would adjust a base network fee based on network demand, thus establishing better fee price efficiency, as well as “reducing the complexity of client software needed to avoid paying unnecessarily high fees.” This Ethereum improvement proposal (EIP) will “greatly reduce the rate of things like this happening by reducing the need for users to try to set fees manually,” Buterin writes.

Many were not satisfied with this explanation though, asking what type of a mistake it really is, or why the system would even allow such a mistake – why there isn’t a maximum fee.

Though many are not excluding the money laundering possibility, they wonder why wouldn’t the person use the same miner, but also a different address and different fee amount, so not to draw attention to themselves.

Per Miko Matsumura, founder crypto exchange Evercoin, this is no mistake, but an elaborate money-laundering scheme.

He told Cryptonews.com that “the first such transaction would seem to be an error… but two such transactions seems intentional.”

Many mining companies, including Ethermine, who would process the transaction, he says, would return the funds to the person who can prove they were the sender.

Matsumura goes on to explain just how strange this case is: “This would be a potential mechanism for money to move from a dirty wallet to a clean one. But it seems very odd that this would be a feasible approach to money laundering, but having two such transactions from the same wallet also seems very odd. Some are suggesting a bug in the wallet–but it feels like after the first mistake you would use a different wallet.”

Others maintain that this is the work of a laundering bot, and that this bot might’ve made a mistake. Sebastian Bürgel, founder of decentralized & metadata-private point-to-point messaging protocol HOPR, argues that this is no “normal poor ETH-millionaire” but rather somebody “who’s actively trying to obfuscate monetary origin in a naive fashion” by using a bot. This bot, however, has a bug, leading to ridiculous gas prices. He goes on to explain in this thread how “naive money laundering via miner collusion” works.