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Ethereum Transaction Fee Mystery Just Got More Mysterious (UPDATED)

Eimantas Žemaitis
Last updated: | 1 min read

Yet another abnormal ether transaction occurred on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain for the third time. Now, someone transferred ETH 3,221 (USD 762,990) with a somewhat lower transaction fee of ETH 2,310 (USD 544,028). In total, USD 5.7 million were spent on Ethereum transaction fees via three transactions during the past few days, and some industry firms and analysts claim that someone is trying to send a message. (Updated at 15:28 UTC: the first paragraph has been updated, a new section – Could it be a blackmail attempt? – at the end of the article has been added

Source: Adobe/Graphics Master

The third transaction occurred on the block 10247265, on June 11, 12:14 PM UTC time. Similar transactions with abnormally high fees (more than USD 2.5 million each) also happened yesterday (June 11th) and the day before yesterday (June 10th). This time, the transaction was not sent from the same address and originated from a wallet that had the “MiningPoolHub: Old Address 7” tag. It was mined by the f2pool, who said they are investigating the transaction and are in communication with the sender.

The regularity of transactions has prompted intriguing speculations about what they could possibly mean, with many crypto commentators claiming that it could be a hack, money laundering attempt, or a mere mistake.

For example, crypto analyst and founding partner at Primitive Ventures, Dovey Wan, stated that the transactions look increasingly more like a message from an attacker rather than a mistake.

Others are saying that the Mining Pool Hub address has been hacked, and the transfer is not related to the previous two instances.

Could it be a blackmail attempt?

Another interpretation has it that these high fees are “gas price ransomware attacks,” claim China-based blockchain analytics company PeckShield, as reported by Chainnews.

The researchers state that it is highly likely that the hackers have obtained access to unknown crypto exchange’s funds that are protected with multi-signatures and can only withdraw them to whitelisted wallets. As such, they are performing transactions with extra high fees and will not stop until the exchange meets their demands. Nevertheless, this analysis applies to the first two transactions only, and it remains unclear whether the third high fee transaction is related to the first two or not.