Buterin Estimates ~$15 Million in Recent Ethereum Network Spam
July 16, 2018 by William Peaster
The Ethereum network has been facing new congestion, this time coming from thousands of transactions derived from little-known ERC20 contracts. Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin estimated the spam transactions have collectively totaled around $15 million USD in gas costs so far.
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Gauging the Scope
The Ethereum network has once more faced transaction congestion this week, though the current episode apparently derives from mysterious, project-less ERC20 smart contracts sending out thousands of aimless transactions.
The contracts, sending out seemingly pointless tokens en masse like in the case of the already widely cited iFishYunYu spam, have spent heaps of ether to fuel the activity. Now, Vitalik Buterin has estimated the recent spam transactions have cost as much as $15 million.
According to my estimates, the recent tx spam on the ETH network cost up to ~$15m USD (~= 5m green teas, ~75 lambos, ~25 Coinbase seed rounds, ~0.9% of Telegram ICO)
Free market principles prevent me from being too upset at someone using the ETH blockchain as they wish, but wow.
— Vitalik “Not giving away ETH” Buterin (@VitalikButerin) July 16, 2018
If Buterin’s correct, the spamming has been quite expensive, though it’s not immediately clear how concerted the effort is, or to what extent its true scope has been obscured by the FCoin GPM listing competition, which proved gas-intensive and had a deadline of July 16th.
In his aforementioned tweet, the Ethereum co-creator avoided speculating on the who or why, instead simply laying out his estimate — with some colorful equivalencies — and expressing surprise (“but wow”) at the value of what he specifically dubbed the “recent tx spam.”
The pseudonymous nature of the cryptoverse means those responsible, and their precise motivations, will presumably remain unknown short of a confession or some sort of OpSec slip-up.
In Face of Sybil Attack Rumors, Dan Larimer Offers Emphatic ‘No’
As word of the congestion grew, some in the Ethereum community wondered if a Sybil attack was taking place, with proponents of the allegation fingering “EOS Whales from China” and even EOS backers Block.one as possibly being responsible.
On Telegram, Block.one CTO Dan Larimer wasted no time in shooting down the idea of his company’s involvement in the spam in any way, saying: “I can assure you block one [sic] wouldn’t be so stupid to spend our resources attacking eth when all it takes” is CryptoKitties, a swipe at Ethereum’s acute struggles with the DApp in 2017.
“There are far smarter and more cost effective ways at bringing eth down if that were the goal,” Larimer added.
For now then, all we know for sure is someone or some group has spent millions of dollars to send droves of transactions lacking apparent utility on the Ethereum blockchain. Whether answers eventually materialize is anyone’s guess as it stands.
What’s your take? Why these spam transactions? Sound off in the comments below.
Images via Reddit, Pixabay