Mining Pool Distributes $2.4M Transaction Fee After Flood of Phoney Refund Claims

A mining pool has called time on the wait for an ether whale to reach out after making a transaction with an unusually high fee worth in the millions of dollars last week.

Bitfly, the company behind the Ethermine pool, announced Monday it had opted to distribute a total of 10,668 ETH (now worth just under $2.4 million) in transaction fee to miners that were active at the time the transaction went through last Thursday.

“As the sender of the transaction … has not contacted us after 4 days we have made the final decision to distribute the tx fee to the miners of our pool,” Bitfly tweeted. “Given the amount involved we believe 4 days is sufficient time for the sender to get in touch with us.”

At approximately 04:00 UTC on Thursday morning, a single address with a hefty ETH balance sent 350 ETH with the eye-popping fee worth $2.6 million at the time. That was the second such transaction in two days. The day before, the same wallet address sent a minuscule 0.55 ETH (then worth $133) with another fee, which was also worth $2.6 million, picked up by the China-based mining pool, Spark Pool.

When the network’s running smoothly, the average fee for an ether transaction hovers around the $0.50 mark. Two transactions would, therefore, cost about $1. But in total this single wallet holder, who has not been identified, dished out over $5.2 million in fees for just these two transactions.

Spark Pool, which has been through this before, froze the transaction to give the sender time to reach out and work on a deal to reclaim some of the transaction fees. After it happened again, less than a day later, Ethermine followed suit and gave the sender a grace period to get in touch.

But that hasn’t happened. Bitfly said it had instead received requests from, “multiple people [who] claimed being the sender of this transaction, [but] none of them was able to produce a valid signature of the sending account.”

Perhaps flagging from the volume of phony requests, the company has ruled out freezing transaction fees like this ever again, regardless of how much the fee might be.

“In the future, we will no longer interfere in the payout of large tx fees,” they tweeted. “Our advertised payout policy is to always distribute the full block reward and we will be sticking to that independent on the amount involved.”

Spark Pool still had its transaction frozen at press time and also had not heard from the sender. CoinDesk understands the pool will update miners sometime this week on how it will deal with its unusual fee.


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