Coinbase’s director of product strategy and business operations, Conor Grogan, took to Twitter on Monday to categorize several Ethereum typos, user mistakes, and buggy contracts. Grogan discovered that approximately 636,000 ETH, which represents 0.5% of Ether’s circulating supply, has been lost forever due to these errors.
Grogan clarified that the $1.1B+ figure significantly underestimates the actual amount of lost or inaccessible ETH, as it only accounts for cases where Ethereum is permanently locked. He highlighted that the number of coins removed from circulation and unable to be recovered could be considerably higher.
The Coinbase director noted that the $1.1B+ figure excludes losses resulting from forgotten Genesis wallets or lost private keys.
The largest single loss of Ether, totaling around 513,000 ETH from 178 wallets, occurred in November 2017. During that time, wallet provider Parity detected a serious flaw in its smart contract, enabling users to deplete balances from addresses that were not theirs. To prevent the massive theft, someone “suicided” the wallet by removing its code, causing all coins within it to freeze.
The second-largest loss occurred due to a smart contract bug on the now-defunct Quadriga cryptocurrency exchange, resulting in roughly 60,000 ETH being lost. Akutars NFT collection claimed third place, losing 11,500 ETH due to a flawed mint.
Grogan joked that cryptocurrency can be challenging sometimes, adding, “On the flip side, that’s a lot of ETH that can’t be sold.” Should we be bullish now?