It’s feared that over $150m worth of Ethereum may have been irretrievably frozen after a bug in a digital Ether wallet was triggered.
The bug – hidden in code written by Parity Technologies – is thought to have been triggered by a developer who was looking through the code and searching for ways in which to exploit it.
In doing so, he inadvertently became the joint owner of hundreds of Ether wallets and, when he tried to reverse his mistake, the original owners found that they no longer had access to their share of the cryptocurrency.
Who is affected?
Parity Technologies have said that wallets created after 20th July this year were affected and provided a link through which Ether holders could check to see if their wallet had been frozen. It is thought that around 584 wallets – and 573 owners – have lost access to their funds.
Parity updated its wallet program in July after another bug was discovered, leading to $30m worth of Ethereum being frozen.
The news is a blow to users of the second most popular cryptocurrency – after Bitcoin – and led to the value of Ethereum dropping slightly, before recovering to $321 on Friday.
Another boost to Ethereum’s price came with this week’s cancellation of SegWit2x, which was expected to be activated on the Bitcoin blockchain next week. The looming crisis gave Bitcoin holders the chance to receive ‘free’ coins in the event of a split, leading to the recent Bitcoin price surge. Part of this was money that would have been invested in other cryptocurrencies – Ethereum included – so now that SegWit2x has been called off, the Bitcoin price has slightly declined while other cryptocurrencies have rallied.