OpenSea is a non-fungible token (NFT) sales platform hosted on Ethereum (ETH). Launched at the end of 2017, it is currently experiencing an unprecedented craze, totaling over $3 billion in volume as of August. Unfortunately, it just suffered its first bug, resulting in the loss of $100,000 in NFT.
A piece of history lost forever
The first ENS in history…
Nick Johnson is the founder and lead developer of the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) project. This is a service that allows an Ethereum address to be associated with a “.eth” domain name, making transactions to human-readable addresses possible, rather than a hexadecimal address.
In 2017, when ENS launched on the Ethereum mainnet, Johnson created the first ENS address “rilxxlir.eth,” a palindrome he thought was “fun to make the event a little more memorable.”
On September 8, Nick Johnson decided to donate the ENS address to the PaperclipDAO project. Before making his donation, he decided to transfer the domain name to a personal address: “nick.eth”.
… which went up in smoke
Since the ENS are actually ERC-721 tokens, the main standard for NFTs, Nick Johnson turned to the OpenSea platform to facilitate the transfer. Once on the platform, he entered his home address as the destination address, then made the transfer. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned.
“So my first step before making the offer was to transfer it back to one of my personal accounts. To do this, I went to OpenSea, clicked on ‘transfer’ and entered ‘nick.eth’. (…) A few moments later, the transaction was completed! rilxxlir.eth transferred to 0x0000…0000edd899b. Wait! What?”Twitter post by Nick Johnson
You guessed it: his ENS was sent to the wrong address. Worse: it was sent to a so-called “burn” address, i.e. an unreachable address.
South Park’s “And it’s gone” meme announcing the loss of Nick Johnson’s NFT
After contacting the Opensea team to let them know what had happened, it turned out that he had been the victim of a bug introduced in the transfer page less than 24 hours before, affecting transfers of ERC-721 tokens to ENS domain names.
100,000 of NFT evaporated into thin air
At first glance, it appeared that Nick Johnson was the only victim. However, the posting of his story on Twitter brought to light other cases of users who suffered the same bug.
Based on the information reported by Nick Johnson, it appears that at least 42 NFTs have suffered the same fate. Taking the minimum price of each of these NFTs, he estimated the total loss to be 28.44 ETH, or about $100,500 at the current price.
Since then, Opensea teams have announced that they have fixed the bug. Although we are used to bugs affecting smart contracts, this one affected rather the interface allowing to communicate with the contract: the one of the Opensea website.
For their part, NFTs continue to be at the heart of a hype that seems to go far beyond the crypto ecosystem. The consequence: significant congestion on Ethereum, leading to a further increase in transaction fees.