The Ethereum network is experiencing abundant transactions all linked to a single account, leading to vast speculation about their purpose.
A strange series of transactions on the Ethereum network began yesterday, leading to speculation that the network was the victim of a spam attack. The transactions are all linked to a single address, which is now involved in most of the Ethereum transactions.
Starting at 2:45 UTC on Monday, the address in question received its first transaction, a transfer of 0.02 Ether. In the next fifteen minutes, 600 transactions were made at the same address.
Transactions continued at this rate, with an address that has accumulated more than 48,000 transactions in the last 30 hours. Most of these transactions resulted in 0.02 Ether transfer and a transaction fee of about 0.004 Ether. This means that if it is an attack, it has been quite expensive for anyone who is orchestrating it. Total transaction fees probably exceed 160 Ether by now (worth around $ 61,000 at the time of printing).
Several comments on Etherscan indicate that some believe that the transactions were a coordinated spam attack on the network. One user wrote:
"This is a portfolio system of less than 150,000 to 200,000 [Ether]." Bots translate random addresses into other random addresses and random amounts of eth to make them difficult to locate in block history. "
One commentator even hypothesized the rival blockchain EOS was coordinating an attack. The EOS members are planning a stress test on the EOS system tomorrow, hoping to set a record for transactions per second – a business that would be particularly important against the backdrop of Ethereum which suffers another slowdown in the network.
EOS members have been accused of attacking the Ethereum network before. A spam attack that Vitalik Buterin estimated cost the attackers $ 15 million in July; many blamed EOS for that attack, though no one provided any proof. Dan Larimer of Block.one denied the allegations, saying that EOS would not spend the money needed to attack Ethereum, especially since, as he says, "all you need are CryptoKitties" to drop the network.
Others hypothesized, perhaps more plausibly, that traffic is the result of an ongoing game on the net – in this case, a dubious lottery-style game called Fomo3D, in which players bid on a jackpot. After each offer, more time is added to a countdown, allowing additional offers. In the end the last bidder wins the jackpot.
While there are still no definitive answers as to what exactly is happening on Ethereum at this time, there is a depressing possibility that Ethereum, which previously reached the peak of its use as a platform for buying and selling cats of virtual cartoons, is now feeling its limits pushed by a game that is essentially a Ponzi scheme.
Tim Prentiss is a writer and editor of ETHNews. He holds a degree in journalism from the University of Nevada in Reno. He lives in Reno with his daughter. In his spare time he writes songs and perfectly disassembles electronic devices.
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