September 28, 2020

Trader made a mistake sending cryptocurrency and lost $ 24,000

User transferred 800 BNB tokens to the wrong address. Canceling a transaction on the blockchain is almost impossible, however, the head of Binance exchange Changpeng Zhao promised to solve the problem.

An unnamed user posted to the wrong onewallet of 800 tokens of the Binance exchange (BNB), said its head Changpeng Zhao on his Twitter account. According to him, $ 24 thousand in cryptocurrency went to the address of a smart contract, from which a return is impossible. Now the funds are lost forever.

However, Zhao admitted that the coins could bereturned. The exchange burns BNB tokens once a quarter. This time, you can burn 800 less tokens, since they have already been lost due to user error, Zhao explained. He later added that the sloppy trader would be "taken care of."

The crypto community reacted ambiguously tothis situation. Some users considered refunds to be the right gesture, as anyone can make a mistake. Others, on the other hand, doubted that this was true. The blockchain rules are the same for everyone, and there is no guarantee that the mistakes of other users will be compensated in the same way.

Losing coins by sending them to the wrong walletIs a frequent occurrence in the world of cryptocurrencies. For example, on September 8, the user sent $ 1 million in USDT stablecoins also to the smart contract address. As in the first case, the funds could be considered lost forever. But this time, Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Tether, the issuer of USDT, intervened. In his Twitter account, he said that he returned all funds to the trader and urged to be careful.

Antonina Levashenko, teacher at Moscow DigitalSchool, head of the Russian Center for Competence and Analysis of OECD Standards at the RANEPA under the President of the Russian Federation, suggested that Tether did not return tokens to the user by canceling the transaction. Since the coins were lost without the possibility of recovery, most likely the company issued new ones and returned them to the trader.

According to its original design, transactionscryptocurrencies in the blockchain must be irreversible, said Denis Voskvitsov, head of the fintech company Exantech. For example, this is how Bitcoin and Ethereum work. However, in 2016, this presented the crypto community with a serious question: a fraudster stole the funds of the DAO project, and it was necessary to decide whether to cancel the transaction on the ETH network or not. As a result, this led to the split of the Ethereum blockchain into two chains: the original and Ethereum Сlassic.

“In 2016 A scandal arose with ETH when a scammer robbed a large number of DAO users. Then the community faced exactly the same question as in the case of 800 BNB: to act "according to instructions" or "humanly". The majority of ETH voted for "humanity" and manually rolled back transactions in the past, as if the theft had not happened. Others have remained true to the principle that even a malicious transaction remains on the blockchain. This is how the fork to the current ether (ETH) and classic ether (ETC) arose, ”Voskvitsov said.

He clarified that in most cases withwith decentralized currencies, such situations are solved "according to the instructions": "Blockchain is strict, but it is blockchain." But BNB and USDT tokens are essentially centralized projects. One of them belongs to the Binance exchange, the other is owned by Tether Ltd. In these cases, it is technically much easier to recover BNB or USDT, since the consent of the cryptocurrency network participants is not required.

By agreeing to return 800 BNB and 1 million USDT,the companies acted "humanly", Voskvitsov continued. On the one hand, centralized tokens are often criticized for this, calling them not a real cryptocurrency due to the possibility of manipulating the blockchain. On the other hand, Zhao and the Tether administration showed the opposite, positive side of their systems: the ability to correct unpleasant situations in manual control mode.

In both cases, the user sent funds tothe address of the smart contract from which the refund option was not provided. But another situation may happen, for example, if someone mistakenly transfers the cryptocurrency to another user's wallet. Levashenko suggested comparing this situation with an erroneous bank transfer.

“An erroneous transfer of funds mayconsidered unjust enrichment, and under Article 1102 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, in this case, there is an obligation to return the funds. But if the transfer is carried out through a bank, then it will be difficult for the sender to return the money through the bank without the consent of the person to whose account the funds were credited: banks are not entitled to write off the funds in the account without the client's order. The bank is able to revoke a payment or transfer if such a payment or transfer has not yet been executed and has not been credited to the beneficiary's account. Thus, if the payment is executed, then it will not be possible to withdraw it, ”Levashenko said.

Returning to digital assets, she added thatnow crypto wallets in the Russian Federation remain outside the legal framework. Therefore, a refund is possible only if it is established by the smart contract itself. Also, the current Law "On CFA" allows the exchange operator CFA to independently determine the exchange rules. This means that the refund will depend on the technical capabilities of the operator.

At the end of August, the user in one actionlost 1,400 bitcoins, or about $ 16 million. He has been storing cryptocurrency in his Electrum wallet since 2017. Recently, an investor decided to withdraw some of the funds, but could not: the application required an update. When this was done, all the coins were gone.