Crypto Exchange Gets Refund on $24 Million in Fat-Finger Fees

Crypto Exchange Says $24 Million ‘Fat-Finger’ Trade Being Undone

A cryptocurrency exchange involved in a $100,000 transaction that was mistakenly charged $24 million in fees says the funds are now being returned -- a reversal of an epic fat-finger trade on the supposedly irreversible blockchain ledger. 

DeversiFi, a decentralized exchange, thanked an Ethereum miner for paying back the 7,626 Ether that were “incorrectly paid” as a transaction fee, it said in a tweet late Monday. 

The trade caught the eye of crypto fans early yesterday when it posted exorbitant fees for a mere $100,000 transfer in Tether, the stablecoin pegged to the dollar. The blockchain tracker Etherscan showed the transaction was from Bitfinex, one of the crypto world’s most controversial exchanges, to its affiliated platform DeversiFi. 

“The blockchain is immutable,” the latter exchange said on Twitter. “But the revolution we are part of is defined by our values as humans.”

Anyone transacting on the Ethereum blockchain pays miners what are known to get their trades incorporated onto the digital ledger -- an amount that can vary depending on supply and demand for computing power at any time. While erratic and pricey fees have been a common gripe in that world amid this year’s decentralized-finance boom, the $24 million price tag was flagged quickly as an error by the exchanges. 

A Bitfinex spokesperson earlier said fees for such transactions are shouldered by third parties. 

Tether and Bitfinex share common owners and executives, while DeversiFi and Bitfinex also have close ties. The three co-founders of DeversiFi worked at Bitfinex, and the firms Thursday announced a link between them to enable cheap transfer of Tether tokens. 

There will be a post-mortem done on the transaction-fee issue in the next day, DeversiFi said. 

While blockchain transactions are often touted for being entirely code-based and impossible to rewrite, they are occasionally reversed through human interventions in extreme cases. In August, a hacker returned funds they stole after an entreaty from the platform. 

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.