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Lost at sea: OpenSea bug burns 100K worth of NFTs

Ortal Hadad

A bug on OpenSea destroyed around 42 NFTs, including a historical ENS.

Yesterday, various users, including ENS lead developer Nick Johnson, found their NFTs destroyed by a bug on the OpenSea marketplace. 

The bug destroyed a total of 42 NFTs at a value of $100,000. According to Johnson’s Twitter thread, this included 21 accounts and 30 transactions. While in total users lost a large amount of money, OpenSea seems to have the bug fixed already.

Small bug, but big historic loss for ENS NFTs

However, the bug did lead to a big historic loss. Johnson accidentally burned the first ENS name registered, rilxxlir.eth due to this bug. 

ENS or Ethereum Name Service allows you to own crypto or blockchain domains with readable addresses. This includes website domains, wallets and even usernames. These addresses are easier to use than the usual long and randomized characters in addresses. 

The rilxxlir.eth ENS was one of the first available for auction in 2017 and, according to Johnson, is the longest continuously registered ENS. He wanted to offer the ENS on a PaperclipDAO trade but needed to transfer it to his personal account before being able to do so.

This was how he ended up on OpenSea where he planned to transfer it to nick.eth, his personal address. However, instead, the ENS ended up transferring to a burn account which burnt its ownership forever. 

On the positive side, Johnson’s rilxxlir.eth domain is not completely useless. Although it is burned, Johnson can still modify it and set ENS records. He can, moreover, renew the name so it doesn’t expire as the burned ENS that it currently is. The only thing the ENS lead developer cannot do is actually transfer the ENS.

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Johnson initially thought the OpenSea bug only affected him, but he later discovered that there were others affected too. 

OpenSea’s response to the bug

Although this was a big mess up, OpenSea seemed to squash the bug quite quickly. They initially discovered the bug introduced to their transfer page where it affected NFT transfers to ENS names. Instead of sending NFTs to ENS names, the bug sent them to an encoded version of the associated address. 

Nonetheless, the marketplace fixed the matter within less than 24 hours and ensured there was no further harm.

Nick Johnson to Pranksy, it seems anyone can fall through the blockchain loops

While the blockchain boasts to be secure, one still needs to be cautious on these platforms. Like Johnson, the famous NFT collector Pransky also almost found himself in despair due to blockchain loopholes. He almost fell for a scam of $300,000. Luckily, he had a bit of a happy ending and received his money back. Both these cases, however, go to show that it’s important to be careful with money no matter if it’s crypto or fiat. Unfortunately, there is always room for errors and thieves even on a computer-run platform. 

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