In the vast and complex world of digital currencies, an unexpected financial archaeologist recently unearthed a forgotten fortune.
Conor Grogan, Head of Product at Coinbase, took on a digital treasure hunt that led him to discover hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of dormant crypto. He tracked down these lost funds and contacted the unaware owner, opening up a fascinating digital forgetfulness and rediscovery story.
I found $322k for a stranger who previously lost their life savings in a hack pic.twitter.com/K1gUqEkAPh
— Conor (@jconorgrogan) July 5, 2023
Decoding the digital enigma
When the Ethereum blockchain forked in 2016, it inadvertently created a peculiar scenario. Investors holding the standard Ether received an identical amount in Ethereum Classic (ETC) – a windfall many forgot about or never noticed. Grogan discovered this common oversight, revealing how he has returned six-figure sums to investors. He even alerted a Twitter user about 23 new Ether tokens in one case.
According to people familiar with the matter, unearthing these lost digital treasures wasn’t a small feat. Grogan navigated through the ‘ETC rich list,’ a repository of accounts rich in ETC that had never been accessed. He identified around 20 addresses holding over $250,000 in untouched ETC and painstakingly combed through each, attempting to establish contact with the owners.
Tracing the path to the crypto trove
While most of the wallets led to ‘dead ends,’ Grogan finally found success with an address prefixed with “0x475.” Interestingly, this wallet held a cryptocurrency named “EOSDAC,” airdropped to Ethereum holders in 2018. This clue allowed Grogan to trace the holder’s EOS wallet, revealing a rich history and leading him to the unsuspecting owner. Grogan, in a tweet, said;
“0x475 was looking to be another dead end. I had no way to find out who owned the wallet. But then I stumbled upon this one unique coin I never heard of: EOSDAC. As it turns out, this coin was airdropped on Ethereum to EOS holders back in 2018.”
Grogan’s efforts have drawn attention at a critical time. Coinbase’s share price has surged following its inclusion in the refiled spot Bitcoin ETF applications by prominent asset managers, including BlackRock and Fidelity. Analysts at Bernstein have recently suggested a high probability of U.S. spot bitcoin ETF approval, despite the SEC’s concerns about reliability and potential price manipulation in the unregulated spot exchanges.
An encouraging future
However, the SEC’s worries did not dampen the spirits of global asset managers. The Wall Street Journal reported that the SEC’s criticism that recent spot bitcoin ETF bids were “inadequate” led to a flurry of activity. World-renowned asset managers such as BlackRock and Fidelity promptly refiled their applications, now including surveillance-sharing agreements with Coinbase. According to a Forbes report, Coinbase stock skyrocketed by 10% in response to these developments, pushing its year-to-date gains over 130%.
The digital treasure hunt not only returned a fortune to its rightful owner but has also brought renewed attention to the dynamic world of cryptocurrencies, reflecting their potential to reshape the financial landscape. The story reminds digital investors to keep track of their holdings and the importance of blockchain transparency, where every transaction is accounted for, waiting to be discovered by those diligent enough to look.