An Ethereum wallet that had been inactive for eight years suddenly came to life and moved 8,000 Ether (ETH) in just two minutes. The wallet, which received 8,000 ETH after participating in Ethereum’s initial coin offering (ICO) in 2015, remained inactive until May 27, 2023. On that day, its owner began with a cautionary transfer of 1 ETH to a new wallet. One minute later, they transferred the remaining 7,999 ETH to the new wallet address, and this transaction was first noticed by blockchain analytics service Lookonchain.
At the time of writing, the ETH stash was worth approximately $14.7 million. The 8,000 ETH was purchased at a price of just $0.31 per token, which places the initial investment amount at around $2,500. At today’s prices of $1,917, this marks a staggering 590,000% gain for the owner.
This isn’t the only ICO-era Ether wallet to re-awaken in recent months. On April 24, another wallet that received 2,365 ETH ($4.5 million) made its first transaction in nearly eight years, and on March 5, another ETH wallet transferred 10,226 ETH ($19.6 million) out to a new wallet address after remaining dormant for five years.
The new wallet address is also one with little in the way of any significant transaction history. The only other ETH transaction recorded in the new wallet is a 207 ETH ($380,000) incoming transaction that was made just a few minutes prior to the most recent transfer. Notably, the additional 207 ETH were sent from another wallet that had remained completely inactive since June 12, 2017.
Interestingly, the new wallet also contains $46 worth of a memecoin called Gensler (GENSLR) and just $0.24 worth of a dragon-inspired token called Dejitaru Tsuka (TSUKA), according to data from Web3 wallet tracker DeBank.
Dormant wallets with vast sums of crypto can awaken for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, dormant wallets reawaken because they’ve been hacked. Other times, it’s simply because the owner may have forgotten about it and, upon its re-discovery, have decided that it’s possibly a good time to sell.
The Ethereum ICO occurred in 2014 and raised $18 million in two stages between July and September of that year. The going exchange rate for the pre-sale was 1 Bitcoin for 2,000 ETH. The Ethereum blockchain was not launched until July 30, 2015, meaning that investors had to wait for more than a year to redeem and use their Ether.
These instances of long-dormant wallets coming back to life serve as a reminder of the importance of keeping track of one’s crypto assets and regularly reviewing wallet activity. In addition to the risk of a wallet getting hacked, there is also the possibility of losing access to the wallet if the private keys are misplaced, forgotten, or damaged. Therefore, it is crucial to follow best practices for storing private keys and keeping backups in multiple secure locations, such as hardware wallets or cold storage.
Crypto assets, which are not tied to any central authority or institution and are often held in anonymous or pseudonymous wallets, are particularly vulnerable to loss or theft. The decentralized nature of blockchain technology provides high levels of security and transparency, but it also means that responsibility for safeguarding crypto assets ultimately lies with the individual owner. Therefore, it is important to educate oneself on best practices and take the necessary precautions to protect one’s investment.