Typographical errors or a misplaced cut-and-paste are the stuff of nightmares in the journalistic profession, so imagine the horror for the Juno community when US$36 million worth of its tokens were sent to the wrong wallet address thanks to a programming mishap.
The community last week voted to seize the tokens from the wallet of a whale investor accused of gaming an airdrop. But instead of sending the funds to an address controlled by the Juno community, as originally intended, they were misdirected to another wallet because of a faulty software upgrade:
Juno Proposal 20, passed almost unanimously by the Juno community, was supposed to automatically run code to move funds “gamed” by Japanese whale Takumi Asano from his wallet into a “Unity” address controlled by the community.
Funds Wind Up in Blockchain Limbo
When the code was executed on May 4, a programming error moved three million revoked JUNO tokens to an erroneous address on the Cosmos-based blockchain to which neither Asano nor the Juno community had access.
Andrea Di Michele, a member of Juno’s developer team, attributed the glitch to a copy-paste error. “When I gave the [Proposal 20] developers the address of the [Unity] smart contract, I pasted the address of the smart contract and just underneath it put the transaction hash,” Di Michele said.
Developers then accidentally copied the transaction hash – which looked similar to the wallet address – rather than the address itself. As a result, the seized funds were moved to an unreachable sector of the Juno/Cosmos blockchain.
Of Juno’s more than 120 validators, none appeared to notice that the Unity address had been pasted incorrectly. One of them stated the obvious on behalf of the many: “We f..ked up big time.”
Asano Foreshadows Possible Legal Action
Asano has since indicated he may pursue legal action against the validators unless the confiscated funds are returned to his investors.
As mistakes go, this one is not quite in the league of the DeFi protocol bug that accidentally rewarded Compound users with US$80 million worth of COMP tokens last October. But it’s way bigger than the Mutant Ape NFT that sold for 17 USDC rather than 17 ETH in August 2021, the result of another unfortunate if equally amusing typo that in this case cost a mere US$54,000.
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