Actually, everything that ends up on the Genesis address should be included there forever. The fact that there are so many values ​​on it is a strange phenomenon with complex causes.

Every blockchain has to start somewhere. You need a first block, from which the chain of blocks is knotted. As a term for this first block, the horrible-biblical term “Genesis Block” has prevailed. Every true fan of a cryptocurrency knows its Genesis block, at Bitcoin you can find this historic piece of code here.

Unlike all other blocks, a Genesis block is not created by mining. Sure, because mining needs an input of data, which includes the hash or ID of the previous block. Since there is no previous block, no egg from which the hen can hatch, the inventor of the blockchain must form the Genesis block the way God created the earth – out of nothing. This makes the block special.

At Ethereum, the founders agreed that the creation of the first block should not be attributed to anyone. Instead, his creation was attributed to an address for which no one can hold the key – a so-called “burn address”. The address known as the Genesis Account is the


This address is strikingly unique; one zero, one small x, then another 40 zeros. A computer would take centuries, if not millions of years, to find exactly the private key that opens this address. Thus all ethers sent here are irretrievably lost. It is as if they were in a chest made of a transparent but indestructible material.

Amazingly, the Genesis account is not low on incoming transactions. With Etherscan you can watch it yourself. He currently has a balance of more than 7,000 ethers (equivalent to more than six million dollars) and credits in more than 200 different tokens, worth $ 584 million. So at the bottom of the impenetrable lake, half a billion dollars is good for everyone to see.

We know that from Bitcoin. The address to which Satoshi has transferred the first 50 bitcoins from the Genesis block now also has more than 66 bitcoins. People love to send money symbolically to special addresses. But just under $ 600 million? Is the ecosystem around Ethereum so buoyant that it can afford this nonsense just because it is so beautiful? Or are there other, more rational reasons to explain this huge balance?

In our research, I came across a wealth of causes, which is why credits land on the Genesis account. The first explanation is that it is a bug in the software or simply a mistake. Because there is a very big difference between Ethereum and Bitcoin addresses: Bitcoin addresses are multiply hashed derivatives of a public key. Since a checksum has been incorporated into them, it is almost impossible to mistakenly hit a valid Bitcoin address by typing. Therefore, there are no known cases of Bitcoin misses. For Ethereum, on the other hand, the address is merely the public key of a key pair, meaning that every possible string of 40 hexadecimal characters gives a valid Ethereum address. It’s pretty easy to mistype yourself.

And the easiest way to get hold of the address is to use the Genesis account. You just have to hold down the zero – or have a sticky key – and it’s already in your address field. Worse, some wallets automatically fill the address field with zeros if left empty. A user reports that this happened to him with Golem tokens from a ledger wallet. A look at the Golem balance of the Genesis account shows that he was apparently not the only one who lost tokens in this or any similar way.

Similarly, there is a known bug in an old mining software in C ++. If one forgot to specify an address when the miner started, the software filled the field with zeroes. Meanwhile, the bug has been fixed, but for a while this has probably made the Genesis account the addressee of the mining reward.

This explains much, but not half a billion dollars in tokens. Here is a bundle of further explanations: Some of the more than 200 tokens on the address are likely to be spam tokens. It happens again and again that tokens are randomly distributed to any address. I myself have addresses with more than ten tokens that I have never wanted, and I suspect that such a prominent address as the Genesis Acount is likely to become the unwilling bearer of many tokens. However, these gifted tokens are also likely to be largely worthless.

More importantly, many tokens will be sent to the Genesis account with full intent. Because as a “burn address” it can play an important role in the construction of smart contracts, for example, if there are conditions that cause the tokens are demonstrably destroyed, such as when redeemed for gold or euros. Instead of messing with the complex, non-standard real destruct features, many contracts simply send the tokens to the Genesis account.

Finally, when looking at some tokens, you will notice that they are not sent to the Genesis address – but away from it. How can this be possible? Is not everything that falls into the “black hole of Ethereum” lost forever? The truth is that this is not always the case. Only everything that was sent to the Genesis address regularly, that is, under the conditions that you can only spend the credits if you provide the correct signature, can not be output. But Smart Contracts may well be able to attribute – and take back – the Genesis address token in an internal table.

Some tokens have even used the Genesis address to create the tokens. Because they have to come from somewhere. Why not from the same address as the ethers? Golem has apparently applied this principle, or Upfiring. Since the Genesis account still has earning tokens valued at more than $ 250 million, one could conclude at this point that these tokens can either still be awarded – so they are not here forever – or that they are the storekeepers who did not find a buyer for an ICO.

One mystery, however, remains the RHOC token, of which units with a value of $ 237 million are located on the Genesis address. Since the tokens were not transferred here until about 90 days after the RHOC-ICO, the address does not seem to serve as a Genesis address. Also, the use as burn address seems unlikely, since all tokens in a single transaction has been transferred to the Genesis account and then followed by no more. The only possibility that remains obvious is that somebody has actually made a mistake. Or that there are possibilities that we do not know yet.

So in the end, the half-billion statement on Genesis’s address should be a mix of everything: bugs and unintentional typos, deliberate burn transactions, spam tokens, leftover tokens from moderately successful ICOs, and reasons we’re not yet aware of.

The Beginning brown road sign with blue sky and wilderness image via Shutterstock


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