The biggest crypto programming errors of all time

Posted on Dec 9, 2018

The biggest crypto programming errors of all time

One small crypto programming error can lead to millions in lost funds. As you are about to learn, a bug in your code can equal disaster on the blockchain. These far-reaching consequences are all the more reason to make your project open-source.

Open-source projects gain added security because of the large number of developers checking the code for errors. That being said, even open-source projects contain programming mistakes. Let’s take a moment to examine the five biggest crypto programming errors in history.

If building a blockchain from scratch is beyond your current scope, the blockchain technology whitepaper is worth a look. Experts from the field share their know-how, tips and tricks, development advice, and strategy for becoming a blockchain master. Imagine you were programming a smart contract and all of a sudden you gained control of thousands of people’s multi-signature wallets by accident.

What would you do? Go Lambo shopping? Or would you take the high road like devops199 and try to undo your coding to return the wallets to their rightful owners?

You heard right; devops199 deleted the code that accidentally granted him access to thousands of Parity multi-signature wallets. Unfortunately, eliminating the code also froze all of the funds in those wallets indefinitely. In total, $300 million worth of Ethereum was lost in the debacle.

Ironically, the bug that created this crypto programming disaster was not the same code that resulted in a hacker stealing $32 million earlier in the month. A hacker exploited a flaw in the multi-signature wallet protocol. The Parity development team went into overdrive correcting the defect to prevent the hacker from stealing more.

In hindsight, the effects of the hack weren’t worse than $300 million in Ethereum frozen forever.