Unlimited free Ether. A Coinbase bug has been discovered that briefly allowed anyone the ability to transfer unlimited Ethereum coins to their account.
A Dutch fintech firm reported the issue to the exchange back in late December last year.
Who fixed the issue a month later and paid out a $10,000 bounty to the group.
VI Company explained the deal in detail here, revealing that it accidently found this bug when they decided to gift their employees some Ether as Christmas present. They were surprised upon discovering that anyone could transfer as much of the digital currency into their account there.
Simply by creating false transfers to their name.
The firm also provided much more information on the issue on a vulnerability tracking and coordination platform:
“By using a smart contract to distribute ether over a set of wallets you can manipulate the account balance of your Coinbase account.
If one of the internal transactions in the smart contract fails, all transactions before that will be reversed. But on Coinbase these transactions will not be reversed, meaning someone could add as much ether to their balance as they want.”
Anyone who found this glitch in December could have exploited it as the time, back when Ethereum was trading more than double of what it is trading now. Whether they would have been able to cash it out in some way is another matter, but this bug certainly was a serious affair.
Luckily, the researchers handled things very professionally, instead of causing a panic by going public.
They worked with Coinbase to fix the exploit, with the exchange asking them not to reveal this information until March 21, 2018.
And here we are today.