Earlier this year, Parity Technologies seemingly lost about $150 million worth of Ethereum when a user of its wallet accidentally deleted a code library that made Parity’s wallets work. At least 1 million in ETH became frozen — and about $90 million of those were actually from Parity co-founder and Ethereum core developer Gavin Wood’s token sale for its Pokadot blockchain technology. The money may not be lost forever, though.
Today at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin, Woods and Parity CEO and co-founder Jutta Steiner retraced their story of what happened. “A library that governs the logic of the wallets that people use had a bug, which was due to a delicate refactoring at the time when the tools weren’t yet that developed,” Steiner said, arguing it’s a symptom of the technology still being young at the time. “We hadn’t figured out how to deal with bugs.”
As TechCrunch editor-at-large Mike Butcher noted, though, the bug that caused this freeze was actually known and had been reported long before it caused this issue. Steiner didn’t disagree, but noted that this issue wasn’t reported as a critical security flaw at the time. “It sounded like a nice-to-have update,” she said.
Steiner, however, said that she is confident that a fix for this issue, which could unfreeze the money, may happen when the next scheduled update goes live in the next four to six months.
How upset is Woods about this? It doesn’t seem like he’s too fazed by it. “It’s a long-term savings account for us right now,” he quipped. But while the two might have sounded nonchalant on stage about the issue, it’s clearly a sensitive subject for both Parity and Polkadot.
It’s still extremely early days for these technologies, and as Butcher noted, we’re in the ‘moon-landing’ phase of this brand new industry.