Parity Floats Fix for $160 Million Ether Fund Freeze

Work continues on a possible way to free up the more than $150 million worth of ether stuck in multi-signature wallets following a hack last week.

AccessTimeIconNov 13, 2017 at 6:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:09 a.m. UTC

Work continues on a possible way to free up the more than $160 million worth of ether stuck in multi-signature wallets following a dramatic hack last week.

In a new update published today, the Parity software development team said that it is conducting a review of the incident and will be releasing a post-mortem report "in the next few days."

The update indicates that there remains no immediate plan for addressing the frozen funds – although it's been suggested that a network hard fork would be required to find a solution, perhaps as part of the "Constantinople" network upgraded planned for 2018. That said, the startup raised the option of EIP156 – a late 2016 proposal from ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin focused on freeing up money locked in certain types of contracts – as one possible approach.

"We have spent the last few days rigorously examining the events. While it is too early to decide on a fixed solution, EIP156 has been discussed for a significant time and has drawn support from various directions in the community," the team wrote, adding:

"The team is working on a broadly accepted solution that will unblock the funds."

As previously reported, a bug in the code for the Parity wallet software was inadvertently exploited by an anonymous developer, a move that "suicided" its code library and resulted in 513,774.16 ETH – an amount worth approximately $160.8 million at current prices – being locked within 587 separate wallets.

The situation raises the specter of The DAO, the ethereum-based funding vehicle that collapsed in the summer of 2016 following a debilitating code exploit. Unlike that situation, however, the frozen funds aren't subject to theft by outside entities and, as it stands, remain in their respective accounts.

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