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Bitfinex just spent $23.7 million in fees to make a single Ethereum transaction

Quick Take

  • A wallet belonging to crypto exchange Bitfinex covered the fees for a payment of $100,000 of tether (USDT) on behalf of the non-custodial exchange DeversiFi.
  • Only the wallet appears to have paid a rather enormous fee.

UPDATE (6:10 p.m. EST): The majority of the funds — some $22.1 million worth of ETH — have been returned to the Bitfinex-controlled wallet. The transaction was sent at 5:14 p.m. EST at a cost of $33.74.

Original story:

A wallet belonging to crypto exchange Bitfinex just paid $23.7 million in transaction fees to send $100,000 of tether (USDT) in what was a bit of a slip up.

DeversiFi — a non-custodial exchange that spun out of Bitfinex in 2019 — said the transaction originated via its platform, which offers access to DeFi protocols “without paying gas fees.” These transaction fees, it turns out, are paid out through one of Bitfinex’s main wallets, which ended up footing the bill.

“At 11:10 UTC on the 27th September a deposit transaction was made using a hardware wallet from the main DeversiFi user interface with an erroneously high gas fee,” said a spokesperson for DeversiFi.

“DeversiFi is currently investigating the cause to determine how this occurred and will keep you updated. No customer funds on DeversiFi are at risk and this is an internal issue for DeversiFi to resolve. Operations are unaffected,” they added.

The transaction was a smart contract interaction with the amount of tether sent to one wallet before being passed along to Deversifi’s wallet. It used the newly implemented EIP-1559 type of transaction, which was designed to make Ethereum fees easier to predict.

The transaction was included in a block that was mined by an unknown Ethereum miner, who ranks in the top ten miners by blocks mined over the last seven days.

This may be the largest Ethereum transaction fee ever paid in dollar terms. Previous notable occasions include two transactions that were made in June 2020 that added up to $5.2 million in fees.

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