Ephemeris: 10 years ago a bug allowed to create 184,000,000,000 BTC

By PhoenixDev | CryptoWorld - CW | 15 Aug 2020


On August 15, 2010, when Bitcoin was barely two years old, Jeff Garzik, who had assisted in the development of Bitcoin since its inception, wrote on the Bitcointalk forum:

“The exit value at block 74,638 is quite strange ».

According to Jeff Garzik, that block showed outputs of 184,467,000,000 million BTC, that is, a value almost 9,000 times higher than 21 million, which is the maximum of BTC that will be generated.

What happened?

What happened was that an integer overflow had caused a negative total transaction value.

As user lfm explained on Bitcointalk:

Normally the inputs are equal to the outputs of a transaction. The exception is when there is a ‘fee’ charged for the transaction. The net allows anyone to voluntarily pay any amout for a fee. So when the sum was negative the difference from the input looked like a fee. It slipped thru all the checks.

What was proven is that an unknown attacker noticed this error and used it to use the huge amount of Bitcoins discussed above.

This situation only took about an hour and a half to be discovered, and to be corrected in another two hours (Common Vulnerability and Exposure 2010-5139), with which the transaction of 184,000,000,000 Bitcoins was eliminated from the block.

Thanks for reading this post and, see you soon!

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