AntPool Agrees to Refund Whopping $3M Bitcoin Fee

Vignesh Karunanidhi
AntPool Agrees to Refund Whopping $3M Bitcoin Fee

Bitcoin mining group AntPool announced Monday it will issue a refund of over $3 million accidentally paid in transaction fees last week—the largest on record—but only once additional proof surfaces to confirm the rightful owner.

In a statement, AntPool advised the entity behind the exorbitant 83.65 BTC fee worth $3.1 million at current prices to contact the mining pool by December 10th. Follow-up identity verification would set the stage for repayment of the errant funds.

The abnormal payment occurred on November 23rd as part of a transaction initially transferring 139 BTC, later dwarfed by associated costs. AntPool at the time withheld dispersal pending an internal risk review of the conspicuous sum.

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Observers speculated whether it was a Bitcoin coding mishap

Observers speculated whether the event reflected a coding mishap, unauthorized wallet access leading to theft, or even a sophisticated hacking attempt to seize control of the account. But AntPool remained noncommittal in its handling of the fees until this week’s pledged reimbursement was dependent on validating real ownership.

Crypto infrastructure provider Paxos similarly overpaid a $500,000 mining fee this September, aided by a likely slip of the finger on a touchscreen device. Competing mining group F2Pool in that case agreed to send the funds back to Paxos upon request.

In fact, Paxos publicly thanked F2Pool for exhibiting responsiveness and understanding that normal users occasionally input erroneous amounts. The largely positive reaction stood in contrast to suspicions around AntPool’s more opaque response.

Still, the unprecedented magnitude of last week’s $3 million transaction fee makes the situation less straightforward, given the financial interests at play. Establishing legitimacy takes priority before disbursing such a vast sum.