Bitcoin double-spend spotted in the wild

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BitMEX Research has identified a suspected double-spend transaction worth 0.00062063 BTC, or roughly $ 21 – and it doesn’t appear to be an example of this popular hacket to replace with fees.

On January 20th, BitMEX’s ForkMonitor noted that “several blocks at the height of 666833 have been made”. BitMEX Research tweeted:

[1/2] There was a stale bitcoin block today at 666,833. SlushPool beat F2Pool in one race.

It seems like a small double overhead of around 0.00062063 BTC ($ 21) was noted

– BitMEX Research (@BitMEXResearch) January 20, 2021

An hour later, BitMEX Research traced the orphaned block back to an RBF transaction, where an unconfirmed transaction is replaced with a new transfer that pays a higher fee. Since then, however, ForkMonitor has updated its advice to say, “No (RBF) bumps have been detected.”

BSV Twitter user and Australian attorney Eli Afram noted the “mixed messages” from BitMEX Research, claiming that the double-issued transaction, despite its low value, should be cause for concern:

“So it seems that BTC actually made double spending … No RBF (replacement by fee), but actual spending. Only $ 22 … but – that could have been $ 22 million. “

Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper is credited with solving the double spending problem in 2009. The challenge of ensuring that a decentralized network can autonomously check that the same coins have not been transferred more than once had hampered previous attempts with digital money.

In July, crypto security firm ZenGo identified a double-spend exploit on several popular Bitcoin wallets. While the wallet makers were tackling the exploit, Bitcoin Cash proponent Hayden Otto warned that BTC’s fee-replacement vulnerability could be inherent in it. He had previously exploited the same vulnerability in a viral video.