Tens of millions of dollars worth of Ethereum frozen in 2017 may finally be recovered, thanks to a new upgrade in the cryptocurrency technology.
More than 500,000 Ethereum—now worth more than $62 million—stored in wallets provided by Parity, a blockchain software company, were essentially lost when a hacker exploited a software bug that froze the funds. But last week’s Ethereum hard fork, known as Constantinople (which includes the so-called CREATE2 upgrade), paves the way to getting those funds back, Parity CEO Jutta Steiner says on Fortune’s latest episode of “Balancing the Ledger.”
“If that functionality CREATE2 had existed at the time, there wouldn’t have been a vulnerability, basically,” Steiner says. “So if you think now, okay, we introduced and sort of fixed the tooling, then wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to also fix the issues that arose when we didn’t have the tooling?”
Parity developers had previously argued without success for a hard fork in the Ethereum blockchain in order to restore the frozen cryptocurrency. Now that the fork has been implemented, Steiner believes there is a stronger case for taking the necessary steps to remedy the Parity wallet problem.
“It doesn’t automatically mean that we, or all the teams that have stuck funds, get the funds back,” she explains. “It still requires another hard fork where that particular state change is made, but it gives a much more solid argument to why it’s the right thing to do and recover the funds.”
In the meantime, the Web3 Foundation, which conducts cryptocurrency fundraisers benefiting the development of Parity’s Polkadot project, is holding a second token sale that could value the initiative at $1 billion. Steiner, however, says that the potential recovery of the frozen funds would have no impact on the fundraiser. “That’s nothing that’s being done because of the frozen funds issue, really,” she adds.