Juno blockchain loses $36 million due to typing error

Mistakes are human, especially in the case where copy-and-paste errors resulted in an instant loss of $36 million in JUNO tokens.

A cut-and-paste at 36 million dollars

On May 5, one of its development teams moved the equivalent of 36 million dollars (34 million euros) in cryptocurrency to a bad wallet without the possibility of canceling the operation on the spot.

The Juno project, which defines itself as a network of interoperable smart contracts on the COSMOS blockchain, suffered a serious setback when confiscated funds ended up at addresses that did not belong to anyone. The operation is reversible, but it highlights weaknesses in the proof-of-stake system and on-chain governance.

Juno is not a new blockchain, but a community based on the Cosmos blockchain. This decentralized financial tool is based on several principles: firstly, decisions concerning the network are taken by member vote (on-chain governance). Possession of more than 50,000 JUNO tokens is also prohibited, and the current price is 9.14 euros, a far cry from the record value of 41 euros two months ago.

Users with more than 3 million tokens have been penalized by the community, which the community claims were obtained through fraudulent means. The problem, transferring this token is a “fat finger” scenario where a copy-paste error in the code sends all funds to an unknown address and cannot be exploited. In his original plan, the money would be transferred to a corporate wallet address pending a vote on how the money would be spent.

“This was the first major example yet of the blockchain community voting to change the token balance of a single user accused of acting maliciously,” a CoinDesk reporter explained.

The developer responsible for the manipulation inadvertently entered the hash number instead of the wallet number. Upon confirming his transaction, none of the 125 validators on the blockchain network saw the error and objected to the confirmation.

Obviously, this error was a copy-paste error, but the whole Juno team is responsible for it. While no blockchain miners sounded the alarm, the message returned is very bad for a blockchain that operates on the principle of “Proof-of-Stake” rather than “Proof-of-Work” ( Proof-of-Work) as is the case with Ethereum.

Validators aim to be guardians of network security and decentralization. In this case, they may be responsible for not detecting errors in the entry in a timely manner. “We messed up,” Daniel Hwang, one of the Juno blockchain validators, told CoinDesk, adding that the error was mostly “the fault of the validator” running the code.

For each problem there is a solution ?

The proof of work used by Bitcoin and Ethereum uses a lot of energy to validate a block. Proof of Stake, on the other hand, requires user votes to validate blocks or transactions. On the other hand, the immutability of the blockchain means that it is difficult to go back, especially in the event of human error.

Where Juno might be happy to use a proof-of-stake protocol instead of proof-of-work is that they should be able to find a solution faster.

In fact, the Juno blockchain relies on so-called “governance” protocols, where token holders can vote to modify transactions in the blockchain. The majority wins, and once the vote is complete, the transaction can be reversed by an update.

The update will be profound because, as improvements are made, it will modify Juno’s generally immutable account registry. On a blockchain like Ethereum, the solutions would be more difficult to find and the funds would surely be lost, only a blockchain like Ethereum would surely not allow an error in a transaction…

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Juno blockchain loses $36 million due to typing error

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