OpenSea Bug Transfers Tokens to Burn Addresses, Over $100K Worth of NFTs Lost


Despite the success of the crypto market, the sector has found it hard to shake off the constant security issues that plague the industry.

This week, the non-fungible token (NFT) space got a brutal reality check after NFT marketplace OpenSea was hit by a bug that destroyed multiple tokens.

Burning Tokens Without Permission

On Wednesday, Nich Johnson – a lead developer on the Ethereum Name Server (ENS), announced on Twitter that he had accidentally “burned” the first ENS ever registered. The developer explained that he had tried to transfer the ENS – named “rilxxlir.eth” – to one of his personal accounts.

While Johnson had planned to offer the ENS as an NFT through PaperclipDAO, it would have been impossible to do this until he transferred the ENS as an ENS account held the name. The developer moved to OpenSea to process the transfer, where he discovered a glitch in the marketplace’s code.

Rather than send the ENS to Johnson’s address, OpenSea sent the NFT to a burn address-never to be seen again. OpenSea has reportedly patched the issue, but not before it affected 32 other transactions – involving 21 users and 42 traded NFTs. At the time of his tweet, all NFTs affected were collectively valued at 38.44 ETH.

“It transpires I was the first and apparently only victim of a bug introduced to their transfer page in the past 24 hours, which affected all ERC721 transfers to ENS names. Ownership of rilxxlir.eth is now permanently burned,” Johnson said.

Not the Best Time for OpenSea

The transfer glitch on OpenSea is quite disturbing, considering how important the marketplace is in the sector. But this was expected considering their staffing problems. In late August, the company’s head of product, Nate Chastain, posted that they had been severely understaffed, with only 37 people processing 98 percent of all NFT volumes.

OpenSea’s careers page also shows various open positions, from business development officers to finance professionals and full-stack engineers. Chastain added that OpenSea is looking to expand its team to take the stress off its existing workforce.

The company’s security flaws and staffing issues are also coming at a bit of a challenging time, with competitors now coming into the market. This week, top decentralized exchange and derivatives trading platform FTX launched a native NFT marketplace on the Solana blockchain.

As the company explained, the NFT marketplace is exclusive to American customers, and it will enable users to buy, sell, and mint NFTs. All tokens are tradable across the Etheruem and Solana blockchains, with deposits and withdrawals coming in the next few weeks. The deposits and withdrawal feature will essentially allow users to deposit external NFTs on the platform too.

Top crypto exchange Binance also launched an NFT marketplace in June. The company is looking to reduce transaction costs, and it will be based on the exchange’s blockchain infrastructure.

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