The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is a decentralized protocol that allows users to register human-readable names for their Ethereum addresses, such as “alice.eth” or “bob.eth”.
These names can be used to send and receive payments, access decentralized applications, or store metadata.
However, registering an ENS name is not free. Users have to bid for their desired names in an auction process and lock up a certain amount of Ether (ETH) as a deposit.
The deposit can be reclaimed at any time by the owner, but many users have forgotten or neglected to do so, leaving millions of dollars worth of ETH locked in the ENS smart contracts.
A Whale Finally Reclaims Their ETH from the ENS Auction
One of the largest deposits in the ENS auction was made by a whale using the domain “darkmarket.eth”. This user locked up 39,712 ETH (worth $1,868 each at the time of writing) in 2021 when they bid for the name.
However, they never reclaimed their deposit, even after ENS founder and lead developer Nick Johnson tweeted a reminder for them in 2021. Johnson also provided a link that would allow users to reclaim their ETH deposited in ENS auctions.
— Lookonchain (@lookonchain) July 31, 2023
It took two years and five months for the whale to finally reclaim their ETH from the ENS auction. On July 31, 2023, on-chain analytics firm Lookonchain flagged that the funds were reclaimed and darkmarket.eth’s 63,734 ETH, worth $119 million at the time of writing, was transferred to a different wallet.
The whale gained an extra 24,022 ETH (worth $45 million) from the interest earned by locking up their deposit in the ENS smart contract.
There Are Still Over 100,000 Unclaimed Deposits in the ENS Auction
According to Johnson, there are still over 100,000 deeds that remain unclaimed at ENS. These deeds are worth tens of thousands of ETH and belong to users who registered their names in the first two years of ENS. Johnson urged users to check their own addresses and claim their funds before they were lost forever.
The whale who reclaimed their ETH from the ENS auction is not the only dormant wallet that has woken up recently. On July 19, 2023, a wallet containing pre-mined Ether worth $116 million moved its funds to a Kraken exchange address after eight years of being left alone.
The wallet was worth around $20 million at the time it was pre-mined, giving the owner a return of more than five times.
On July 24, 2023, a dormant wallet moved over $30 million in Bitcoin (BTC) after being left alone for 11 years. The address acquired the assets back in April 2012, when Bitcoin was worth only $4.92, meaning that the stash was only worth $5,108 back then.
These cases show that there are still many hidden treasures in the crypto space waiting to be discovered or reclaimed by their owners. However, they also highlight the importance of keeping track of one’s crypto assets and managing them responsibly. Otherwise, they might end up being lost or forgotten forever.
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