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Issue #423: Always triple check

Issue #423: Always triple check

Feb 19, 2019
Marty's Ƀent

Issue #423: Always triple check

It's a slow news day out there in the world of Bitcoin, but no day is ever a bad day to remind everyone of the need to double, triple, and quadruple-check your transactions before hitting 'send', especially the fee you're tagging onto your transaction. As you can see, this is not an uncommon mistake that has been made over the years. Most recently, it looks like someone or some service built on ETH has been sending transactions with crazy fees (up to $450k!) over the last couple of days.

You really hate to see it, but so goes the nature of a nascent digital currency that demands extreme ownership from the individuals who hold it. The fact that a Bitcoin UTXO is a bearer asset means you have complete control over it and, by extension, the responsibility of making sure you pay attention to the values you're putting into each input when crafting a transaction. This problem also ties into our ongoing conversation about UX around these parts. There's no doubt that Bitcoin probably won't be able to scale to the masses if this is the best we'll ever get in regards to the experience around sending a transaction. However, there are some easy fixes that wallets can begin implementing to make this experience better.

Here's a thought, maybe a feature that warns a user if their transaction fee is greater than the mean/median of the fee rate in the last n blocks? Not perfect, but would be enough to help people who mistakenly input 79.65BTC as their fee rate, a level 5.5x the current block reward subsidy (12.5BTC). We must begin to demand this stuff from service providers for the sake of ourselves and the sake of avoiding future PR nightmares that these mistakes can cause.

Even though this is a shitty thing to have happened, there is a potential for recourse if you're able to identify and contact the miner who mined the block in which your transaction with the exorbitant fee was included. The miner who mined the transaction with the +79BTC fee was kind enough to notice the fee, send out a message looking for the sender, and return the BTC out of the kindness of their hearts. This actually wasn't uncommon in the early days of Bitcoin as our friend Dan McArdle points out.

Always remember to be extra cautious when hitting "send", freaks. Every miner won't be so forgiving in the future. Especially if the price of Bitcoin increases significantly.

Final thought...

Have a desperate need for some salt water and a hot breeze at the moment.


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