Vitalik Buterin Has Over $1M Trapped in the Optimism Bridge

Vitalik Buterin on Ethereum Purge

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has found himself entangled in a situation involving more than $1 million locked in the Optimism bridge.    

Optimism is a Layer-2 scaling network for Ethereum designed for simplicity, pragmatism, and sustainability. Its primary objective is to increase Ethereum’s transaction throughput while decreasing the cost of transacting on the network.  

Arkham, a blockchain intelligence firm, revealed that many crypto addresses hold significant funds in bridge contracts across various networks.    

Ethereum Wallets Struggle with Locked Assets

According to reports, a wallet address linked to vitalik.eth has received 50 ETH from Buterin’s Ethereum Name Service (BNS) address, with $1.05 million dormant for seven months. The amount is a fraction of his $781 million crypto holdings.  

Arkharm cited an example: a wallet linked with Bofur Capital has $1.8 million in wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) stuck in the Arbitrum bridge for 27 months.   

“Bofur Capital’s 27 Bitcoin has been sitting in the Arbitrum bridge for over two years now and is now worth almost $2 million,” the blockchain firm said.  

Thomasg.eth, the pseudonymous founder of Arrow, a decentralized air transportation solution, has $800,000 in ETH stagnant in the same wallet.  

Also, six months ago, Coinbase tried to transfer $75,000 in USD Coin (USDC) to Ethereum using the Optimism bridge. Despite the transfer’s success, these funds remain unclaimed on Ethereum’s main layer, which hints at either an overlooked recovery process or an intended delay in claiming the transferred assets.   

The Role of Cross-chain Bridges

Cross-chain bridges such as Optimism play a vital role in blockchain ecosystems like Ethereum by enabling the transfer of assets across various blockchains without centralized control, which aims to address interoperability challenges in blockchain designs.    

The cases of Buterin and others highlight the complexities and risks of managing funds in decentralized environments. Owners of these wallets may have purposely left their assets within the bridges. However, funds may also become stuck due to technical issues.  

Furthermore, these bridges pose substantial security threats, becoming prime targets for cyber-attacks, which have resulted to the losses of million of dollars in recent years.