For the second day in a row, unexplained activity is clogging up the Ethereum network, this time raising transaction fees 47 times since August 7. The smart contract, which users have identified as possibly linked to a copy of a game, has consumed more than 36.4% of gas, enough to cause congestion and raise transaction fees across the board. Fees for regular transactions have risen above $1, which is seen as relatively high by Ethereum standards.
Later, the gas usage kept rising to 36.87%, leading to exorbitant prices for the fastest transactions, and expensive even for slow transactions. CryptoKitties immediately served as the canary in the mine, increasing in-game fees to pay for gas:
Hypotheses surrounding the seemingly meaningless transactions have included someone deliberately paying to congest the network, or someone running tests for a future event. In any case, even the spammer has paid exorbitant transaction fees in ETH. Suspicions of a rival scam were resurrected.
Another hypothesis sees the ETH sent to a lottery-like game, possibly to fake participation by multiple users. ETH-based games are known for having very few users – so the comments under the transactions suggest someone may be creating fake-looking participation.
In the meantime, another contract sending out 0.1 ETH every few seconds consumed more than 15% of gas, further contributing to the congestion. The second smart contract continued to increase its weight to more than 16.9%.
At the same time, total activity for the Ethereum network has fallen from peaks above 700,000 transactions in 24 hours, to around 560,000 transactions in 24 hours, as regular users may be avoiding transfers during times of congestion.
During the last market bout of selling, ETH market prices also suffered seriously, plunging deep below the $400 level. ETH has now only very slim gains compared to August 2017, as the price slid down to $370.85. Network congestions are slowly undermining the reputation of Ethereum, and despite the numerous ICOs, the project still sees troubles.
Each of the two contracts performed hundreds of transactions. At one point, the larger wallet increased its ETH holdings to above $7 million, also receiving ETH. No ERC-20 tokens have been sent out, which does not link the activity to any project.
A handful of other projects have been affected by the high fees, but even now, there are very few users, and ETH is being mostly sent between exchanges, or used to send other tokens. Usually, Ethereum network congestions clear, but the lack of logic and what looks like spam transactions become more worrying after each attack.