Millions In ‘Forgotten’ Crypto Lies Dormant On Bridges

Data from Arkham Intelligence shows wallets associated with Vitalik Buterin and Coinbase among the owners of seemingly forgotten bridged assets.

By: Mehab Qureshi Loading...

Millions In ‘Forgotten’ Crypto Lies Dormant On Bridges

Millions of dollars are sitting untouched in blockchain bridge contracts, according to data from Arkham Intelligence, an on-chain analytics platform.

On April 22, Arkham tweeted a list of wallets associated with prominent web3 entities that collectively hold nearly $4 million worth of assets that have remained dormant on blockchain bridges for between five months and more than two years.

The list included wallets associated with Vitalik Buterin — Ethereum's chief scientist, Coinbase — a leading crypto exchange, and Bofur Capital — believed to be a sizable Celsius creditor.

"There are dozens of accounts with 6-7 figures stuck in bridge contracts, forgotten about," Arkham said. “If you’re on this list, you may have misplaced a few million dollars.”

Cross-chain bridges facilitate the transfer of assets and information between different blockchains.

Visualization of bridged assets. Source: Arkham Intelligence.

Michael Rodrigues, a DeFi analyst at EasyFi, told The Defiant that investors may be intentionally positioning the funds in anticipation of future market moves.

“Instant liquidity or access to other blockchains would offer a competitive advantage,” Rodrigues said. "In times of increased market volatility, keeping assets in a bridge contract can be a form of hedging against price variations across different networks.”

However, Rodrigues also conceded that owners of the assets may have simply forgotten about their bridged funds. “A pricey mistake by any standard,” he said.

Crypto holdings left untouched

One wallet that previously received 50 ETH from Vitalik.eth has not touched a stash of $1.05 million in Ether since depositing the funds to Optimism's bridge seven months ago.

Should the account belong to Buterin, Arkham data indicates that the sum represents a small portion of his crypto holdings — which are estimated at $789 million in total. “Vitalik, if you own this address, PSA: you have a million dollars of ETH in the Optimism bridge,” Arkham said.

A wallet associated with Bofur Capital – a company bearing the same name as a large Celsius creditor – also left 27 BTC worth $1.8 million in the Arbitrum bridge for two years and three months.

Thomasg.eth, a founder of the decentralized aviation project, Arrow, has similarly left $800,000 worth of ETH untouched on the same bridge.

Even Coinbase, the top U.S. centralized exchange, has left 75,000 USDC in limbo after bridging from Optimism to Ethereum.

“Seems like Coinbase tried bridging $75K USDC to ETH,” Arkham said. “For now, it’s still in the Optimism bridge contract, waiting to be claimed on L1.”