Here is the scene: You are about to use your Ethereum address to do some trading, or to send some Ether to someone. You connect to your wallet and check your balance… It’s empty!! What?! You were supposed to have 100 Ether in it.. what happened? Have you been hacked?
You check Etherscan, and find out that someone used your private key to send a transaction from your address to another one…
How is it possible?
You just created this address the day before. And there is absolutely no way a hacker could have hacked your hardware wallet anyway.
You start to investigate…
Quickly, you find out the identity of the person who stealed all your money. Fortunately, the recipient address belongs to a wallet at an exchange, and the exchange accepts to cooperate to help you recover the fund…quickly, you find the identify of the stealer… haha! lucky you! You got him hand in the bag! The exchange sends him an email for some explanation…and the guy answers: “What??? I didn’t steal anything! I have been using this address for at least 1 year!”.
Confused, you check Etherscan again, and find that indeed, there are transactions associated to this address even BEFORE you generated it… how is it even possible?
You are a victim of an Address collision..
Well, my friend, you might have been victim of the first “address collision” of blockchain in human history. You are incredibly unlucky, but as a meager relief here is an explanation of what happened and what Ethereum does to prevent it.
By the way, the link points to the forum of EatTheBlocks. If you have any questions about Ethereum address collision or want to participate in other conversations about Ethereum Dapp development, you can create an account on the forum, that’s free.