Imagine going to bed with a few thousand dollars' worth of coins and tokens in your crypto wallet. You pour your coffee, grab your phone, and open up to find your balance has ballooned into the billions.
No, SafeMoon didn't finally moon. Mongoose Coin didn't swallow Cobra Coin. And Shiba Inu didn't rally by fifty decimals. It's just some bad data.
The proximate source of the incorrect data is CoinMarketCap, one of the top crypto price data providers. According to CoinMarketCap, a single today blew well past the $50,000 resistance to become worth $799 billion. now goes for $43 billion. Thanks, EIP-1559!
Trust Wallet, which relies on CoinMarketCap for price data, was one of the affected products. Though coin and token balances appeared correctly in user balances, their dollar values did not.
— Ashok Arora (@ashokarorain) December 14, 2021
Trust Wallet wasn't alone. Exodus numbers also showed incorrect dollar balances. Even Coinbase was affected; it uses CoinMarketCap figures to display values of assets it doesn't list, such as XRP.
CoinMarketCap has not yet responded to Decrypt's request for more information about whether the error was the result of a glitch or hack. It did tweet a short acknowledgement of the issue: "The Engineering team is aware of incorrect price information appearing on http://CoinMarketCap.com. We are currently investigating and will update this status when we have more information."
Though the data was incorrect, it may have contributed to a real stall in the crypto market recovery that was underway—if users rushed to cash out before taking a closer look. After dropping to $46,600 yesterday, BTC prices shot up today to just under $48,700. Indeed, prices are mostly flat over the last hour, since the error was discovered.
This isn't the first time crypto users have seen incorrect balances. In May, crypto lender BlockFi accidentally credited 100 users with Bitcoin that didn't belong to them; one person said they had received 700 BTC, worth $34 million at today's prices, or 500 kajillion if you're looking at CoinMarketCap. It then asked users to return the funds and even threatened legal action at someone who withdrew.