Report suggests transaction malleability did not bankrupt MtGox
Did MtGox truly fall due to transaction malleability?
According to a report by researchers at ETH Zurich University in Switzerland, transaction malleability may only account for an insignificant 386 bitcoins lost by MtGox. Christian Decker and Professor Roger Wattenhofer, both from the university’s Distributed Computing Group (DCG) released a report on March 26th.
Their report indicates:
The transaction malleability problem is real and should be considered when implementing Bitcoin clients.
However, while MtGox claimed to have lost 850,000 bitcoins due to malleability attacks, we merely observed a total of 302,000 bitcoins ever being involved in malleability attacks. Of these, only 1,811 bitcoins were in attacks before MtGox stopped users from withdrawing bitcoins. Even more, 78.64% of these attacks were ineffective. As such, barely 386 bitcoins could have been stolen using malleability attacks from MtGox or from other businesses. Even if all of these attacks were targeted against MtGox, MtGox needs to explain the whereabouts of 849,600 bitcoins.
The report came just about a week after the Tokyo-based now-bankrupt exchange announced that they found 200,000 bitcoins in an old format wallet. That still leaves 650,000 bitcoins lost from the original declared amount of 850,000 bitcoins, which the company claims was due to issues with the Bitcoin protocol. With the new findings, it seems like even if all the malleability attacks were targeted at MtGox, the company would only lose 386 bitcoins, which leaves 649,600 bitcoins still missing.