Arkham Intelligence Uncovers Millions in Unclaimed Crypto Assets Stuck in Bridge Contracts

Arkham Intelligence Uncovers Millions in Unclaimed Crypto Assets Stuck in Bridge Contracts

Arkham Intelligence, a crypto analytics firm, has recently uncovered a surprising trend in the world of decentralized finance (DeFi): millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies are languishing unclaimed in various bridge contracts. These funds, belonging to both prominent crypto personalities and lesser-known entities, have been stuck for periods ranging from several months to over two years.


Arkham Intelligence found that millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies are unclaimed in various bridge contracts.
Several notable whale addresses, linked to prominent crypto individuals and entities, have funds stuck in these bridge contracts for up to two years.
A wallet linked to Vitalik Buterin has over $1 million worth of assets stuck in the Optimism bridge for over seven months.
Other affected entities include Bofur Capital, NFT user Mike Macdonald, and a wallet linked to Coinbase.
Unlike cross-chain bridges, native bridges require users to manually retrieve their funds, leading to situations where users forget about their assets.


DeFi bridge contracts are essential components of the ecosystem, enabling the movement of assets and data between different blockchain networks and facilitating interoperability.

Ledger Nano X - The secure hardware wallet

However, not all bridges function in the same manner. While cross-chain bridges automatically transfer users’ assets to the target chain, native bridges require manual retrieval of funds. This difference in operation has led to a situation where users have forgotten about their assets, leaving them stuck in these contracts.

Among the most notable cases identified by Arkham is a wallet linked to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. This wallet, which received 50 Ether (ETH) from Buterin himself, has had over $1 million worth of assets trapped in the Optimism bridge for more than seven months.

Although this amount represents only a small fraction of Buterin’s estimated $789 million cryptocurrency portfolio, it highlights the scale of the issue at hand.

Other prominent entities affected by this phenomenon include Bofur Capital, potentially related to a Celsius creditor, which has $1.8 million in wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) stuck in the Arbitrum bridge for 27 months.

An NFT user identified as Mike Macdonald also appears to have forgotten about claiming around $117,000 in assets linked to CryptoPunks sales on a bridge contract.

The list of affected wallets extends beyond these high-profile cases. Arkham has identified dozens of accounts with six to seven-figure sums stuck in bridge contracts, forgotten by their owners.

One such example is a wallet with the ENS name thomasg.eth, which has left approximately $800,000 in the Arbitrum bridge for nearly two years.

Even major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase seems to have fallen victim to this trend. Arkham reported that Coinbase attempted to bridge $75,000 in USD Coin (USDC) to Ethereum via the Optimism bridge six months ago, but the funds remain unclaimed on Ethereum’s base layer.

While it is possible that some wallet owners have intentionally parked their funds in these bridge contracts, the sheer scale and duration of the unclaimed assets suggest that many users have simply forgotten about them.

Arkham has urged all individuals and entities involved to revisit their transaction histories and bridge activities to ensure that all assets are accounted for.

The firm has taken the step of notifying the owners of the identified wallets, reminding them of the potential millions of dollars they may have misplaced.

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