Back in April, I was browsing Pastebin when I found the private key to an old ICX wallet with a value of $203,275.47 (0xa8015df1f65e1f53d491dc1ed35013031ad25034).
The problem? It was ERC-20 (more on this later). And it was obviously one of those scams where someone hooks up a bot to a leaked & empty ETH wallet with some altcoins with the intention of withdrawing ETH that someone else puts in to the wallet trying to pay the gas fees to withdraw the altcoins attached to the wallet.
The difference was, of course, that the bait for this scam was (superficially) much more ludicrous than usual. Usually, the amount of altcoins used in these scams is worth no more than $60. Of course, the wallet isn't worth $200,000--It's worth $0.
Back in 2018, ICX switched blockchains, and most exchanges automatically swapped their client's ICX to the new mainnet.
However, people who were holding their ICX in secure wallets like MetaMask had to manually swap their ERC-20 ICX to the new ICX. Missing this deadline meant losing your ICX.
By the time I had found the wallet, the official swap period was over. In fact, that's probably why the wallet was on Pastebin—The owner probably just wanted to recoup a fraction of their loss by stealing from wannabe thieves.
Exchanges no longer support ERC-20 ICX. No wallets have a "Swap" button next to the old ICX anymore. In fact, most wallets are broken & can't even display ERC-20 ICX.
After spending 11 hours reading Reddit posts, I was able to assemble the timeline.
- 2018: The swap begins. It's extended by 1 month before closing.
- 2018 - Late 2020: ICON team handles swaps for stragglers. Gas prices are high & transfers are slow.
- Limbo Period: All information on how to manually swap your ERC-20 ICX with the ICON team is wiped from the internet.
- Late 2020 - Early 2021: Announced that swaps will be opening up again, but only for the ICONFi platform.
And so it begun↑§
After coming to the conclusion that I was in tight competition to drain the wallet & that my only option was to go through the ICONFi platform & get the ICX without depositing any ETH whatsoever, I decided that my next move was to prepare for the public launch date of the ICONFi swap.
And in order to do that, I had to contact support.
I'll try to keep this as brief as possible, because you're probably getting a ton of messages like this:
I have a sum of ERC-20 ICX tied up in my ICONex wallet (I already know the private key).
I read in the r/helloicon FAQ that you'll be handling ERC-20 ICX to mainnet ICX swaps from now—So I'm emailing you to ask two questions:
- How will the swap work?
- How can I do the swap?
Looking forward to hearing from you,
The official swap period for the old ERC20 ICX tokens ended in 2018. However, in partnership with the Foundation, ICONFi has announced an upcoming token swap support.
Above is the announcement regarding the ICO token swap. Please stay tuned for more details - we will be announcing when the swap service is ready for public launch.
In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions about any of our other services, including flexible and fixed term savings products for BTC/ETH/USDT/USDC.
(I'm not really sure what I was expecting to come out of such blatantly obvious attempt at non-public information other than this boilerplate response.)
Oh, wait—Sorry to keep beating a dead horse, but is there anything I should do in preparation for the swap?
I know that a guide will be dropping on the launch day, but I'd just like to iron out any issues you're allowed to discuss with me.
For example, I'm a little confused by this paragraph:
"For every ETH wallet holding ICO Tokens, a corresponding ICON wallet exists that the owner can access using his/her private key (“PK”) of the ETH wallet. ICONFi will be dropping “IOU” tokens into the corresponding ICON wallets that can be exchanged with the native ICX via ICONFi. This service will be available 24/7, and there is no need to wait for a manual swap process." (Src)
So if I'm understanding this correctly, if I keep my ERC-20 ICX in my ICONex wallet like so—
(Note: Both wallets use the same private key)
—Once the swap opens up, the mainnet ICX address (circled in blue) will automagically receive a deposit overnight?
Or am I misinterpreting the situation?
I know I'm getting into extremely thorny territory, but I'll ask anyways, since these questions have been burning a hole into my soul:
- Will I have to somehow transfer my ERC-20 ICX into ICONFi to do the swap?
- If ICONFi is needed to do the swap, will KYC be required?
- Does "ICONFi will be dropping “IOU” tokens into the corresponding ICON wallets that can be exchanged with the native ICX via ICONFi" mean that the only way to get the mainnet ICX is through the ICONFi app?
Sorry for this barrage of tricky questions,
The old tokens cannot move - so it is still in a ETH address. All you would need is access to your PK for the ETH address which contained the old ERC-20 tokens which can no longer move.
Your private key for the ETH address has a matching ICON token address - you can do this by importing the PK for the ETH address into your ICONex. Based on your explanation it seems like you have done it already - if so, then you can leave it as is and wait for the guide to be published.
Regarding your other Qs:
- ERC20 tokens cannot move, as it was locked down by the entire smart contract. We are devising a more convenient way to make the swap happen.
- I’m afraid I do not have the answer to that yet.
- Yes correct.
I got more information than I was expecting, but it wasn't good news.
From browsing the r/helloicon subreddit and reading heresay along with reading the reply from support, I became 99% certain that KYC was going to be a requirement for the swap.
Additionally, I wasn't sure if I'd need to pay ETH gas fees to do the swap or to move the swapped ICX to my personal wallet, either.
This was bad.
But what was not speculation was the fact that the ICX ERC-20 address had an outgoing TXID that signalled that someone had already initiated the swap more than 2 years prior to my mucking about.
On 6/7/21, I got an email from ICONFi support telling me that ERC20 swaps were back. I immediately go to work, and 20 minutes later, my fears were confirmed.
In conclusion, those are 12 hours I'm never getting back.
Also, yes, the scam successfully tapped into my greed, but not my wallet--So that's probably a win.
I say "probably" because I'm never going to emotionally recover from this elaborate troll.