Starknet, a Layer 2 rollup solution to the Ethereum blockchain, found itself at the center of controversy after briefly blocking some users’ access to their wallets.
Users who still hadn’t upgraded their accounts to be compatible with the latest version of the blockchain’s smart contracts were effectively decommissioned, leaving them unable to access their funds.
“This is a network-specific change, not one that we control, unfortunately. According to StarkWare, the wallets that did not upgrade in time will lose their assets,” wrote Anastasiia Vukina, a customer support manager for Starknet browser wallet Argent, in a Discord message.
Apparently $550k lost.
A situation like this should never happen in the first place. Users should always be able to claim their own funds.
Not sure on the future of Stark. History never repeats itself, but it sure does rhyme.https://t.co/KB2kWIxuas
— belgio (@belg1o) August 30, 2023
Those affected by the upgrade were unable to access a cumulative $550,000 worth of funds, leading to an outcry from the crypto community, which took to X to voice their frustration.
“Doesn’t matter if people bother to open their wallet or not – these are bearer assets and there must not be a way for this to happen. If I can’t just bury wallet access and forget about it for a couple of years, the whole concept is worthless,” said X user “@poordart.”
After a significant amount of backlash, the team behind Starknet re-enabled the ability to upgrade accounts, allowing users to regain access to their wallets. The team also noted in a statement posted to X, that it might take another day until users of Starknet’s browser wallets Argent and Braavos can access their wallets due to technical reasons.
Starknet had an important version update last week: 0.12.1. Several months ago, in preparation for this update, Starknet users were asked to perform an essential upgrade to their account.
When 0.12.1 went live, accounts that were not upgraded, became temporarily inaccessible.…
— StarkWare (@StarkWareLtd) August 30, 2023
When one user asked why the network did not enable Merkle drop, which is a smart contract that contains a list of addresses which people can provide proof to and withdraw tokens to which they are entitled, Starknet’s ecosystem lead Louis Guthmann cited security risks associated with custom contracts.
“The main reason is that we preferred to have the same contract for all ERC20s. We didn’t want to make custom ones which could lead to security risks. Notice it is hard to get people to upgrade things. For the story, we closed and reopened already in March,” said Guthmann on X.