CLUE: Towards discovering locked cryptocurrencies in ethereum

Xiaoqi Li, Ting Chen, Xiapu Luo, Chenxu Wang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


As the most popular blockchain that supports smart contracts, there are already more than 296 thousand kinds of cryptocurrencies built on Ethereum. However, not all cryptocurrencies can be controlled by users. For example, some money is permanently locked in wallets' accounts due to attacks. In this paper, we conduct the first systematic investigation on locked cryptocurrencies in Ethereum. In particular, we define three categories of accounts with locked cryptocurrencies and develop a novel tool named Clue to discover them. Results show that there are more than 216 million dollars value of cryptocurrencies locked in Ethereum. We also analyze the reasons (i.e., attacks/behaviors) why cryptocurrencies are locked. Because the locked cryptocurrencies can never be controlled by users, avoid interacting with the accounts discovered by Clue and repeating the same mistakes again can help users to save money.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 36th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, SAC 2021
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781450381048
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2021
Event36th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, SAC 2021 - Virtual, Online, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 22 Mar 202126 Mar 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Symposium on Applied Computing


Conference36th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, SAC 2021
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
CityVirtual, Online


  • cryptocurrency
  • distributed system security
  • ethereum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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