Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dark Forest, and Herman Melville

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dark Forest, and Herman Melville

Let us check the Bitcoin news. Recently, Ethereum popularized the concept of a blockchain ‘dark forest’. Furthermore, they popularized the existence of front-running bots. Those bots will copy any profitable transactions pending for submission.

The bots can assess if any given transaction that just entered the mempool can be replicated. They will immediately publish their copy with a much higher gas fee. Thus, it virtually guarantees that they will be the first to claim it. The term ‘dark forest’ comes from a sci-fi novel. There it indicates a place where detection is instant death. In our case, it means the case loss of funds.

That usually happens in Ethereum with public smart contracts that came in control of funds for some reason. Paradigm Capital’s Dan Robison demonstrated one such case with money mistakenly sent to a contract address. Also, those types of bots threw a wrench into Bancor’s vulnerability mitigation plan in June.


BTC (Bitcoin) does not have smart contracts to front-run. Nevertheless, BitMEX Research’s post highlights how a similar event occurs when one uses brain wallets.

A brain wallet is a term for a private key. That key is only stored as a memory in a person’s brain. Thus, it means that no physical backups exist. That approach is usually discouraged. To rely on a memory of a person to store a complex alphanumeric string is not ideal.

A potential solution for that is to create a wallet from an easy to remember the phrase. That is what analysts did.

They generated a seed phrase from extracts of famous literary works. The works included the Bitcoin whitepaper.

Unfortunately, the Bitcoin put into those wallets swept away even before the transaction to fund them was confirmed. That was the case with simple seed words like ‘Call me Ishmael”. The phrase is from Moby Dick of Herman Melville.

That is what current news about the Bitcoin.

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