For days, a mystifying contract sending ETH around has been hoarding the gas on the Ethereum network, raising prices for all users. According to experts, the reason may be a clone of the FOMO3D game, an Ethereum lottery that has appeared in the past. FOMO3D is an online lottery with a jackpot, which creates the need to continuously buy keys in order to stand a chance to get away with the jackpot.
As of 4:30 UTC, the smart contract for the game, which looks like the real thing and not a test, was consuming around 34.5% of the gas. ETH transaction prices have calmed down a bit, though still at $0.39, up from a penny a few days ago.
“What we're seeing here looks like another clone of a known Ponzi scheme game. Analysing this smart contract's machine code, it has a very high resemblance to the FoMo3D short smart contract and its transactions seem to support it. FoMo3Dshort is a shorter version of the FoMo3D Ponzi scheme game where the last person who buys a "key" (i.e., sends a transaction) wins the pot.”
“So it naturally causes the participants to send transactions like crazy and extremely spamming the Ethereum network as the result,” said Leonid Beder, Head of Blockchain Engineering and Security @ Orbs, in an emailed statement for Cryptovest.
If this is indeed the game where the “exit scam” goes to the winner, the activity should stop suddenly when the jackpot is won. At the moment, an active game has reached a jackpot above $7.8 million, or around 21,737 ETH, somewhat similar to the balances in the contract that overloads the network.
At one point, the game enters an equilibrium state of constant activity, aiming to win the jackpot by being the last buyer. This may explain the constant sending of small amounts of ETH.
The new incarnation of the game comes at a time when general interest in crypto assets has dwindled, and the market price of ETH is at a low point resembling the levels of the summer of 2017. ETH slid to $362.84, but this has not hurt the interest in the game.
According to a research by the Huobi exchange, the activity on the latest game picked up around July 22.
“Because DApps are by nature open-sourced, the game design could be easily copied and modified. As such, the original Fomo3D game could easily lose its players to a duplicate game that grants higher reward. Oftentimes, this could be easily achieved by simply modifying certain parameters in the codes, such as limiting the countdown time or redesigning the pricing function for Keys, to shorten the length of each round,” wrote the Huobi team in a recent blog.
As the game continues, it becomes a matter of nerves and people giving up, until the last person purchases the last key. According to DappRadar, FOMO3D has around 1,100 live users now, but on more active days, they have reached 10,000 in 24 hours.