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Author Topic: USDT stupidly sent to BTC wallet  (Read 3490 times)
foolhardyone
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January 21, 2016, 06:30:18 AM
 #1

I just started trading bitcoins and altcoins last week. Tuesday, I made the dumb mistake of trying to send USDTs (tethers) from Poloniex to my Coinbase BTC wallet. I sent about 123 USDT.

Poloniex confirmed the transaction, but I ended up receiving .0000273 bitcoins (.01 USDT) in my Coinbase wallet.

I don't understand why this bitcoin transaction even occurred, since I didn't send any bitcoins, only USDT.

Are the USDTs destroyed? Or did Coinbase keep them and give me this minuscule amount of bitcoins instead?

Poloniex told me to talk to Coinbase, and the person who responded from Coinbase didn't make any sense. He didn't know what USDTs are, (he thought I was complaining about the price of bitcoin changing...) and they have not replied to my follow-up queries.

I don't expect to get the money back at this point, but if someone can confirm it is lost, I would appreciate it.

Also, why would Coinbase deposit this tiny amount of bitcoins into my BTC wallet following a failed USDT transaction?

A moderator in the Poloniex chat box said that the transaction should have been rejected from the start, since the deposit address should have been recognized as non-USDT. Is that true? Poloniex support will not discuss the issue.

This is the hash:

b14b84d3cc041520ea01c0ef469b0bff838a898a0629a64d722e44d4e4c59b3e

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Hazard
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January 22, 2016, 09:58:49 PM
 #2

When an exchange validates an address, all they're really doing is checking the first character and the last few (the checksum). I couldn't find the source code anywhere, but USDT likely uses the same starting character (1) as bitcoin, so a bitcoin address is technically a valid USDT address, and vice versa. That's why the transaction went through.

In this case, coinbase currently holds the private key to your USDT. You'd have to get them to disclose to you the private key to the deposit address, then just import that key into the USDT client and voila, you have your coins back. However, their policy is to not disclose private keys, for various reasons relating to how their deposit system works.

You could push for them to hand over the key and retire the address, but I doubt you'd get anywhere with that. You'd have to go very far up the chain before you get to anyone who has private key access. I'd probably just chalk it up as a loss given the small value of it.

foolhardyone
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January 25, 2016, 06:27:23 AM
 #3

Thanks for the response.

I finally got a reply from Coinbase, if you're interested in exactly what they told me:

"...the specific private keys associated with an address are not physically available to any single person. It would take a massive effort and some very large engineering resources just to access a specific key, not to mention the inherent security risks involved."
monsterer
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January 25, 2016, 09:37:13 AM
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USDT uses the bitcoin blockchain to store tokens which is why that was possible in the first place, so your bitcoin private key holds the funds, but you can't (easily) send USDT with bitcoin, and neither can coinbase.
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