Bitcoin developers offer $10,000 virtual bounty to fix mystery Mac bug

Bitcoin developers offer $10,000 virtual bounty to fix mystery Mac bug

Summary: Bitcoin and Litecoin developers have teamed up to offer a big bounty for anyone that can fix a bug that's causing wallets to lose transaction data.

TOPICS: Security, Software

Price fluctuations and hackers aren't the only challenge facing the virtual currency Bitcoin, with developers pooling funds for a virtual bounty offered to anyone who can fix a bug they fear could hemper take up.

Bitcoin developers and their counterparts backing the younger, rival virtual currency Litecoin have thrown together a virtual bounty worth around $10,000 for anyone who can figure out what's causing a data corruption issue in certain Bitcoin and Litecoin wallets on Macs.

As some first noted several months ago, the introduction of the LevelDB key store database into the Bitcoin-qt client versions 0.8.x (currently at 0.8.5) coincided with a data corruption bug affecting Bitcoin users on Mac OS X machines.

The mystery bug impacts an important component of the wallet since LevelDB is used to store the Bitcoin blockchain, the public ledger of all transactions on the Bitcoin network. It's a pain for users because rebuilding the database can take hours. And since the issue is common to wallets on Mac OS X for both currencies, developers from each camp — who have yet to solve the problem themselves — are hoping to crowdsource an answer.

According to Warren Togami, a developer who contributes to both Bitcoin and Litecoin, the unusual step of offering a sizeable bounty has been taken because the bug is considered critical enough to stifle Bitcoin uptake.

"It is being jointly offered by Bitcoin Developers, the BitcoinTalk forum and Litecoin Developers and donations from the public," Togami told ZDNet.

"Bounties of this type are rarely offered. In this case it is happening due to the sense that the issue is critical enough to slow down adoption of Bitcoin."

Togami posted details of the bounty on the forum last week, noting that Gavin Andresen — a key developer who maintains the Bitcoin-qt client — had pledged five Bitcoin, roughly worth $4,000, to the bounty. In addition, BitcoinTalk has pledged four Bitcoin and public donations so far amount to one Bitcoin. Meanwhile, the Litecoin Developer Team has pledged 200 Litecoin. With Litecoin currently trading at around US$10 and Bitcoin trading at around $800, the total bounty is roughly worth $10,000.

The developers want answers to three main questions, including documentation on how to consistently reproduce the data corruption; an explanation for why it happens; and a fix that can be merged into the Bitcoin master file hosted on the Github core repository store.

Topics: Security, Software

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • I have the bug fix.

    It called cold hard cash (in God we trust all others pay cash )
    • Cash?

      Cash is printed from the federal reserve (which is a private institution) I have some cold hard news for your "Cold Hard Cash" as you put it. It isn't backed by anything other than trust. Gold or silver something with intrinsic value is much more valuable during a crisis. So do say that the Dollar is stronger than a digital currency is unsound. P.S. I made $2,300 in the bit coins i forgot i owned from 2 years ago. and since all the news. i've made a lot of cash investing in litecoins as well. today intact that price doubled.
      Brent Wiggins
  • The Two Sides to the Bitcoin

    A strong firewall is essential for the protection from hackers.
    Suzzane Lee
  • Oops

    and if you lose your bitcoin dollars, you are sol.
    • Oops

      and if you lose your US dollars, you are SOL ;)
  • Update - I have found the scammers.

    Originating from the websites CoinEX ( and http://cryptsy - forking the entire blockchain of the alt currencies in development. Hopefully you didn't speculate in any of these. You can send the bounty to (or simply donate if you'd like): 1BhH7nygWG2DTD88TbcHn38c4tmjR8DMve

    These guys should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. I have additional screenshots of supporting evidence.
  • Well, is nobody going to stop them?

    Or will you let the scam continue? NSA, intel, please TAKE DOWN these websites ASAP. Currency markets will fall until they are dealt with. BigVern @cryptsy Current know location: Project Investors Inc
    1300 NW 17th Ave Suite 152
    Delray Beach, FL 33445
    Name: Paul Vernon
    Accomplice: Unknown
    • Update: Cryptsy/CoinEx seem legit...

      Although the website is down at the moment. Keep in mind these markets are still entirely unregulated, therefore I would recommend not keeping all your eggs in one basket, and most definitely enable 2-factor authentication.
  • Buy The Coins Back Into The Wallet

    Just a suggestion - see if it works. Try buying something with a coin into another kind of wallet, then pass the coin back into the corrupted wallet. See if the problem still persists. It sounds like a incomplete block chain of some kind, and passing the coins around completes the chain. Just an idea. Thanks.