Smart contract exploit leads to theft of over 200 ETH subscriptions.

Smart contract exploit leads to theft of over 200 ETH subscriptions.

The Ethscriptions Marketplace Hack: An Unfortunate Setback for Blockchain Innovation

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According to its creator, a new protocol allowing the creation and sharing of digital objects on Ethereum has experienced a significant setback due to a major hack in its main marketplace. Ethscriptions, launched last month by Tom Lehman, co-founder and former CEO of, was designed to utilize transaction “calldata” to write non-financial data to the blockchain network. However, a flaw in the code allowed for unauthorized withdrawals of Ethscriptions, resulting in the loss of around 202 Ethscriptions from 123 individual addresses.

Understanding the Exploit

The exploit in the Ethscriptions marketplace was attributed to a smart contract developed by Lehman and Michael Hirsch, co-founder of Indelible Labs. The flaw originated from a code snippet that enabled the unauthorized withdrawal of Ethscriptions from the marketplace. While the Ethscriptions protocol and other related applications remain uncompromised, many listings on were reported stolen.

The exact value lost due to the exploit is uncertain, but recent data from NFT marketplace OpenSea reveals that certain Ethscriptions were sold for as much as 5 Ethereum (approximately $9,600) over the past month. This highlights the significant impact of the hack on the marketplace and its users.

Lehman’s Response and Plans for Relaunch

Lehman took responsibility for the failure and expressed his dismay over the loss of Ethscriptions. He described the theft of Ethscription #56, in particular, as “brutal” due to its rarity among earlier artifacts. The exploit also carries an added sting as it was intended to serve as a guiding example for other marketplaces seeking to incorporate Ethscriptions support.

Despite the setback, Lehman remains committed to the Ethscriptions protocol and plans to relaunch the marketplace once the necessary protocol adjustments have been implemented. He has been actively communicating with those affected by the exploit and has admired them as the “earliest adopters” of the Ethscriptions protocol on Twitter.

Lessons Learned and Future Improvements

The Ethscriptions marketplace hack has highlighted the challenges of balancing cost-saving measures and managing smart contracts in marketplace scenarios. Lehman acknowledged the need for strategic management of contracts and the importance of providing smart contracts with necessary information or ensuring their independent operation.

Lehman believes that this experience will lead to a much healthier ecosystem in the long term, as it has changed his perspective on how marketplaces can implement the protocol. By learning from this setback, he hopes to create a more robust and secure marketplace for Ethscriptions.

In conclusion, the hack in the Ethscriptions marketplace serves as a reminder of the risks associated with blockchain technology and the need for continuous improvement in security measures. Despite the setback, Lehman’s determination to relaunch the marketplace and his ongoing communication with affected users demonstrate his commitment to the Ethscriptions protocol and the broader blockchain community. As the industry continues to evolve, such incidents will shape the development of more resilient and secure blockchain applications.