The state of Maine in the United States is looking into how best handle abandoned cryptocurrency accounts.
The Office of the Maine State Treasurer recently released a report, wherein State Treasurer Henry E.M. Beck said that the state is unprepared to handle abandoned or previously recovered cryptocurrencies and stressed the need to address the situation:
“Our office does not currently handle cryptocurrency, but programs like Unclaimed Property may need to start addressing the situation of abandoned cryptocurrency accounts.”
According to official data, the state of Maine currently holds over $328 million in unclaimed property. The website requires the name, address and property ID information of claimants searching for an unclaimed property.
The report also uncovered the state treasurer’s interest in implementing reforms for emerging issues regarding technology, automated clearing house payments and cryptocurrencies. It stated:
“While our current statutes and precedent elsewhere leave us without clear authority to hold our recovered crypto assets, we may want to do so in the future.”
The issue around unclaimed cryptocurrencies is also a phenomenon well-known across the Ethereum ecosystem. In the summer of 2014, 8,893 people participated in an Ether (ETH) presale event. However, nearly a decade later, millions of dollars in ETH lie unclaimed in those presale wallets.
Recently, Maine Wire reported that members of the Maine Democratic Party refused to return a donation of $100,000 they had received from Sam Bankman-Fried. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York demanded that political committees return the donations received from FTX after winning seven guilty verdicts in the FTX-SBF case.
In 2022, crypto exchange Coinbase launched a tool capable of recovering unsupported ERC-20 tokens that were “mistakenly sent” to the exchange’s address.
“Our recovery tool is able to move unsupported assets directly from your inbound address to your self-custodial wallet without exposing private keys at any point,” said Coinbase. “We did this by using patent-pending technology to send the funds directly from your inbound address without processing the funds through our centralized exchange infrastructure.”
The inability to recover the cryptocurrencies sent to unsupported wallets contributes to the ever-growing pile of unclaimed cryptocurrencies. Coinbase changes this by providing “the Ethereum TXID for the transaction where the asset was lost and the contract address of the lost asset,” which can then be used to recover the lost funds.