Etherscan, a widely used blockchain explorer interface, has made an update to its system to combat address poisoning scams. The update will now hide zero-value token transfers by default due to the rise in phishing attempts involving address poisoning.
Address poisoning is a scheme where attackers send near-zero or zero-value tokens to a victim’s wallet address to “poison” their transaction history. The aim is to deceive users into sending valuable cryptocurrencies to the attacker’s wallet address by mistake.
While the unwanted tokens or addresses cannot directly harm a user’s funds, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can compromise an address through interactions. To reduce the risks of address poisoning, it is recommended that users avoid getting deposit or destination addresses from their transaction history and carefully verify every character of the intended recipient’s address.
Etherscan’s update means that token transfers without any value will no longer be displayed by default, but users can still manually enable this option in the blockchain explorer’s settings. Etherscan has acknowledged the challenges in addressing scams and attacks, calling it “an infinite cat-and-mouse game.” In a recent study conducted by Coinbase, zero-value token transfers resulted in a loss of USD 19 million from victims’ wallets between late November 2022 and February 13, 2023.
Overall, this update by Etherscan is a step towards enhancing security and privacy for users of their blockchain explorer interface. While it may require some adjustments for users who frequently view zero-value transfers, the benefits of this update in reducing the risk of address poisoning attacks far outweigh the inconvenience. It is crucial to maintain a robust crypto ecosystem, and blockchain explorers play a significant role in achieving this goal.