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Coinbase launches tool to recover ‘mistakenly sent’ ERC-20 tokens

Major cryptocurrency platform Coinbase has offered an asset recovery tool for users who “mistakenly send unsupported tokens” to exchange addresses.

In a Dec. 15 announcement, Coinbase said users who sent any of roughly 4,000 ERC-20 tokens to a Coinbase address could recover their previously unrecoverable funds by providing “the Ethereum TXID for the transaction where the asset was lost and the contract address of the lost asset.” The exchange said certain ETC-20 tokens including Wrapped Ether (wETH), TrueUSD (TUSD), and staked Ether (STETH) would be eligible for recovery, with a 5% charge on transactions of more than $100.

“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.”

Many users have been dealing with mistakenly sent funds since almost the beginning of the crypto space. In a 2018 case in Canada, a court ruled that a user who received 530 Ether (ETH) instead of 530 Copytrack (CPY) tokens — now defunct — was required to return them. An Australian judge made a similar ruling for a case in which Crypto.com mistakenly sent $10.5 million to a user instead of a $100 refund.

Other major exchanges seem to offer recovery for similar transactions on a case-by-case basis. Binance said on its support pages that it may choose to assist users “solely at its discretion” and largely “does not offer a token/coin recovery service.” Crypto.com instructed users to contact its customer service department, adding “fund retrieval may not be possible in some cases.”

Related: Blockchain enthusiast allegedly loses $500K by sending wETH to contract address

Coinbase has more more than 100 million users globally. CEO Brian Armstrong reported in December that the exchange’s trading revenue for 2022 was projected to be “roughly half” that of 2021. The platform also reported that law enforcement agencies had increased requests for information related to criminal investigations.