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This account (https://etherscan.io/address/0xffffad56580f616152cbb8ac362ccf49d4abc886) confuses me. How is it possible for an account to have a single outgoing transaction with no incoming transactions?

My first thought was that this account was given ether by some smart contract and that the incoming transaction would have been an internal transaction, but there doesn't appear to be such a thing. Plus the balance of the transaction is zero. Plus the one transactions seems to have gone through with zero gas cost.

Can someone explain this to me?

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The cost of the gas associated with a transaction is the "amount of gas the transaction consumed" multiplied by the "gas price".

The "amount of gas the transaction consumed" is determined by what OpCodes the transaction uses, and importantly even sending 0 ether to an address uses an OpCode and hence has a small amount of gas associated with it (in this case it was 21272 gas which can be seen in the transaction data on ether scan). The gas price is set by the person / contract initiating the transaction.

The minimum "gas price" that a miner will accept is set individually by the miners, and would generally by greater than 0. However in the beta version of parity (a popular Ethereum mining option) being used at this time (Nov 2016) it was allowed that miners are able to set a minimum gas price of 0.

Hence a whole bunch of these transactions with a 0 gas price were processed. As to who generated these transactions, and why, that is less clear. The only data in the transaction was "0xdeadbeef" which is an obscure "hexspeak" memory address.

These transactions were noticed at the time by the community and a more detailed discussion can be found: https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/5erhdu/is_something_sinister_going_on_here_an_expensive/

  • My question was how can a transaction be created with an account that has had no incoming transaction (assuming that it couldn't because there would have been no ether in it to pay for gas). So, what you're saying is that this account was created and then sent a single zero gas transaction with a value of zero ether. Is that what you're saying? It's odd, but it sort of makes sense (not that sending a single zero value, zero gas transaction make sense, just why it worked makes sense). – Thomas Jay Rush Mar 29 '17 at 21:10
  • That is what I'm saying. The only reason you'd need an incoming transaction is to fund an outgoing transaction, but since the outgoing tx cost 0, no incoming tx was needed. – Adam Dossa Mar 29 '17 at 21:46
  • Ar you willing to edit your answer? I don't think the long gitter thing helps with the explanation, plus your answer confusingly says that the gas was consumed (which is true), but there was no cost. If you say that more clearly, I'll accept your answer. – Thomas Jay Rush Mar 29 '17 at 21:49
  • I have cleaned it up a bit now to make it clearer. – Adam Dossa Mar 30 '17 at 11:57

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