I came across this when I made a typo checking my ETH balance from the ethconsole. I had incorrectly typed web3.eth.coinbase. I poked around and anything after web3.eth. that is a typo brought up a balance of 7088.445913801793117574.

I asked on Redit with the example of web3.eth.wololo and Nick Johnson posted to following response:

web3.eth.wololo evaluates to undefined, and web3.eth.getBalance apparently treats undefined the same as 0 - so you're seeing the balance of account 0.

So, back to the console. I have only 1 account and this is account 0. I will post my outputs below:

c:\>geth --cache=1204 -rpc --datadir "f:\Ethereum" account list

Account #0: {dd289578d8915156de085df3d03062335238a293} f:\Ethereum\keystore\UTC--2016-06-21T17-26-40.480551500Z--dd289578d8915156de085df3d03062335238a293

c:\>geth --cache=1204 -rpc --datadir "f:\Ethereum" --unlock 0xDD289578D8915156De085DF3d03062335238a293

!! Truncated !!

Unlocking account 0xDD289578D8915156De085DF3d03062335238a293 | Attempt 1/3 Passphrase:

I1010 00:30:37.012616 cmd/geth/accountcmd.go:189] Unlocked account dd289578d8915156de085df3d03062335238a293

!!! Eth Console !!!

web3.fromWei(web3.eth.getBalance(web3.eth.wololo), "ether")


web3.fromWei(web3.eth.getBalance(web3.eth.coinbase), "ether")


web3.eth.sendTransaction({from: web3.eth.wololo, to: '0xDD289578D8915156De085DF3d03062335238a293', value: web3.toWei(1, "ether"), gas:22000});

(shell):4334: Error: account is locked
throw errors.InvalidResponse(result);
Error: account is locked
at Object.module.exports.InvalidResponse ((shell):2103:16)
at RequestManager.send ((shell):4334:22)
at Method.send ((shell):4002:59)
at (shell):1:10
Error: Uncaught Error: account is locked


When Nick was talking about account 0, he did not mean web3.eth.accounts[0], he meant account "0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000".

> web3.fromWei(eth.getBalance("0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000"))

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