The public AirSwap ICO kicked off on Tuesday following a successful presale that raised $20 million for the ConenSys-backed startup’s decentralized token exchange. During the 23-hour event, investors could contribute up to 3.3 ETH, receiving a maximum of 3,300 AirSwap tokens (AST). Following the main event, AirSwap held a “L(AST) Chance Sale” that allowed contributors to purchase an uncapped number of the 11,900,000 AST left over from the main ICO.
During the uncapped sale, an investor attempted to send 1,700 ether— worth $574,000 at current exchange rates — to the AirSwap ICO, a sum that would have netted him or her 1.7 million AST. This investor paid about 237 ether — worth $70,000 at the time but $80,000 at present –to process the transaction.
Then, this investor fell prey to every ICO contributor’s worst nightmare: a failed transaction. When ethereum transactions fail — often due to an insufficient gas amount — senders do not lose any of the tokens they were attempting to send; however, they do forfeit the transaction fee, which in this case amounted to more than $80,000.
It is not immediately clear what caused the transaction to fail. The Etherscan block explorer reports that it received a “Bad instruction” error, which indicates a logical error during contract execution and may occur for several reasons, including attempting to participate in an ICO that has not yet started, has already ended or has reached its maximum contribution limit.
The transaction occurred at 2:24 PM UTC, approximately 5 minutes before AirSwap announced the token sale had ended. Because this investor was attempting to purchase such a large percentage of the tokens available, it is quite possible that there were too few tokens left to execute the purchase, causing the transaction to fail.
In any case, this incident should serve as a lesson to prospective ICO contributors to remain extra careful during all phases of the participation period, because mistakes can prove costly.This particular investor will have to be content with the 3,300 tokens he or she purchased during the main token sale.