Noob mistake - Possibility of recovering WETH sent to ETH address?

Good evening,

I hope this is the correct forum - I’ve been trying to access the AAVE discord without success.

I am new with AAVE and stupidly sent WETH from Metamask to an ETH address associated with my Kraken account without first unwrapping it. I know this was dumb, I was too tired to realize I shouldn’t be doing money stuff while fatigued.

Kraken support does not reverse transactions made with wrong formats, so it’s currently the most expensive lesson I’ve ever had.

Thing is, I could really use the cash, so I’m grasping at straws while teaching myself a lot about smart contracts and transactions. Is there any hope at all of undoing my dumb mistake?

Here’s the details:

Any ideas/info, including pointers in the right direction if this isn’t the proper place to ask for help, hugely appreciated.

sorry to hear that but unfortunately nothing can be done here. Only Kraken as the receiver could do something in this case.

Ah, well that sucks. Kraken won’t do anything. Thanks for the reply though. At least I don’t seem to be the only person who’s ever made this mistake.

I have a few questions so I at least get something out of this, sorry if I’m horribly mangling this:

a) It’s my understanding that WETH is a sort of “wrapper” smart contract for ETH rather than a token in its own right. Is that correct?

b) could whoever holds the private key to the receiving wallet theoretically issue a smart contract to cancel the WETH wrapper for those 2.4ETH, or transfer it to another wallet?

c) is there a way for an ETH wallet that’s had WETH transferred to it (a colleague told me that the receiving wallet is some kind of proxy contract, which I still don’t entirely understand) to at some point support WETH as well? If that wrapper/contract were cancelled, what would happen to the ETH?

d) what actually “happens” to those tokens in the meantime? Are they just kind of stuck where they are until someone decides to do something about it, or is there any situation in which they just vanish?

Again sorry if these are really dumb, I’m still learning.

@jeffProgy Thank you - I’m trying to use the screwup as an opportunity to learn more about how smart contracts and WETH work. Can you point me in the direction of some key words to search for about what kind of “access” someone would need? It’s my wallet (at least I generated it via my kraken account and it’s linked to my account) but I don’t think they provide any possibility of unwrapping it. I realize this isn’t an AAVE problem per se, btw.

Hey @fuzzybunny, sorry to hear about the mistake. You are certainly not the first and only one who’s made this mistake.

  1. WETH is indeed a smart contract that wraps ETH. The wrapper is tokenizing ETH in the sense that it represents ETH, which is a native Ethereum token, according to a standard agreed upon by the community called ERC20.
    WETH is a token of it’s own right. In fact it’s as much a token as most of the tokens you’re probably familiar with - USDC, UNI, AAVE, etc. are all ERC20, that is tokens that abide with a certain protocol standard.
    WETH is a simple ERC20 that allows you deposit ETH, i.e. send ETH to the contract, and in return it mints wrapper tokens, WETH, in the same amount/value. If you ever want to withdraw ETH, you just call the function and the token burns the specified WETH and sends back ETH in return. This way the value of WETH is pegged with ETH. There’s always 1 ETH for every 1 WETH that’s being minted.

  2. Whoever holds the keys to the wallet can simply do anything with the sent WETH - they can transfer it back to some other address, withdraw it so it will convert to ETH, and so on.

  3. There’s no such thing as “supporting” a token. The way that WETH, and every other ERC20, is keeping track of all balances is by keeping a hash table that maps between 160 bit address ("wallet address) and their balance. This means that wallets do not hold the tokens anywhere, but rather the token(s) keeps track of balances of each address and allows certain actions only to the key holder of that address. I suggest that you read more about ERC20s and understand how they work. This is a great entry point to the world.

  4. Like i explained in my previous answer, they will not vanish. The token has a record that says “address X has a balance of Y WETH”. The code allows whoever has access to the private key of address X to make actions like withdraw, transfer, etc.

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Hi @Aqua99,

thank you for your reply - this is super helpful and exactly the kind of info I was looking for and a great starting point!

One last question - when you write “call the function and burn the specified WETH” - this can only be done by the person who owns the keys to the wallet, right?

Thanks again, really appreciate the patience with a slow learner :) (well, 2.4ETH worth of slow learner…)

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Generally yes.

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