In Bitcoin’s early days, it wasn’t as popular and with massive value to it as is today. Few people got in the train earlier and have become multi-millionaires for “holding” their virtual coins.
A horror story published in the New York Times talks about one programmer who was an early adopter of bitcoin and currently owns 7,002 Bitcoin. That’s worth over $270 million as of today (1BTC = $38584.60).
The problem with Stefan Thomas, a German national is that he cannot access his fortune. The German programmer is, unfortunately, just two guesses away from unlocking or locking away his fortune.
His misfortunes began when he lost a paper that had his IronKey hard drive password. And to access his fortune, he must unlock his IronKey hard drive.
Typically, IronKey gives users 10 chances to guess the password to their vault and Thomas has already blown away 8 chances. With two chances left, Thomas told the publication, “I would just lay in bed and think about it.”
“Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn’t work, and I would be desperate again.”
Such horrific stories of bitcoin millionaires losing their fortune over lost passwords or private digital keys are not new.
Data from Chainalysis, a cryptocurrency company, estimates that around 20 per cent of existing 18.5 million Bitcoin seems to be lost or in stranded wallets. That’s over $140 billion worth of Bitcoin at the current price.
Losing private keys is awful, and firms like Wallet Recovery Services are cashing on the opportunity considering the increasing value of Bitcoin in recent years. The firm helps users recover their digital keys.