It’s common to forget your password and even go as far as requesting to change it before gaining access to various websites. Cryptocurrency digital wallets are however more secure and failure to get your digital key can result in the loss of bitcoin.
Programmer Stefan Thomas has found himself in a similar situation. He has lost the password to a hard drive containing $240 million (26 billion)worth of bitcoin and now his plight has gone viral after he tweeted offering a reward for anyone who could assist him.
“Um, for $220m in locked-up Bitcoin, you don’t make 10 password guesses but take it to professionals to buy 20 IronKeys and spend six months finding a side channel or uncapping.
“I’ll make it happen for 10%.
Um, for $220M in locked-up Bitcoin, you don't make 10 password guesses but take it to professionals to buy 20 IronKeys and spend six months finding a side-channel or uncapping.
I'll make it happen for 10%. Call me. https://t.co/dTumE8Cw65
— Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) January 12, 2021
The programmer has only two guesses left to unlock the Ironkey that contains the private keys for his digital wallet.
Mr. Thomas has 7,002 bitcoin which he was given as payment for a job he did more than a decade ago. The job entailed making a video explaining to users how cryptocurrencies work. He was then paid in bitcoin, which at the time was worth just a few dollars.
He stored the Bitcoin on an Ironkey digital wallet and wrote the password on a piece of paper which he has since lost.
Over the years, the volatile Bitcoin has surged in value and currently, one bitcoin is worth $34,000.
Mr. Thomas is facing the possibility of losing it all since the password is set to encrypt itself after 10 failed attempts. This will then make it impossible to access.
According to cryptocurrency-data company Chainanalysis, about $140 billion (Sh15 trillion) worth of bitcoin is lost as their users cannot access it. Businesses helping to retrieve lost bitcoin reportedly get multiple requests daily.
Mr. Thomas will not be the first person to lose his bitcoin, if he does, as other exceptional cases have been documented.
The New York Times tells the story of a man who lost about 800 bitcoin after his colleague reformatted his laptop, resulting in the loss of the private keys for his wallet.
In 2013, a Welsh man also searched desperately after throwing away his computer hard drive with 7,500 bitcoin worth $5.5 million at the time (Sh605 million)