A computer programmer who jotted down the password to a cryptocurrency wallet on a piece of paper many years ago has since misplaced the said paper, and with its entrance to approximately $220 million in Bitcoin.
Can you wonder owning over $200 million and no chance ever to access it? That’s precisely the tale of San Francisco-based programmer Stefan Thomas, who has been struggling to recall the password of his IronKey, a specific hard-drive that holds the private keys to a digital wallet with 7,002 Bitcoin.
He got the digital currency 10 years ago, while residing in Switzerland, from an initial Bitcoin adopter, as currency for an animated video he created, named “What is Bitcoin?”. He forgot the password to his IronKey that very year, but at that time, a Bitcoin was only valued at around $5 back then. It didn’t worry him that much. Things have been different a bit since then, though.
“I would just lay in bed and wonder about it,” Mr. Thomas mentioned to The New York Times. “Then I happened to go to the computer with some latest strategy, and it wouldn’t show results, and I would be frustrated again.”
Over the past few years, Stefan has tried to guess the password he misplaced in 2011, but he has attempted eight times as of now, which only left him with two additional guesses before the IronKey being locked up permanently. In an attempt to get his mind free of his locked wealth, the IT specialist has placed the hard-drive in a secret safe facility until one day when a clever cryptographer shows up with a path to crack the IronKey.
“I reached a point where I told myself, ‘Let it be in the past, just for your personal mental health,’” he said.
If you happen to reside under a rock and have remained indifferent to cryptocurrencies’ success, Bitcoin achieved an all-time-high price of $41,962 at the beginning of this month. Despite a massive drop, it’s still positioned at an impressive $34,800 at the time of this report. That proves Thomas’ 7,002 Bitcoins pretty valuable.
Fatefully for the computer programmer, he still has sufficient Bitcoin, in wallets he does recall the passwords to, to buy anything he could ever want, so he is not frustrated to get his locked treasure cracked open. Still, his tale has gained quite a lot of limelight online over a previous couple of days, with certain people suggesting to help him reach his riches, for certain fees, and others showing their disbelief.
Curiously, cases like that of Stefan Thomas aren’t sporadic. In fact, cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis guesses that approximately 20 percent of the 18.5 million available Bitcoin happen to be either lost or locked in unreachable wallets. The core of the beast, I gather.
So glad I didn’t put money into this previously; who knows, maybe this could have been me…