Has anyone made millions out of Bitcoin?
German programmer loses password for bitcoins worth 200 million
The German programmer Stefan Thomas forgot his password and therefore no access to 7,002 Bitcoins, reports the "NewYork Times". These would be worth around 200 million euros at the moment.
The example shows the risks associated with Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency deliberately evades all regulations of a company or a state.
The data analysis company Chainalysis estimates that 3.7 million of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoins are "lost", i.e. every fifth Bitcoin.
Actually, Stefan Thomas could have tens of millions of dollars. Actually. Because that's how much money his almost 7,000 Bitcoins would be worth due to the current stock market rally. But the German programmer, who lives in San Francisco, has forgotten the password, reports the "NewYork Times".
The password blocks access to a small hard drive called an IronKey. This holds the keys to the wallets that contain his 7,002 bitcoins. Bitcoin hit the headlines at its all-time high of more than $ 20,000 at the end of last year. Since the beginning of the year, the price has been more than $ 35,000. Converted, Thomas ‘Bitcoin would currently be worth around 200 million euros.
The programmer is desperately looking for his password
However, Thomas has lost the paper on which he wrote down the password years ago. Since then, he has tried his most popular password combinations eight times - and entered the wrong password eight times. The tenth time, his bitcoins are lost forever. "I'm just lying in bed and thinking about it," Thomas told the New York Times. "Then I go to the computer with a new strategy, it doesn't work and I'm desperate again."
The example shows the risks associated with Bitcoin. Traditional bank customers usually don't lose their fortune simply because they forget their PIN. But Bitcoin is a completely different system and deliberately defies all regulations of a company or a state. “The wallet password is an elementary building block in the Bitcoin architecture. Anyone who loses or forgets their password has automatically lost all their bitcoins, "warned Jan Bindig, CEO of data recovery specialist Datarecovery, at Business Insider at the beginning of 2018.
The data analysis company Chainalysis estimates that 3.7 million of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoins are "lost", i.e. every fifth Bitcoin. At the service provider Wallet Recovery Services, the requests for help are currently three times as high as a month ago, reports the "New York Times".
"I would say that over the years I've spent hundreds of hours getting back into these wallets"
Many of them are likely to have received the Bitcoins years ago or to have mined them themselves, in the early days of the cryptocurrency. You could be millionaires now. "I'd say I've spent hundreds of hours getting back into those wallets over the years," the newspaper quoted Brad Yasar, a Los Angeles entrepreneur. Yasar therefore owns thousands of bitcoins on several computers. But he too has lost the passwords for it - and now keeps the computer out of his sight so that he is no longer constantly reminded of his lost assets.
The German programmer Stefan Thomas got his 7,002 Bitcoins years ago in Switzerland from a Bitcoin fan because he had created the well-known YouTube video “What is Bitcoin?” In 2011. He still has enough accessible bitcoins and is rich enough that he doesn't know what to do with the money. But his problem with the password made him think. "This whole idea of being his own bank - let me put it this way: 'Do you make your own shoes?'" He told the New York Times. "The reason we have banks is because we don't want to be bothered with all of these things that banks do."
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