Bitcoin owner has only two guesses left to unlock $220m in cryptocurrency

Cornelia Mascio
Gennaio 14, 2021

Alex Stamos, an internet security expert at Stanford Internet Observatory, said he believed he could crack the password within six months - in exchange for a 10 per cent cut of the digital fortune.

Over the years, the volatile Bitcoin has surged in value and now, one bitcoin is worth $34,000.

At this time, each bitcoin was worth around $5 per coin.

Stefan Thomas was paid 7,002 bitcoins for making a cryptocurrency explainer video ten years ago.

At the time, they were worth a few dollars each.

He wrote the password to that drive on a piece of paper that he ended up losing, and now his Bitcoin are worth $240 million and he can't remember what password he wrote down all those years ago.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the dilemma has put him off cryptocurrencies.

The IronKey allows users 10 guesses before it encrypts its contents forever.

"I would just lay in bed and think about it", Mr Thomas told the New York Times. "I'll make it happen for 10%. The reason we have banks is that we don't want to deal with all those things that banks do", Thomas said.

According to cryptocurrency-data company Chainanalysis, about $140 billion (Sh15 trillion) worth of bitcoin is lost as their users can not access it. Businesses helping to retrieve lost bitcoin reportedly get multiple requests daily.

Mr Thomas would not be the first potential Bitcoin millionaire to be locked out of their fortune.

The New York Times article also references an entrepreneur who lost about 800 bitcoins when a colleague reformatted a laptop containing the private keys to his wallet.

Many locked out owners have been forced to watch on, unable to cash in on their digital wealth, as the value of Bitcoin rapidly increased during the pandemic. He accidentally threw away the hard disk that contained the bitcoin private keys.

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