Ad ID: 2383
Added: May 23, 2021
- Stefan Thomas holds an estimated $220 million worth of Bitcoin in one digital wallet but can’t remember his password
- He was gifted the 7,002 Bitcoin in 2011 but lost the password that same year
- The software used to create Bitcoin means that only the user has access to the password, with an IronKey system giving them ten attempts to get it right
- Thomas has only two password attempts remaining before the system will shut off his digital wallet forever and encrypt the Bitcoin files
- Thomas watched as the value of the cryptocurrency doubled in the last month
- There is currently an estimated $140billion in Bitcoin trapped in similar digital wallets where the users have forgotten their password or left it stranded
A computer programmer is locked out of a digital wallet containing an estimated $220 million worth of Bitcoin with only two chances left to figure out his password before its contents are encrypted and placed out of reach forever.
German-born Stefan Thomas, who now lives in San Francisco, told the New York Times that he was gifted 7,002 Bitcoins by an early cryptocurrency fanatic in 2011 after creating a ‘What is Bitcoin?’ explainer video.
Yet the same year, he lost his password – known as a digital key – to the online wallet and despite trying all his regular combinations, he has remained locked out as the price of the cryptocurrency has soared in the past month.
‘I would just lay in bed and think about it,’ Thomas told the Times. ‘Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn’t work, and I would be desperate again.’
While Thomas has kept hold of Bitcoin in other wallets that have already made him rich, he still joins the many cryptocurrency holders who have lost the chance at adding to their wealth – all because they cannot remember their passwords.
They have been forced to watch on as other people cash in, while their own fund lies behind an IronKey, a system which gives users only ten password attempts before it automatically encrypts everything inside.
According to the New York Times, 18.5 million Bitcoin, which could currently be worth about $140 billion, are currently being held in lost or stranded wallets.
The value of Bitcoin has doubled in the past month, as pictured above
The software used to create Bitcoin means that only the user knows the password and if they forget it, there is no back up to help them gain access to their cryptocurrency
As the value of Bitcoin has risen dramatically in the past month Wallet Recovery Services, which tries to help users recover their lost digital keys, is now receiving three times the number of daily requests.
It says they now have up to 70 people a day placing requests for aid in recovering their Bitcoin riches.
‘Through the years I would say I have spent hundreds of hours trying to get back into these wallets,’ Brad Yasar told the Times.
The entrepreneur says he has a few desktop computers that contain thousands of Bitcoin he created or mined almost a decade ago.
Unable to remember his passwords, he has since placed the hard drives that contain the bitcoin in vacuum-sealed bags that he keeps out of his sight.