Bitcoin owner about to lose $220 million

Bitcoin owner about to lose $220 million

A crypto gift from ten years ago has turned into a nightmare for one computer programmer

A little more than ten years ago, computer programmer Stefan Thomas was asked to make a video about cryptocurrency. In return, he was offered 7,002 Bitcoin (BTC), which, at that time, was only worth around $560. That was also well before crypto started to be taken as seriously as it would be in 2017, when the price jumped to $20,000, and perhaps Thomas didn’t pay as much interest in his gift as he should have. He received the key to access the BTC in an IronKey hard drive, which is virtually impenetrable without the password. Today, with close to $220 million locked away on that drive, Thomas can’t remember the password and he’s running out of time.

IronKey is a small hard drive that uses special programming to render it completely useless if the correct password isn’t entered within ten tries. Thomas, despite undoubtedly understanding the need to properly store and manage computer passwords, opted to keep the key on a piece of paper that has since vanished. He has reportedly already tried to access the drive by guessing the password but, after eight attempts, hasn’t gotten any closer. He now only has two more tries available before the IronKey essentially self-destructs.

Thomas told the New York Times, “I would just lay in bed and think about it. Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn’t work, and I would be desperate again.”

Surprisingly enough, Thomas isn’t alone. According to Chainalysis, around 20% of all BTC in existence today is locked away somewhere in wallets that have either been lost or forgotten. That means, with 18.5 million BTC in circulation, that around 3.7 million are floating around, unclaimed. Roughly converting at today’s rate, that would equate to around $125 billion.

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