There aren’t many good ways to lose $ 220 million, but this New York Times The article highlights one particularly glaring problem: losing millions of dollars in bitcoin because you forgot your digital wallet password.
Stefan Thomas’ 7,002 bitcoins (worth around $ 220 million) are locked in an IronKey hard drive, according to NOWIt’s Nathaniel Popper. The problem is, he doesn’t remember the password, and it’s just two failed password attempts nearly losing them forever due to IronKey’s strict security protocols. There is the ability to pay someone to break the drive, but Thomas should have the time and the money to make it happen.
It’s a dark, comedic storyline, and Popper’s story touches all of the cryptocurrency classics to help explain it. Mention is made of the volatile nature of bitcoin’s value and the currency’s mysterious creator, but the article makes it clear how common bitcoin loss is.
Two other people are singled out in Thomas’ story of doom, but it’s a surprisingly common story. Of the 18.5 million bitcoin currently in existence, around 20% (roughly $ 140 billion) is lost in inaccessible wallets, Popper writes.
There have been other high value wallets locked in the past, with contents ranging from $ 30,000 to $ 300,000, but Thomas’ story is a reminder of how persistent this problem is among Bitcoin users and how badly it has become expensive. The secure and decentralized nature of bitcoin is great – until it comes up against a simple human oversight.
You can read the whole story here and appreciate how well schadenfreude bitcoin continues to generate.