Bitcoin has been on a bit of a roll lately with it going over $30,000 (currently sitting at just over $36,000 as of this post writing). Proponents of Bitcoin have been saying for years that it will go over $100,000 so this recent hike has certainly caused interest in many. However, there is one man that has just two last chances to claim over $255,000,000 in Bitcoin – and if he guesses wrong, it is gone forever.
Two Last Chances to Claim $255 Million in Bitcoin
Stefan Thomas lives in San Francisco and has a problem that would drive most of us crazy. He has 7,002 bitcoins in a digital wallet (currently worth over $255 million) – but, he cannot remember his password to access the wallet.
The encryption key is on a special drive called IronKey. This is an encrypted flash drive that is used by many to hold their Bitcoin encryption keys since it is advertised as the most secure USB drive in the world, a perfect place to hold something of extreme value.
Thomas received the IronKey with the bitcoin encryption keys way back in 2011. At that point, bitcoin was worth as little as $2 each. He received the 7,002 bitcoin as a gift for making the animated video below about “What is Bitcoin?”
The problem is that most secure USB drive in the world – part of its security is that it gives you 10 shots at your password to access the drive before encrypting the drive and making it, basically, “lost data” forever. Stefan has made 8 guesses at the password that he forgot (he had it written down back in 2011 and lost the paper). He has just two last chances to guess the correct password before the $220 million in bitcoin is lost forever. It is on this drive that he would need to enter the one password to gain access to the key for his 7,002 bitcoin.
Stefan has moved the drive to a secure place for now so that he doesn’t drive himself crazy wanting to guess but knowing that it could just take away his treasure forever. So, he has it locked away from him so that he can maybe employ an expert in the future that could crack the password for him. While that would be a great help for him, it definitely would not make Kingston (the owner of IronKey) happy to have their secure drive cracked.
Stefan Thomas is not the only one with bitcoin just out of reach. Based on the data out there, it appears that there is (current value) over $180 billion in bitcoin that is in lost wallets as of now. Another $280 million of that belongs to a man in the UK who had accidentally thrown out his hard drive containing the encryption key to his fortune.
Source: NY Times