The story of the man who lost a password and cannot recover $ 1 billion in bitcoin

Programmer Stefan Thomas saved the password to IronKey, which gives the owner 10 chances of access. He made eight attempts. Two left.

Programmer and entrepreneur Stefan Thomas earned 7,002 bitcoins in 2011 (about $ 7,000 at the time) as a reward for making the ' What is Bitcoin ' video , which usually introduces people to the cryptocurrency universe. He kept the assets in a wallet and the passwords on the wallet in a device called IronKey.

The problem, according to a report in The New York Times , is that years ago he ended up losing his password to access IronKey, which gives the owner 10 chances of access. Thomas has already made eight attempts, but was unsuccessful. Now two remain.

If you make a mistake, the programmer, who was Ripple's first CTO, will forever lose $ 236 million in bitcoins, equivalent to about R $ 1 billion in this Tuesday's quote (12) .

"I just lay in bed and thought about it," said Thomas. "So, I went to the computer with some new strategy, which didn't work, and then I went into despair," he told the American newspaper.

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The programmer, as is to be expected from someone in his situation, is irritated by one of the main ideas behind bitcoin, which is the notion that the person must be his own bank and therefore take care of his information, as a password .

“This whole idea of ​​being your own bank - let me put it that way. Do you make your own shoes? ”He said. "The reason we have banks is that we don't want to deal with all the things that banks do," he told the newspaper.

Programmer is not the only one

Other investors are in a similar situation to Thomas. The businessman Brad Yasar, from Los Angeles (USA), is one of them. He told The New York Times that he cannot recover millions in cryptocurrencies because he lost device passwords.

Gabriel Abed, 34, a businessman from Barbados, Central America, reported to the vehicle that he lost 800 bitcoins - about $ 25 million - when a colleague formatted, in 2011, a notebook that contained his wallet's private keys .

To the newspaper report, he said that despite the loss, he continued to work with cryptocurrencies and today has more money than the lost value. To avoid possible password missing in the future - and bitcoins - he said that he now keeps his IronKey in a secure facility.

Despair of investors and new business

According to a study by Chainalysis cited by the American newspaper, of the 18.5 million bitcoins on the market today, about 20% - US $ 140 billion - may be in lost portfolios.

This, according to the report, opened space for the emergence of companies that offer the private key location service.

Wallet Recovery Services, the company cited in the text, said it receives 70 requests per day from people who want support to recover passwords. The amount, the startup said for the story, is three times the number recorded in December 2020.


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