Stefan Thomas is a San Francisco-based computer programmer who owns 7,002 Bitcoin valued at $ 220 million (just over 180 million euros). The problem is you can’t get them back because forgot your password in your virtual portfolio. As the programmer explained in an interview with The New York Times, the problem is that years ago he lost the paper where he had written the IronKey password. The system offers 10 opportunities before blocking and encrypting your content forever. Thomas has spent 8 of these attempts: he has used his most frequent password formulas, to no avail, and confesses that he is desperate.
The structure that underpins Bitcoin is completely relocated. It consists of a network of computers with certain programs installed that work constantly. These, in turn, create unique and private addresses and keys that not only access the account balance, but are needed to make purchases or transfers. Technology is, in this case, responsible for protecting transactions and funds.
The situation Thomas is going through is unthinkable on a traditional bench, because it is always possible to get a new password if you forgot the previous one. But Bitcoin does not have a company that stores passwords or can provide a new one. The ‘software’ is based on a complex algorithm that creates an address and the associated private key is known only to the person who created the portfolio. So if you forget your password, as in the case of Thomas, you lose everything. The system is not able to resolve whether it is the person or an intruder who is trying to access, due to the anonymity with which it protects investors.
Thomas acquired Bitcoin in 2011. At the time, its balance was barely worth 5,000 euros. But after the popularization of this virtual currency, 10 years later, its bitcoins are worth 44,000% more. So its 7,002 Bitcoin are worth about $ 220 million. This is more than 180 million euros. All about to get lost for not remembering an access key.