Like any investment, one of the risks when investing in a cryptocurrency is seeing your capital go up in smoke. The British Financial Conduct Authority reminded us a few days ago : “If consumers invest in these types of products, they must be prepared to waste all of their money.If the risk is real, Stephan Thomas, a German programmer, is faced with a completely different problem: the man forgot the password that would allow him to access 7002 bitcoins … nearly 200 million euros!
Stefan Thomas’ story begins about ten years ago. He then receives 7,002 bitcoins for making a video on how cryptocurrencies work. At the time, the value of a bitcoin was barely $ 5. But since the bitcoin boom of the past few years, records have been linked. Today, Bitcoin’s price now reaches $ 36,000.
The problem is that the programmer can no longer recover his Bitcoins today. To keep them in a safe place, he had invested in a “digital wallet”, a kind of small hard drive that can store various cryptocurrencies securely. Access to the wallet is protected by a password: after 10 unsuccessful attempts, the hard disk encrypts the data and the data is therefore lost forever. Written on a sheet of paper, the password has since not been found. A puzzle for Stefan Thomas who has since tried several of his most used passwords in vain.
“I lay in my bed and I thought about it“the programmer told New York Times. “Then I would go to the computer with a new strategy, and it didn’t work, and I was desperate again “. He only has two chances left to enter the correct password. After that, the data will be lost forever and with it his potential fortune.
A common case
According to the crypto-data company Chainalysis, around 20% of existing bitcoins are in lost or blocked wallets. This represents almost $ 140 billion.
Following his mishap, Stefan Thomas assured that he no longer wanted to use cryptocurrencies. “This whole idea of being your own bank, let me put it this way: do you make your own shoes? ” he told the New York Times. “The reason we have banks is that we don’t want to deal with all these things that banks do“.
“I hope others can learn from my mistakes. Regularly test your backups to make sure they are still working. An ounce of forethought could have avoided a decade of regrets“, he declared on Twitter.