A San Francisco programmer has only two attempts left to guess the forgotten password for a Bitcoin fortune currently worth more than $ 200 million, according to the New York Times.
With the correct password, Stefan Thomas, a native of Germany, could access a hard drive that contained the keys to his digital Bitcoin wallet, where 7,002 Bitcoins are stored. According to the newspaper report, the German received them in 2011 as payment for a video about the digital currency when they were still worth a few euros each. But ten years later, a bitcoin equals about 30,000 euros.
According to him New York Times, the programmer left the bitcoins unattended for years and lost the paper on which he had written the hard drive password. He had already entered an incorrect password eight times; with the tenth failure the hard disk is encrypted forever.
A phenomenon that affects many
The programmer’s story is a particularly clear example of a phenomenon that affects many Bitcoin owners, according to the New York Times. According to an estimate by the company Chainalysis, about 20 percent of all bitcoins, that is, more than 100 billion euros, are in digital wallets whose owners lost their passwords. As no third party has access to the wallet, unlike a traditional bank, the money seems lost without the password.
Programmer Thomas posted the article about his story on Twitter on Tuesday, commenting: “A painful reminder. I hope others can learn from my mistakes.” A little more foresight would have saved him a decade of regret. It keeps the hard drive in a safe place, according to the article, waiting for the day when experts can find a way to crack complex passwords like yours.
FEW (dpa, The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel)