Many of you may have experienced being left with a couple of password guesses before getting locked out of a system. Imagine the situation with $240 million of Bitcoin on the line. That is the situation Stefan Thomas is going through after he has lost the password to a hard drive containing 7,002 Bitcoin.
According to the New York Times, San Francisco based German programmer Stefan Thomas gains Bitcoin over a decade ago. At that time, they were worth only a few dollars for each Bitcoin. The person stored them in a digital wallet on his IronKey hard drive and noted down the password on a paper, which lost later. With a recent surge in the Bitcoin prices, that drive now has about $240 million of Bitcoin.
Before permanent encryption of the content, the IronKey allows ten incorrect passwords to the person. He already has failed eight of his attempts.
Thomas told the New York Times, “I would just lay in bed and think about it, Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn’t work, and I would be desperate again.”
To access the drive, many people have offered Thomas help, but for a price. Alex Stamos, former Facebook head of security tweeted, “Um, for $220M in locked-up Bitcoin, you don’t make 10 password guesses but take it to professionals to buy 20 IronKeys and spend six months finding a side-channel or uncapping.” Moreover, He said, “I’ll make it happen for 10%. Call me,” but later said this was a joke.
This isn’t the first time when someone losing millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin. James Howells, a British IT worker, mined 7,500 BTC – now worth over $250 million. He kept the private keys on a hard drive. In 2013, it was somehow thrown away.
As per estimates of Cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis, about 20% of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin, worth around $140 million, is stuck or loss in inaccessible wallets.
Such happening has soured the person’s opinion of cryptocurrencies. “This whole idea of being your own bank – let me put it this way, do you make your own shoes? The reason we have banks is that we don’t want to deal with all those things that banks do.”