In recent years, the soaring price of Bitcoin has made many holders rich overnight, including a programmer from the United States. Embarrassingly, the lucky man who holds $200 million worth of Bitcoin can’t remember the withdrawal password.
What’s worse, if he enters the wrong password twice more times, the huge amount of money will be permanently sealed by the system and can no longer be taken out.
On January 12, the New York Times published a report about the “lucky lucky man”. The Bitcoin holder is Stephen Thomas, born in Germany and currently serves as a programmer in San Francisco, USA.
Many years ago, Thomas came into contact with the new concept of cryptocurrency, and as a programmer, he has been fascinated by various things related to Bitcoin.
In 2011, when he settled in Switzerland, he made a set of animations introducing Bitcoin. This popular science video was loved by a large number of netizens because of its in-depth and simple content.
A netizen who was also obsessed with Bitcoin gave Thomas 7002 bitcoins. In addition to surprise, Thomas deposited Bitcoin in the electronic wallet. In order to keep it secret, he saved the login password of the electronic wallet into an encrypted hard disk.
In recent years, the transaction price of Bitcoin has been soaring. On January 9 this year, the price of a single Bitcoin transaction rose to about $40,700, a record high in its price. T
homas holds the 7002 bitcoins, which is already as high as $200 million based on the current market price this week. Embarrassingly, Thomas accidentally lost the note with the password of the encrypted hard disk.
The encrypted hard disk used by Thomas is extremely secure. If you enter the wrong password 10 times in a row, the hard disk will be permanently encrypted and will no longer be opened. Because most cryptocurrencies on the market are “decentralization” design ideas at present, this means that Thomas cannot go to the staff to help him find the money in the account like losing his bank account password.
To make matters worse, Thomas has used up eight of these opportunities. If he enters the wrong password twice more times, the huge amount of money will “get away from him” forever.
Thomas had no choice but to say that he would always lie in bed and keep thinking about the password. As soon as he walked to the computer, he couldn’t help trying various decoding strategies, but he was always very depressed because of his inability. In order to return to normal life, he even put the encrypted hard disk in a security facility far from his sight, forcing himself not to think about it.
Under such suffering, Thomas also became suspicious of Bitcoin, which he was once very obsessed with. Part of the reason why he was crazy about this cryptocurrency at the beginning was that he felt that the currency was not under the control of the government, enterprises and banks in issuance and circulation.
It was not only convenient and safe to deal, but also saved various fees. But this encounter made Thomas begin to reflect on whether the idea of “manage your own money” is feasible?
Regarding the concept of cryptocurrencies bypassing banks and institutions, Thomas told the New York Times that traditional banks exist probably because “people don’t want to deal with all kinds of things that banks have to deal with every day”.
Judging from various reports, there are not a few ” careless people” like Thomas. According to the estimates of blockchain analysis company Chainalysis, by the end of 2017, about 17% to 23%, equivalent to 2.78 million to 3.79 million bitcoins will never be used or withdrawn and circulated due to the loss of private keys, password forgetting, etc.
These lost bitcoins are currently large. It is worth about 140 billion US dollars.
The New York Times report mentions a “lucky” story. Gabriel Abed, 34, has been engaged in Bitcoin collection. In 2011, a careless operation by his colleagues caused the permanent loss of 800 bitcoins, which are currently worth 25 million US dollars.
Therefore, many companies that help various cryptocurrency holders recover passwords have also emerged. A company called Wallet Recovery Services said that it could receive 70 requests for password recovery services every day.
According to other reports, at present, providers of similar services will charge cash equivalent to the total price of the lost currency as a handling fee.
After Thomas mentioned his plight, Alex Stamos, a cyber security expert at Stanford Internet Watch Lab, tweeted that he could crack the password within six months, but he would be rewarded by charging 10% of the total Bitcoin.
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