Lost 7,500 Bitcoins accidentally!British programmers lose $260 million

A British programmer accidentally threw away the hard disk containing 7,500 Bitcoin private keys as trash, with an estimated value of about $260 million (calculated based on the current Bitcoin market value).

Anyone will die of pain if you change it. But what is even more painful is that the lost bitcoins may never be recovered because the British government does not allow it, indicating that it is illegal. In order to retrieve 7,500 bitcoins, he raised 7.4 million pounds and asked the government to allow him to dig a landfill, but he was still not allowed. According to foreign media reports, that garbage dump dumps nearly 5 tons of garbage every year. In other words, even if the government allows him to find it, he may not be found.

What kind of tragedy is this?

“True hand error” makes the person very regretful, very regretful

Coins are lost every year, but few are so miserable.

The protagonist of the story is called James Howells, and things start in 2009. In 2009, Howells used a computer to mine and deposited 7,500 bitcoins in a few years. Later, due to the modest increase in Bitcoin, mining stopped in 2013 and the computers for mining were also sold, leaving only the hard disk.

Coincidentally, in this year, the Howells family accidentally threw the hard disk into the trash during the cleaning, and at this time lost about 750,000 US dollars.

Ironically, at the same time Howells lost the hard drive, the price of Bitcoin began to soar, starting from around $100 in the summer. In 2017, Bitcoin reached an all-time high of $20,089. Compared with Howells lost, it is 200 times.

Howells might be able to remain calm when only $750,000 was lost, but when 7,500 bitcoins were worth $150 million, he couldn’t sit still. He teamed up with several “shareholders” and raised 7.4 million pounds, intending to send it to the local city government to obtain permission to excavate the dump.

Despite his repeated requests, the local government refused. The reason is that the excavation of waste landfills may cause serious environmental pollution and may also detonate dangerous gases.

To this day, 7,500 bitcoins are still sleeping under a garbage dump somewhere in the UK.

Today, the price of Bitcoin has soared. According to the latest data from Coindesk, Bitcoin once broke through $35,000 on January 6.

Netizens use physical objects as an example: The price of the Tesla Model 3, an upgraded version of Tesla’s standard battery life, is $33,690, which means that according to the current Bitcoin market value, one Bitcoin can buy a Tesla.

So there is no need to talk about how much money the brother lost.

Of course he is not alone in the uncle. In February last year, Irish drug dealer Collins decided to allocate his wealth to 12 new accounts because he was worried that hackers would hack into his Bitcoin account. The account information was printed on an A4 paper and hidden in a fishing rod box.

However, the valuable box was thrown into the landfill by the landlord during his sentence. Bitcoins with a total value of more than 59 million U.S. dollars are also in the garbage dump.

Is it possible to retrieve the lost bitcoins?

In addition to being accidentally thrown away, the bitcoins of various miners will disappear in other ways. Such as theft by hackers, the loss of payment on the trading platform, and the forgotten PIN code.

According to the Beijing Evening News, the blockchain analysis company Chainalysis issued a report in June 2020 that at least 3.7 million bitcoins have not flown for 5 years. Encrypted data company Glassnode estimates that about 3 million bitcoins will be lost forever.

What I am curious about is, in addition to the unrecoverable Bitcoin, is it possible to recover the strangely missing Bitcoin? The author asked several blockchain reporters, and the answer is yes, it can be retrieved in three ways.

One is to hire hackers. Many people use electronic devices to record personal keys, allowing hackers or data recovery companies to find the keys. For example, in 2016, Mark, the chief researcher of Blockchain Future Lab, hoarded 7.4 bitcoins at a unit price of US$3,000. On the advice of others, he put the bitcoins in the Trezor hardware wallet.

In order to protect the wallet, Mark wrote down the password in English on a piece of paper, which was later thrown away by the cleaning lady. So he found Trezor hardware wallet to help solve this problem, and the other party responded that there was a bug in the system that could not be recovered. There was really no way, Mark asked a hacker to fix the loophole, and finally recovered Bitcoin.

However, it should be noted that this method is very expensive, generally between 500 and 2,500 US dollars, but the success rate is more than 95%.

The second is brute force cracking.

When there is demand, there is market. If you lose your bitcoins and have no money to find a hacker, you can ask a service company for help. They can recover your password and repair damaged cryptocurrency wallets. The method is to use professional software to generate millions of potential passwords, and then test one by one to “brute force” the user’s wallet.

Or use various technical means to restore key files that have been deleted or damaged. Although the method has a high success rate, it also depends on the user’s hard drive damage.

The brute force cracking success rate is about 30%, and the price is not cheap, accounting for about 20% of the total recovered assets.

The third method is more “mysterious”: hypnosis.

In short, it is to ask a hypnotist to use hypnosis to evoke forgetful memories. According to the report, SC Greenville hypnotist Jason Miller hypnotized users to help remember the correct password.

Miller introduced that he accepts Bitcoin as the basic charge. The basic charge is 1 Bitcoin. If the healer can successfully retrieve the password and wallet digital assets, the additional charge is 5% of the total digital assets of the wallet. However, according to Miller’s statistics, the probability of recovering Bitcoin using hypnosis is only about 50%.

Of course, it is not always possible to get it back, and it still accounts for the majority. Therefore, if you are a friend of Bitcoin, you must make a backup of various key wallets, otherwise you may be the next time you pass by billionaires.

(This article is from Lei Feng Authorized to reprint; source of the first image:Flickr/Steve Garfield CC BY 2.0)

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