Sitting on a multi-million dollar fortune, many homeowners bitcoins can no longer access their digital wallet because they can’t remember their password, says the New York Times in an article relayed by Capital. Without this sesame, impossible to recover the money. No need to rely on a “reset password” option: it does not exist for this type of account.
The bitcoin owner has ten attempts to unlock a small hard drive, called “IronKey”, which contains the private keys for the digital wallet. Once these attempts are exhausted, the contents of the account are encrypted forever.
Two attempts before losing everything
The American daily details the case of Stefan Thomas, a developer living in San Francisco who was among the first to invest in digital currency. He is said to have a wallet of 7,002 bitcoins, the equivalent of around $ 200 million (around € 180 million).
However, this American cannot remember his password which would unlock the IronKey. He has two more attempts to find him, otherwise he will lose everything.
Stefan Thomas has two guesses left to figure out a password that is worth about $220 million. He is one of the many people who are locked out of their Bitcoin fortunes, with an estimated $140 billion in lost or otherwise stranded digital wallets.https://t.co/thdHaixBq8
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 12, 2021
3.7 million bitcoins could be lost forever
His case is not unique. Of the 18.5 million bitcoins circulating in the world, around 20% could be linked to lost or blocked wallets, or 140 billion dollars (around 115 billion euros). The only solution for holders of these accounts is to trust crypto experts to find a way to bypass the protection, explains the New York Times.
Time is running out because the price of cryptocurrency shows disturbing signs. After peaking on Thursday January 7, the price of bitcoin plummeted by 20% on Monday, January 11, its largest drop since March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic caused panic in the markets.