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The programmer guessed two passwords before losing $ 266M in Bitcoin.

The San Francisco-born German programmer has made eight password attempts, out of 10, where he had to unlock a hard drive containing a private key to his Bitcoin wallet, which amounts to. 7,002 Bitcoin (BTC) At the time of the press release, those holdings would be worth $ 268 million, that is, if they were only accessible.

As noted in a New York Times profile on January 12, Stefan Thomas used a hard drive called IronKey, but made a paper where he wrote down the password for the device, missing “years ago” if Thomas didn’t remember. Yes, 10 failed guesses will cause the drive to encrypt the content forever. Until now, he had made eight guesses with no luck.


7;m going to lie in bed and think about it. Then I would go to the computer with a new strategy and it didn’t work and I would be desperate again. ”

Almost 20% of all existing Bitcoin – 18.5 million BTC – is thought to be wasted for the benefit of the so-called “stranded” wallet, according to Chainalysis. Thomas was not alone in his despair. Brad Yasar, a Los Angeles entrepreneur, told the Times that over the years “I would say it took me hundreds of hours” trying to get back into the wallet that was inaccessible.

Yasar keeps his hard drive. “In a vacuum sealed bag” so as not to let him “Be reminded every day that now what I have is a fraction of what I can have that I have lost.”

Both things are not uncommon: Wallet Recovery Service, a company specializing in recovering lost digital keys, is reportedly receiving 70 requests each day from customers asking for help. That figure was three times higher than before the bull market.

Apparently, Thomas’ experience led him to abandon the concept of technology that places the responsibility on individual users to manage their own finances with all the freedom and risk that they arise. Originally receiving 7,0002 BTC as a gift in exchange for video production to educate people about the currency, he is now skeptical to let users have control over that level:

“The whole idea of ​​being your own bank – let me think of it this way: do you make your own shoes? The reason we have a bank is that we don’t want to deal with all those things that banks do. ”

In addition to his extraordinary losses, Thomas still has enough Bitcoin to make money over the years.He was reportedly so rich that he barely knew what to do with it to transcribe the report. He later joined Ripple and acquired XRP, although the company’s recent legal issues could affect the future of the project.

The report notes that similar risks arise when users hand over their keys to third-party moderators, citing Mt.Gox and other industry crimes – but including data from those who believe cryptocurrency exchanges. Is worth it at the end of the day

A Barbados entrepreneur, despite losing 800 BTC in the past, claims that “own banking risks come with rewards that can freely access my money and be a citizen of the world”. He’s from a corner of the world where financial inclusion remains a problem, providing insight into why so many individuals might think the same way.