Those who own Bitcoin get rich the way the value of this cryptocurrency grows, and the question arises as to how many of those who lost their wealth after forgetting the passwords for their digital wallets.
Many were careless at first, since Bitcoin was not worth much, and they did not care where and how they store passwords.
Among them is Stefan Thomas, a programmer from Germany, who these days is trying to remember the password that keeps cryptocurrencies worth about 220 million dollars.
With the help of a lost password, he could unlock a hard drive, also known as IronKey, which keeps the private keys for a digital wallet containing 7,002 Bitcoins.
Thomas lost a piece of paper on which the password was written a few years ago.
There are a total of ten attempts before the wallet is locked forever, and he has tried eight so far.
This is not the only case, as many have locked their Bitcoin treasures behind forgotten passwords.
It is estimated that about 20% of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoins are locked, and the current value of that amount is about 140 billion dollars.
Wallet Recovery Services, a company that helps recover lost keys to digital wallets, receives about 70 password recovery requests a day, three times more than a month ago.
The process of revealing lost passwords is very complex, so there are often no results.
This story is reminiscent of the first Bitcoin transaction, which occurred when in 2010 two pizzas were exchanged for 10,000 Bitcoins.
“I give 10 thousand Bitcoins for two pizzas”, wrote Laszlo Hanyecz on the forum back in 2010, and specified that he wants two big ones, and that he would have something left for the next day, because “he likes to nibble on leftover pizzas”.
They were the most expensive remains in the world. He left the suppliers of the desired food to choose whether to buy it or make it themselves, and two days later – on May 22, 2010, Jeremy Sturdivant (Jercos) called and became the first to sell some physical goods for Bitcoin.
That day is marked today as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
Hanyecz’s 10,000 Bitcoins were worth about $25 at the time, and he mined them at his Florida home while exchanging messages with Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious father/mother of the currency.
He remembers that at that time, only twenty people exchanged Bitcoins among themselves, and many miners shared them for free, since they wanted to promote the online currency.
Then it occurred to him that it would be great to exchange Bitcoins for some physical goods, so the mentioned historical crypto-moment was created.
Nobody knows what happened to Bitcoins, who were paid for two big pizzas eleven years ago, so many assume that they are locked somewhere.
Developer Thomas has stored his IronKey in a safe place, away from home, and is waiting for cryptographers to figure out a way to recover forgotten crypto-passwords.