Programmer has two password guesses left to save his $240 million of Bitcoin

midian182

Posts: 6,417   +56
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Facepalm: Being left with a couple of password guesses before getting locked out of a system is something many have experienced, but not with $240 million on the line. That's the unenviable situation facing Stefan Thomas, who has lost the password to a hard drive containing 7,002 Bitcoin.

The New York Times reports that the German-born programmer, who lives in San Francisco, was given the haul of Bitcoin over a decade ago, back when they were worth just a few dollars each. Thomas stored them in a digital wallet on his IronKey hard drive and wrote the password down on a piece of paper, which he lost. With the price of Bitcoin surging recently, that drive now has around $240 million on it.

The IronKey allows for ten incorrect passwords before its contents are permanently encrypted. Thomas already has eight failed attempts.

"I would just lay in bed and think about it," Thomas told the New York Times. "Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn't work, and I would be desperate again."

People have been offering Thomas help in accessing the drive—for a price. Former Facebook head of security Alex Stamos tweeted: "Um, for $220M in locked-up Bitcoin, you don't make 10 password guesses but take it to professionals to buy 20 IronKeys and spend six months finding a side-channel or uncapping." He added, "I'll make it happen for 10%. Call me," but later said this was a joke.

This isn't the first instance of someone losing millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin. British IT worker James Howells mined 7,500 BTC—now worth over $250 million—keeping the private keys on a hard drive. It was accidentally thrown away in 2013.

Cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis estimates that around 20 percent of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin, worth around $140 billion, is lost or stuck in inaccessible wallets.

The experience has soured Thomas' opinion of cryptocurrencies. "This whole idea of being your own bank – let me put it this way, do you make your own shoes? The reason we have banks is that we don't want to deal with all those things that banks do."

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,322   +4,577
And now you understand why Cryptocurrency makes no sense and won't work as a currency.

If I forgot my password to my bank account I could physically go to the bank and reset the whole thing.

Identification?

Well I have a Passport, Driver's License, Pin Number...

The current procedure is to slide my debit card into their slot and then type my pin number to let me deposit or withdrawal.

If I lost my wallet and had nothing at all, I could still recover the main documents like my Driver's License/ passport- but my bank actually has that stuff on file.

The same goes for my Trading accounts with E-Trade and TD Ameritrade. They are basically right down my block (physically).

You know what I sound like right now? I sound like those old people who don't trust the banks or direct deposit who want their paychecks physically in their hands. I can't say I don't blame them.

The early days of cryptocurrency ownership with those Tomogochi style wallets probably cost a whole lot of people a lot of earnings.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,190   +1,358
"The reason we have banks is that we don't want to deal with all those things that banks do."

Yet he didn't think about putting the drive AND password in a safe deposit box at a bank.
 

bviktor

Posts: 330   +594
And now you understand why Cryptocurrency makes no sense and won't work as a currency.

If I forgot my password to my bank account I could physically go to the bank and reset the whole thing.

Identification?

Well I have a Passport, Driver's License, Pin Number...

The current procedure is to slide my debit card into their slot and then type my pin number to let me deposit or withdrawal.

If I lost my wallet and had nothing at all, I could still recover the main documents like my Driver's License/ passport- but my bank actually has that stuff on file.

The same goes for my Trading accounts with E-Trade and TD Ameritrade. They are basically right down my block (physically).

You know what I sound like right now? I sound like those old people who don't trust the banks or direct deposit who want their paychecks physically in their hands. I can't say I don't blame them.

The early days of cryptocurrency ownership with those Tomogochi style wallets probably cost a whole lot of people a lot of earnings.
What you're basically complaining about is that crypto does not allow for identity theft.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,322   +4,577
What you're basically complaining about is that crypto does not allow for identity theft.
No...what I'm complaining about is:

#1 To call it "currency" is disingenuous because it has NO HISTORY as Currency, and will never work as a currency because of the volatility and the intangibility.

#2 It's backed by nothing.

#3 It's insured by no one.

#4 It's a ponzi scheme designed to sucker people out of money - which even if they make gains, the IRS will ultimately tax.

Bitcoin is basically the ability for the IRS to tax the entire world under those circumstances.
 

Michael7

Posts: 43   +36
Critical mistake was having only 1 copy of a password. Since there is no way to recover it once destroyed or lost, you better have many in different separate locations and possibly some kind of backup like USB encrypted file, which can be safely created on an air-gapped PC (through live OS). Being a programmer he should have known better to have a backup.
 
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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,322   +4,577
Critical mistake was having only 1 copy of password. Since there is no way to recover it once destroyed or lost, you better have many in different separate locations and possibly some kind of backup like USB encrypted file.

Critical Mistake: Where is the Password Reset?

All password systems should have Cellphone reset ability.
 
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Dimitrios

Posts: 727   +565
you can say the same if you have cash at home and your house catch on fire.

I would say, people are just not used anymore to protect there own money (banks do that for them)

PS: is there any prouf that this is not a guy talking BS (I also can say I lost a HDD with 1B$ in bitcoin)

Your point falls flat. If someone has Billions of dollars it's either in a few banks or in a fire proof safe ( but seriously whom leaves that much money in a house lol). You can leave that money in banks and make a lot more off the interest as it grows. Can bitcoin do that?
 
Critical Mistake: Where is the Password Reset?

All password systems should have Cellphone reset ability.
Cellphone reset systems, or any form of password reset, are a security vulnerability for the use-case of many IronKey users. They were commonly in use by defense contractors and high security organizations. Note: I have purchased a number of IronKey's years ago. Fantastic product when you needed to store data in an extremely secure environment...IronKey's also had a built-in and secure backup function but the user in the article apparently did not use it.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,322   +4,577
Your point falls flat. If someone has Billions of dollars it's either in a few banks or in a fire proof safe ( but seriously whom leaves that much money in a house lol). You can leave that money in banks and make a lot more off the interest as it grows. Can bitcoin do that?

Bitcoin pays no interest.

Bitcoin pays no Dividends.

Bitcoin has wild swings in its volatility.

I've said it before: Tesla outperformed Bitcoin this previous year.

If you took an amount of money and dropped it into Tesla - or the equivalent into Bitcoin, you'd be way ahead with Tesla.

The only thing giving Bitcoin energy is speculation on its price.

I was watching Jason Williams (Crypto Author) on Charles Payne (Fox Business) last night say that Bitcoin was going to $11 Trillion.

So that means that anyone who owns even ONE Bitcoin would have $11 Trillion.

Does that make any sense whatsoever?

So you're telling me, I'm going to have over $100 Trillion dollars?
 
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Dimitrios

Posts: 727   +565
Bitcoin pays no interest.

Bitcoin pays no Dividends.

Bitcoin has wild swings in its volatility.

I've said it before: Tesla outperformed Bitcoin this previous year.

If you took an amount of money and dropped it into Tesla - or the equivalent into Bitcoin, you'd be way ahead with Tesla.

The only thing giving Bitcoin energy is speculation on its price.

I was watching Jason Williams (Crypto Author) on Charles Payne (Fox Business) last night say that Bitcoin was going to $11 Trillion.

So that means that anyone who owns even ONE Bitcoin would have $11 Trillion.

Does that make any sense whatsoever?

So you're telling me, I'm going to have over $100 Trillion dollars?
You read it wrong I'm actually agreeing with you ----> "QuantumPhysics"
 
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mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,767   +1,012
Cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis estimates that around 20 percent of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin, worth around $140 million, is lost or stuck in inaccessible wallets.
I think you guys left off a few zeros. 20% of 18.5 million coins, at around $38,000 per coin, is around 140.6 billion.
 

3volv3d

Posts: 314   +137
And now you understand why Cryptocurrency makes no sense and won't work as a currency.
Cryptocurrency and Cash are both a failed system. To me bitcoin is the sped up version of how money works. See it inflate stupidly... see the cost to live/survive inflate stupidly. Another control out of control.
 

Mister_K

Posts: 2,028   +713
Cryptocurrency and Cash are both a failed system. To me bitcoin is the sped up version of how money works. See it inflate stupidly... see the cost to live/survive inflate stupidly. Another control out of control.
Blockchain is a solid technology, some companies within the industry are really pushing global transactions, smart contracts etc ahead. Bitcoin? Well, if someone finds it useful then by all means, it all that matters :)
 
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