Thomas is a programmer, who is left with two chances to unlock a hard drive with the keys to a digital wallet with 7,002 Bitcoins.
Can you lose all the money in the world due to a bad memory or not knowing how to take care of a piece of paper? Yes, Stefan Thomas is living it. You have $ 220 million in Bitcoins and you forgot a password to access them.
It seems like an unreal story, an invention, a fable. But no, it is the drama of Thomas, a German programmer living in the United States.
Thomas has a hard drive, called the IronKey, with the private keys for a digital wallet. In it he has 7,002 Bitcoins.
However, to enter the hard drive, Thomas must use a password. A simple and simple password that you had written on a piece of paper that you lost.
IronKey gives the programmer ten opportunities to enter.
Thomas has already tried eight.
They were all wrong.
He has two left.
Exhausting your memory to find the key
« I would lie in bed and think about it, » said Thomas, who spoke with The New York Times about. “So I went to the computer with a new strategy and it didn’t work. I was going into despair ”.
Thomas received the 7,002 Bitcoins as payment for a service performed in Switzerland in 2011. He did not know about the value at the time. He accepted the payment, a little suspicious. At that time he prepared the entire protocol to protect the digital wallet.
Today, that figure reaches $ 220 million. But you don’t have the password to access them.
Tick, tock, tick, tock. Time flies by and just as cryptocurrencies are on the rise, they can fall dramatically. Thomas wants to take advantage of the boom, but what happens if he fails his two remaining opportunities?
Loss of Bitcoins passwords, more common than you think
His case is not the only one, as the Times. The New York daily quotes Chainalysis, a Bitcoins data firm.
According to this, 20% of cryptocurrencies appear to be in lost or stranded wallets. In total, the existing ones are 18.5 million.
The Wallet Recovery Services company helps to find lost digital keys. According to them, they have received 70 requests a day from people who wanted to recover their passwords.
Can Thomas get the light that leads him to retrieve his key?