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"Stefan Thomas, a German programmer based in San Francisco, has lost his Bitcoin password. As per a report in New York Times, Thomas was given 7,002 Bitcoins back in 2011 which is now worth $245 million, or almost Rs 1,800 crore. However, his account is about to lose all his Bitcoins as he has exhausted eight of his ten attempts to get the correct password.
As per a report in News18, Thomas stored all of his Bitcoin keys in a tiny, encrypted hard drive called IronKey the digital equivalent of the medieval cryptex. "However, there is a catch to storing things in IronKey anyone in possession of the drive will get 10 attempts to unlock it by entering the right password, failing which the drive will encrypt itself forever, no second chances ever," said the report.
The ordeal faced by Thomas exposes one of the biggest downfalls of Bitcoin. Since Bitcoin operates on the laws of cryptocurrency which essentially makes sure that the cryptographic key, which serves as the identifier of a cryptocurrency (in this case, a Bitcoin), is completely unique, and only the one in possession will ever know it.
"There are no organisations or a centralised body that has the power, or a master key, to access all or any of this data, unless the key is specifically shared with them. Hence, if you forget the password to your crypto wallet, there is no company or helpline that can help reset it or give you back access to it the way a standard financial institution or bank would," the report said.
The volatile nature of Bitcoin has also come to light through Thomas' incident. "Unlike equities or any commodity for that matter, Bitcoin is not attached to any material of physical value, as a result of which the transactions that fluctuate its valuation cannot be controlled by any regulatory body. It is also theoretically possible for dark web bodies with possession of significant amounts of Bitcoin to manipulate its value without leaving behind any traces to track, or any law to hold them accountable for," said the report.
The Times report claims that as much as 20 percent of all Bitcoin, amounting for as much as $130 billion or Rs 9.5 lakh crore in ‘real’ money, is stuck in such crypto wallets with forgotten passwords that may never, ever be found or unlocked again. The amount of money stuck in this form is titanic more than the GDP of many nations around the world, even. Of this, Thomas’ ordeal represents 0.2 percent of the total amount estimated to be stuck behind a forgotten password."
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Well, his 7k bitcoins soon should be valuable enough for someone to build a system capable to crack the AES 256-bit Encryption. ;D
i call B.S to this story for a start you would have it on a hard wallet not online and no need for password
The story says that he has a hard wallet in an encrypted drive (like the one here: https://www.kingston.com/unitedstates/us/usb-flash-drives/datatraveler-2000-encrypted-usb-flash-drive?Capacity=128GB)
If you don't have the usb password you are doomed.
Yep, sounds like BS... who forgets a password to millions?
It wasn't worth millions back then, it's only worth a few thousands, but bitcoin has increased in value since then.
i keep all my passwords (or most anyway) in a box at home so i can look them up if needed
İ did thought that to but what if a robber came and steal those password
He might as well put a post it on his screen.
10 years ago, there wasn't such thing as a fake online wallet such as Coinbase. (nevermind this part I think I misunderstood your post)
That being said, indeed I find it weird how he neglected his stash, considering that from what I read he went on to work on Riple like a year after... It's not as if he had a stash then forgot about cryptocurrencies for 5 years. He lived in the field :s
Reminds me of the bloke in the UK who dumped his old HDD in 2013 thinking he had everything backed up in the new drive and lost his hard wallet containing like 2000+ Bitcoins. I think he is still trying to get permission from his council to dig up the landfill where the county waste is dumped so that he can recover it. His latest attempt is trying to offer 25% of the Bitcoin value to the Council for the Covid Relief fund.
did he try the password "guest"
This is so sad... I get pretty sad when an usb of mine goes bad, now imagine losing all of your bitcoin just because you locked yourself out trying to guess the password...
must feel horrible, hope he doesn't go into desperation.
He should try 12345.
If not, he got 1 try left.
Then it will definitely be "qwerty".
He is german, so qwertz.
What? 7k BTC would have been somewhere between 7,000-140,000 USD equivalent in 2011.
Yep, you're right. Turns out if you google "bitcoin in 2011", it will show you the value of 2,011 bitcoin, instead of the value from 2011. I hadn't noticed. My mistake.
i'd lost password of one of my bitcoin wallet, but with a friend who knows linux, we search and find a bruteforce for bitcoin password.
my password was a thing like "fat bitch" in my language :)
i get back ~ 1200$
He should try "admin" for username and "password" for password. Works 100% of the time 0% of the time.
As of this comment that amount of BTC is worth 259 Million.
I just don't see how this is possible. I invest daily with crypto, have 6 different wallets. Never have I had a password issue.
+1, yet for China made Routers and modems... It works 50% of the time.
And LOL, a "German programmer based in San Francisco" The Germans I have met are very precise. The people I have met in San Francisco are more likely THC medicated (and now mushroom). The programmers I have met fear losing code and are the least likely to lose backups. And no, I have not met everyone in those niches.
Hmmm, how do I invest in any holdings that get to continue holding lost money?
California, US has a law that all unclaimed property becomes property of the state after 5 years of no contact.
Sad part is people lose their possession in one account while still having contact in another with the same institution due to bad data entry.
just another promo - hey guys i have 7k bitcoins!!11
That too. PLEASE BUY MORE and media never manipulates the masses 11#!$!BBQSauce.
why lol, i highly doubt a programmer had no backup at all
for me, i used 3 kind of password
same pass, if i dont bother with it
combination password, for easier remember (i use this the most)
and lastly use lastpass to remember them all (above), for important one i use randomize password
Working as designed.
He was already offered a solution of buying 20 more of those same encrypted USB sticks and 6 months of somehow combining them to decrypt the original one for 10% of the BTC.
That's just nonsense though, some security guy who promised results in six months. If it was that easy to crack stuff like this, it wouldn't be a thing to begin with. Even the fact that said a time-frame for how long it would take it makes it even less plausible.
Depends. Maybe he had a somewhat weak password and the key derivation from his decade-old device was weak too. Wouldn't be a guaranteed result, but could be a lot easier than actually bruteforcing a whole 256 bits.
bruteforcing 256 bits gives you character though. LOL
Still, that's extremely unlikely, and all but guaranteeing a result in six months is ridiculous. The security guy was just grabbing headlines.
A gigabyte of ram should do the trick.
He should clone the drive and use the different drives for trying to unlock the password, thereby increasing his chance of unlocking password.(That is if the drive can be cloned using something called RAW copy) And if my trick solves his problem he should thank me!
Fun fact: This is his second time losing 7000 bitcoins (~$200m as of todays rate), first time was due to hard drive failure. At least back then it was just millions and not hundreds of millions.
So the good new is that he probably has more 7000 bitcoins in other drives.
The bad news is that he'll lose those too.
this is why i started using KeePassX some years ago. my passwords were all over the place. usually the same password with small changes fitting to the site or purpose it was used. really bad idea and i lost a few passwords or even forgot where i actually had accounts already. including the password to one online banking account (no more money there anyway so screw it).
however in a few cases i forgot to change my default password and 3 years ago i got a google notification that someone from vietnam used the correct password to enter my google account. that was the only time i ever clicked the "it wasn't me" button in such a notification email.
you really need some sort of password manager today.