Bitcoin has a lot going for it, which is why there are many traders out there that would likely feel the hurt if they ever lost their coins or couldn’t gain access to them. For one person, that pain has become a thing of the past thanks to the help of a rather savvy computer expert.
Bitcoin Can Be Lost for Good
While roughly 18 million of 21 million bitcoin units have been mined over the past 12 years, it is estimated that there are far less in circulation given how many units have been lost or stolen. Many users tend to store their money on separate wallets or hard drives to keep them safe. As time goes by, however, they forget about their digital funds and do not make note of their passwords, which ultimately keeps them out of the loop.
As a result, they cannot gain access to their funds, meaning there’s a whole lot of wealth to their names that they can’t get their fingers on. For one “guy” – as he’s being called by the assisting party – the story of roughly $300K in inaccessible bitcoin has an extremely happy ending.
The tale begins in October of last year, when a former Google security engineer named Michael Stay received a strange message on his LinkedIn page. The message came from an anonymous figure who had stored several bitcoins on an encrypted zip file back in January of 2016 and had lost his private keys. He thus had no means of accessing the money and needed Stay’s help in getting it back. It is estimated that the amount of money in question was equal to roughly $300K.
After doing a thorough analysis of the situation, Stay asked the anonymous figure for compensation equaling roughly $100,000. This would cover all expenses required to potentially gain access to the zip file, which despite being more than three years old at the time, was quite strong and presented a lot of challenges. The man accepted the bargain and Stay went to work.
This Tale Has a Positive Ending
Stay says that the work was some of the best he’s ever done, and it made him excited to get up every day. He states:
It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages. Every morning, I was excited to get to work and wrestle with the problem. The zip cipher was designed decades ago by an amateur cryptographer. The fact that it has held up so well is remarkable.
He says that it took several tries to crack the zip file, and after numerous failures, Stay was able to gain access to the bitcoins in question for considerably less than what he had initially quoted. Overall, costs ranged between $6K and $7K. The “guy” – so happy about getting his money back – gave Stay roughly one quarter the worth of his bitcoin stash to say thanks.