One of the big problems with cryptocurrency is that it requires long and extensive passwords to remain secure. Owners of digital currency have often come across this issue. They forget their passwords and cannot access their funds, and as a result, these funds get locked up or lost forever. For Stefan Thomas, the problem is even bigger considering it’s keeping him from gaining access to well over $200 million in bitcoin at press time.
Losing Passwords Usually Leads to Lost BTC
Born in Germany and now living in San Francisco, Stefan Thomas is a programmer that owns a small hard drive known as Iron Key. Contained within this Iron Key hard drive is more than 7,000 bitcoin units, which is equivalent to about $220 million.
The big issue that Thomas is experiencing has to do with how Iron Key operates. Granted you forget your password, you have approximately ten attempts to guess and open the hard drive before it encrypts all the data and permanently locks itself up. That means no access whatsoever to anything it might contain in the future.
Thus far, Stefan has tried to unlock the item roughly eight times to no avail. That means he only has two opportunities left to try and guess the password and open the hard drive before he loses access forever. He has tried all his primary passwords to see if maybe he had potentially used the same login information as another device or account, but this has proved fruitless at the time of writing.
Naturally, Stefan is feeling rather worried about the situation. In a recent interview, he comments:
I would just lay in bed and think about it. Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn’t work, and I would be desperate again.
Lost or forgotten login information has caused much of the world’s bitcoin to fall into oblivion. As it stands, approximately 20 percent of the world’s BTC is contained on hard drives or in accounts that cannot be accessed thanks to lost login data. As a result, it is inaccessible and cannot be touched by human traders.
Many people have a story similar with that of Stefan. One of those figures is Brad Yasar, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur who mined bitcoin back in the early days of crypto. He ultimately mined what would now be hundreds of millions of dollars in BTC and has it all contained on his computers. The problem is he cannot remember any of his passwords, and thus cannot access the money.
An Ugly Reminder of What Once Was
Through the years I would say I have spent hundreds of hours trying to get back into these wallets. I don’t want to be reminded every day that what I have now is a fraction of what I could have that I lost.