A United States-based computer programmer is having nightmares after he lost the password for his bitcoin wallet which contains more than US$220 million of the cryptocurrency. Even worse, the hapless programmer is left with only two chances to enter the correct password or he will lose the fortune forever.
Stefan Thomas, a German-born programmer who is based in San Francisco in the United States revealed that he lost the password of his IronKey wallet, on which there are 7,002 Bitcoin. With a single Bitcoin trading at US $39,796.48, at the time of publishing, this is worth well over the US $273 million. Although the price has been fluctuating, the Bitcoin in the inaccessible wallet is worth at least US $220 million.
Thomas received the digital currency 10 years ago, while living in Switzerland, from an early Bitcoin adopter, as payment for an animated video he made, titled “What is Bitcoin?”.
He lost the password to his IronKey that same year when he lost the pieces of paper on which he had written the password. At that time, however, Bitcoin was valued at around only US$5 so Thomas never bothered to try to remember his password.
Since then, the price of Bitcoin has gone up exponentially. In December 2017, the price of a single Bitcoin shot up to over US$19,000 before a major price correction saw the price dropping to as low as US$3,300, before rising again.
At the beginning of 2020, bitcoin was at US$8000. In December 2020, the price of Bitcoin started surging again and it crossed US$ 20,000. The surge continued till this month as Bitcoin crossed US$ 40,000 for the first time ever. Bitcoin reached an all-time high price of US $41,962 earlier this month, before briefly dropping to US$34,800. The price has since rallied to US$39,796.48, at the time of writing.
Over the years, Stefan has unsuccessfully attempted to remember the Bitcoin Wallet password that he lost in 2011. Unfortunately for him, he has failed eight times so far, which only leaves him with two more guesses, before the IronKey locks up for good. IronKey gives users 10 guesses before it seizes up and encrypts its contents forever.
“I would just lay in bed and think about it,” Mr. 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.”