That’s worse than the 1,900 percent increase in bitcoin? Because you forgot your bitcoin password, you can’t access your unexpected harvest.
Many people who bought bitcoins many years ago now find themselves sitting on an untouchable amount of money. Because they don’t remember the complex security codes required to get their bitcoins, these COINS are purgatory. It’s like forgetting a password for a bank account, but no bank calls to reset it.
The owners of bitcoin have seen the pain, because its price is sometimes more than 20 times this year, more than $19,000. (Tuesday morning, it’s market price is about $18000) even if the technology giants are also in trouble: last month, Elon Musk, Elon Musk said on twitter, he put the wrong part of the currency.
Philip Neumeier bought 15 bitcoins for about $260 in 2013, when he was deciding whether to accept a virtual currency on his e-commerce site. Now that his cache is worth nearly $300,000, he hopes to restore a long-forgotten password. He was thought to be hypnotic, but now he chose to build a supercomputer to try to break code with “brute force”.
The five-foot-high computer system is working hard, and it sits in a 270-gallon special water tank to disperse the heat it generates. Mr Neumeier thinks it may take hundreds of years to complete all possible letters, Numbers and symbols.
“By that time I might have been 332 – I hope bitcoin is worth it,” he said.
In the San Francisco bay area, Nick Testa Jr., a video producer, asked customers to pay $150 bills in bitcoins in 2014.
If he could, then a fraction of Testa’s bitcoins would be worth more than $2,500 today. He still has his old laptop, but when he unlocks it, his digital wallet, stored in it, has been removed, possibly the victim of excessive computer chores.
“I’m really kicking myself because there’s no better way to take care of me,” he said. “It seems impossible to try to pick it up after one or three years.”
Yusuf Sarhan, whose father wiped out the old laptop, has his secret code, the living chirping of his legendary story. “Madness is a slippery slope,” says Mr Sarhan. “It’s like trying to open your mind.”
A bitcoin transaction requires two keys – one public and one private. The letters and Numbers match strings are part of a system that allows bitcoin to change hands without any middleman.
Protecting the private key is vital – anyone accessing the private key can transfer or use bitcoin, and the transaction cannot be reversed or stopped.
That’s why the digital “wallet” (where the keys are stored) must be closely guarded, often with additional passwords. But many problems can go wrong, and the security hierarchy has led to many legitimate bitcoin owners.
Chainalysis, which tracks the inflow and outflow of bitcoins worldwide, estimates that between 2.8 million and 3.8 million bitcoins are lost, up to 23 percent of the total supply. Chainalysis calculates that about a million COINS are believed to belong to the mysterious founder of bitcoin, whose name Satoshi Nakamoto is missing. If that’s true, he or they now exceed $18 billion.
Some people try to avoid these problems by using exchanges or another third party as custodian to store bitcoin. But others say such accounts are vulnerable to hacking.
Some will imitate to avoid being hacked. Radiologist Brian Goss of Arizona stores the keys on a PIN protected hardware device. He also retains a 24-word recovery phrase and an additional password in two separate “Cryptosteels”. He let one of the states leave to slow down any possible thieves.
“It may seem a little paranoid, but it’s money,” he said.
Jason Miller, a hypnotist in greenville, s.c., recently began offering to help people recall forgotten passwords or find storage devices that misplaces their location. He charged a single currency plus 5% of the amount, though he said it was negotiable.
“I have developed a range of technologies that allow people to access old memories, or to see what they have left behind in a hiding place,” he said.
The dilemma has recently appeared in The CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” Leonard, raj and Howard, the three main characters, are frantically trying to find thousands of dollars worth of bitcoins mined seven years ago.
A writer at the show bought bitcoin years ago to entertain other employees, showrunner Steve Holland said, “we love to watch her emotional rollercoaster fun,” the value fluctuates.
James Howells, an IT worker in Newport, wales, opened a $7,500 bitcoin in 2009 as a private key drive was accidentally thrown away during office cleanup. This month his story went viral, as the value of hard disk content soared to more than $100 million. Now he is trying to dig through the landfills and dig for four years of garbage to find the rubbish.
For j. Robert Collins Jr., it’s all about family reunion. Mr. Collins this year created one for encryption of monetary fund, in four years ago on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus gave 16 families every half a currency, virtual currency to education them. Since then, 14 people have lost their passwords.
At this year’s party, the group plans to look at the code as a family activity. If all were found, a $125,000 Christmas bonus would be awarded, Mr. Collins said, and the prize might be entrusted to a person in charge.
Forget Nathan Murdoch, who bought Bitcoin three years ago, and turned to Dave Bitcoin, an invisible locksmith in the world of cryptocurrency. At first, he had doubts about the anonymity and website of Dave bitcoins.
“I got a chance, maybe a lucky one, or spent my life, and wondered if I would ever get it again,” he said.
Dave COINS is actually four people who run a wallet to restore service, of which 20% cut to restore trove trying to find a missing key, use computers and the algorithm of high power. Typically, customers have a vague concept of their password and send to Dave Bitcoin any possible text or characters they might use. The founder, who asked not to be named, said the number of requests for the group was up fourfold from a year earlier.
On Mr Murdoch’s birthday, Dave bit said via email that his password had been retrieved.
“Now that I have finished the paper copy, I have completed the backup,” murdoch said. “I won’t make the same mistake again.”