By CAPosts 13 January, 2021 - 08:12am 46 views
Forgetting the password of a digital wallet can mean the loss of millions of dollars in Bitcoins that will be suspended in cyberspace until that key is recovered.
Making the intangible tangible can be a real odyssey when the password to access is not found to that precious virtual treasure whose price ( beyond the ups and downs it went through ) has been growing in recent times.
This dilemma is much more common than is believed. About 20% of the 18.5 million existing Bitcoins, that is, about 130 billion dollars, are in wallets that are lost or cannot be accessed, according to data from the cryptocurrency firm Chainalysis .
On the other hand, Wallet Recovery Services , a company that helps find lost digital keys, said it recently received three times as many inquiries as a month ago - about 70 requests a day from people wanting to retrieve their keys.
Stefan Thomas , a German- born programmer who lives in San Francisco , is one of the stories that feed those statistics on " lost digital treasures. "
Thomas, whose story was published in The New York Times and went viral on the networks, said he has only two attempts left to remember the password that allows you to access your fortune of about 240 million dollars in Bitcoins
The password will allow you to unlock a small hard drive, known as an IronKey , which contains the pr keys sold from a digital wallet with 7,002 Bitcoins. It so happens that to access that sum Thomas would have to remember it but his memory fails him and he also lost the document where he wrote the password to access IronKey , which offers up to 10 attempts. Already tried 8 times and failed. If on the tenth try he fails again then the content will be encrypted and he will have to say goodbye to his cryptocurrencies forever.
It is also interesting how Thomas managed to get that fortune. According to his account in the note, in 2011 a digital currency enthusiast gave him the 7,002 Bitcoins as a reward for an animated video he published called "What is Bitcoin?" which helped popularize this technology among many users who did not know how the system worked.
Thomas , who is part of the startup Ripple , says that beyond this sum that was trapped in space, the truth is that he still has access to others How many Bitcoins whose access passwords he remembers
This entrepreneur shares the dilemma of potentially lost digital fortunes with other users such as Brad Yasar, a businessman from Los Angeles who has some computers that store thousands of Bitcoins, as mentioned in the cited article. This is money that he obtained or mined a few years ago when this cryptocurrency was something that only seemed to interest a small group of users in the geek world who trusted that it would eventually be something valuable
Time proved them right but Time also played against them because many forgot how to access their fortunes, as happened to Yasar who decided to keep the hard drives with his virtual millions in sealed bags with the hope that perhaps, one day, he could access that fortune again.
Gabriel Abed , a 34-year-old entrepreneur from Barbados, also lost about 800 Bitcoins. In his case, it was because a colleague reformatted a computer that contained the private keys of a virtual wallet that he had in 2011.
The other problem:
hacks Added to the problem of the loss of virtual keys are the possible attacks that wallets or exchange services to carry out transactions; as happened in 2017 with the mega NiceHash hack or when a malware affected the Parity wallet causing the freezing of hundreds of millions of dollars in Ethereum.
The theft of Mt. Gox, a service that for the most part, also had many repercussions. Back in 2013, it managed 70% of all Bitcoins transactions in the world.
Cybercriminals accessed the system and stole 740,000 cryptocurrencies from Mt. Gox customers and about 100,000 from the company. The incident caused the bankruptcy of the company towards the end of February 2014.
It is true that security measures have been improved over time and will surely continue to strengthen even more. It is also true that it is difficult to be immune to hacks that can affect other types of entities, that is why the world of cybersecurity continues to be a constant challenge that requires more and more specialists and advances in the field. No one is exempt.
However, when it comes to remembering and saving passwords, caution prevails here and, above all, the user's memory. For this reason, adequate mechanisms must be established to prevent a forgetfulness from forcing the resignation of a precious digital fortune.
These forgetfulness of password can be solved when it comes to recovering access to a bank account or other digital services where there is an entity behind, but The situation is very different when it comes to the Bitcoin universe and no service was used to protect this information.