Security is important. We all strengthen our passwords, not only for emails but also for bank accounts, virtual wallets… and also for cryptocurrency wallets.
The benefits are obvious: you can be sure that you will be protected against any attack and that no one but you will be able to access the content. However, the problem arises when, due to these security protocols, you cannot access your accounts either.
And even more so if those accounts represent the sum of 42 million dollars. Let’s get into the story of a programmer who was determined to take care of the security of his wallet. So much so that he lost 7,002 Bitcoins.
What is the story of Stefan Thomas and his lost millions of dollars?
Let’s put it in context. In 2011, Stefan Thomas was a programmer living in Switzerland. At the time, Bitcoin was not that popular. However, a company decided to pay him as a video editor using this currency. Thomas accepted, but he was not so confident about the future of Bitcoin. Once he completed the job, the company paid him 7002 Bitcoins, which in that year were about $6000.
The work was an explanatory video that, paradoxically, explained what Bitcoin is. Well, the truth is that, once he received his payment, he decided to have it on an IronKey. He chose this device because of its high security, as it has a system that prevents any intruder from accessing the content.
The problem was that this system worked against him. The IronKey wallet seeks to secure its content very well. Its main security measure is the limited opportunities you have to enter the correct password. So, what happened? Thomas forgot his passwords.
The security problem and the possibility of recovering your Bitcoins
The solution seemed to be simple, but it was not. While he knew what passwords he regularly used, the IronKey device allowed a maximum of 10 attempts. Once this number is exceeded, the content is deleted so that no one can steal it.
But, was there any solution for this? One possibility was for Thomas to hire several professionals with multiple IronKeys. The goal was to find a security flaw that would allow Thomas to access the key. However, IronKey believes it is impossible to hack the system. Likewise, IronKey also does not want to release its contents, not even in exchange for a small percentage.
Stefan Thomas Bitcoin Update
For the time being, Thomas has made up his mind that he will never get the content back, as he admitted that he is now at “peace” with that loss. Furthermore, he is currently a founder of several cryptocurrency-related companies.
However, Thomas is not alone in this case. According to the cryptocurrency analysis company Chainalysis, 20% of current Bitcoins are in lost wallets. This amount equates to about 18.5 million Bitcoins that will probably never be used.
All in all, you have seen that sometimes complex security protocols and poor memory can backfire on users.