To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Guy Loses Password To Hard Drive With $240 Million Of Bitcoin Stored On It

Guy Loses Password To Hard Drive With $240 Million Of Bitcoin Stored On It

That's a real F in the chat kind of moment.

Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore

When I was a kid, I used to keep all my Pokémon cards in this massive white briefcase that I think I was just kind of handed by a grandparent one day. It was an ugly thing, but it had a little lock built in to it, which I thought was kind of cool. I used to carry the key around with me everywhere, safe in the knowledge that my Pokémon cards were completely secure and only accessible to me.

I lost the key after a few months, because of course I did. There can't be an eight-year-old alive that could be trusted to keep hold of a small silver key without losing it eventually. The key was never found and, because I knew my parents would be livid if I in any way damaged the suitcase I'd been given by my grandparents, the cards remained trapped forever.

I was inconsolable for so long at having my Pokémon card collection so near, yet so far. I can only imagine how the programmer who now has $240 million worth of Bitcoin trapped on a hard drive he can't access feels.

Bitcoin /

As reported by The New York Times (via BBC), Stefan Thomas has lost his password to a hard drive containing an eye-watering amount of Bitcoin that translates to $240 million in cash. To make matters worse? He only has two password attempts left before he's locked out forever.

Thomas was given 7,002 Bitcoins around 10 years ago as payment for making a video explaining how cryptocurrency works. At that time, his Bitcoin were worth just a few dollars each, so he decided to store them in an IronKey digital wallet on a secure hard drive. In a classic blunder, he wrote the password to that drive on a piece of paper... and then lost that piece of paper. Now he's faced with the reality that his Bitcoin are worth millions, but he can't do anything about it.

The programmer has tried eight possible passwords already. If he gets the next two guesses wrong, the password will "encrypt itself, making the wallet impossible to access".

Incredibly, there are some out there who have seen Thomas' predicament as an opportunity. Ex-Facebook security head Alex Stamos recently offered to help in exchange for a 10% cut.

"Um, for $220M in locked-up Bitcoin, you don't make 10 password guesses but take it to professionals to buy 20 IronKeys and spend six months finding a side-channel or uncapping," Stamos said on Twitter. "I'll make it happen for 10%. Call me." Stamos later clarified that he was joking when he said he'd unlock it, but added that it's "something that should be investigated". Presumably by someone who could actually do it.

Understandably, Thomas is now a little wary of the idea of cryptocurrency. "The whole idea of being your own bank - let me put it this way, do you make your own shoes? The reason we have banks is that we don't want to deal with all those things that banks do," Thomas said. To be fair, I don't imagine banks write down passwords on post-it notes and then lose them... but maybe they do?

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: News