With the recent high prices of Bitcoin, an unfortunate phenomenon is emerging: People who have acquired large fortunes in the cryptocurrency are aware that they have long since lost the passwords to their encrypted digital wallets.
Take Stefan Thomas, a programmer in San Francisco who told New York Times that he has 7,002 Bitcoin hidden away – currently worth about $ 236 million, almost a quarter of a billion dollars – but that he has no idea how to access it, and can only guess two more passwords before being locked out forever.
Although the long-term prospects for crypto are set aside, the main message in these horror stories is that taking digital economics into your own hands is a huge risk if you are unable to manage your passwords.
The problem of buying or extracting crypto and then forgetting how to access it is so prevalent that there is an entire industry emerging for cybersecurity experts who can help the wealthy to actually access their fortunes after have forgotten their passwords.
“Even sophisticated investors have been completely unable to carry out any kind of private key management,”
For Thomas and others in his situation, having millions of dollars just out of reach has acidified the whole idea of decentralized currency like Bitcoin, according to NOW.
“This whole idea of being your own bank – let me put it this way: ‘Do you make your own shoes?'” Thomas said to NOW. “The reason we have banks is that we do not want to deal with all the things that banks do.”
READ MORE: Lost passwords lock millionaires out of their Bitcoin fortunes[[[[New York Times]
More about crypto: Crypto Thief stole $ 54 million by guessing weak passwords