Everytime the theme to ‘The Big Bang Theory’ plays, my head just starts bopping along with it. Its recent episode ‘The Bitcoin Entanglement’, got me thinking. Are there more people who have invested in Bitcoin way before the rest of us and now have either misplaced their hard disk or lost their key? If there are, then what happens to their Bitcoins? Where do they go? Lost in Space or do they have their own Purgatory?
Regret: a Bitter Pill
As I researched, I learnt about Philip Neumeier. This gentleman had purchased 15 Bitcoin in 2013. At that time, they were worth about $260. He had purchased them with the intent of ‘HODL’. It was due to this, that he forgot all about it and ended up accidentally throwing out the very hard drive which stored not only his wallet but also his Key! ( a key to the Bitcoin wallet usually looks something like this: 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFEBAAEDCE6AF48A03BBFD25E8CD0364140 ) this impossible to rememeber key is currently the most commonly misplaced item in the whole universe after surpassing household keys and mobiles.
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Mr Philip has tried hypnosis and is even using a supercomputer to crack into his account. But, alas it is a long and difficult road ahead for him.
There are many others in this same boat. It is a rather cruel time for them seeing the unpredicted rise and rise in the value of the Bitcoin.
Now, where do these Bitcoin go? The answer is nowhere. They are right there. This is the tragic beauty and flaw of cryptocurrencies.
The Bitcoin are limited. The total number stands at 21,000,000 coins. So technically half of them, about 12,446,725 have already been mined and in that total, about 50% are suspended in infinite space.
New age Locksmiths
This new age money and its decentralized economy has many skeptics. With such instances these naysayers are bound to rise. In times of such crises comes services like ‘Wallet Recovery Services’. This group of individuals ask for a few things while they attempt to use their supercomputers and their large team of ethical hackers and mathematical geniusis to break open into your Bitcoin Wallets. They need only a part or alphabet or number combination from the original that you remember. If you don’t then be prepared for a long wait. Once they are successful, they just ask for 20% of what ever was in the wallet. You can be a cynic and think there is no trusting them in terms of opening your wallet. What if they rob you of your riches? Who’s to stop them? Well, here is the beauty.
A part of the key combination originates from the Blockchain which was used to create the wallet. This stops anyone from simply hacking open your wallet and walking away with your Bitcoins. They can be caught the very minute they try and transfer or exchange them. Wallet Recovery Services have shared a detailed breakdown of this, on their page. Read it here.
To those of you who currently remember their keys, NOTE IT DOWN! On a piece of paper stored in your bank locker or in pieces on multiple portals, keep it safe and store it well. Regret is worse than failure.