20 Pct Of Bitcoin Trapped In ‘Lost’ Wallets

Goldman Sachs Global Head of Commodities Research Jeff Currie told CNBC the bitcoin market is maturing.

“I think in any nascent market you get that volatility and those risks that are associated with it,” he said, according to CNBC, following a sharp tumble on Monday (Jan. 11), when it fell below $31,000, just days after breaching $41,000.

Currie also noted that stability will come from increased institutional investment. Right now, only about 1 percent of the $600 billion invested in bitcoin is institutional, he said, CNBC reported.

“The key to creating some type of stability in the market is to see an increase in the participation of institutional investors and right now they’re small,” he told CNBC.

In other news, about 20 percent of the 18.5 million bitcoin in existence are reportedly stuck in lost or inaccessible digital wallets, The New York Times (NYT) reported, citing Chainalysis data.

That’s about $140 billion today, the report stated.

Unlike a typical bank account with password protection and recovery, bitcoin accounts are secured with a private key that only the user knows.

To access a bitcoin account, bitcoin’s software uses complex algorithms that can confirm the password without actually knowing it. So, anyone can create a bitcoin wallet, without going through a financial institution or identity check — but it means there’s no backup when the user forgets or loses their key, NYT reported.

And “even sophisticated investors have been completely incapable of doing any kind of management of private keys,” Diogo Monica, co-founder of crypto security firm Anchorage, told NYT.

“This whole idea of being your own bank — let me put it this way, ‘Do you make your own shoes?” Stefan Thomas, who is currently locked out of his account, told NYT. “The reason we have banks is that we don’t want to deal with all those things that banks do.”

Meanwhile, German police arrested the alleged operator of DarkMarket and shut down the platform, the “world’s largest illegal ‘Darknet’ marketplace,” according to Bloomberg.

At least 320,000 transactions — trading drugs and cryptocurrencies, as well as stolen and fraudulent credit card information, counterfeit money, anonymous SIM cards and malware — have gone through DarkMarket, Bloomberg reported. The transactions amount to $170 million.

The EU’s Europol led the investigation in coordination with the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and police from various countries.



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