Forgotten Passwords: $140 Billion Bitcoin Write-Off?

Nearly $140 billion worth of Bitcoins is at risk of being permanently lost, according to online platform Chainalysis, due to forgotten passwords for decryption. 

About 3.7 million Bitcoins worth almost $140 billion could permanently vanish from the market, according to Chainalysis, as of January 18 this year.

Based on June 2020 figures, this represents around one-fifth of the total 18.6 million Bitcoins created in the market. Bitcoin’s infrastructure is designed to cap supply at 21 million.

Eight Unsuccessful Attempts

German-born San Francisco-based programmer Stefan Thomas first shined a light on the issue after he revealed that he failed to gain access to his crypto wallet to access over more than $200 million worth of Bitcoin, according to the «New York Times».

Thomas had already made eight unsuccessful attempts and he has two more remaining to save his sizeable Bitcoin holdings. «I would just lay in bed and think about it. Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn’t work, and I would be desperate again,» he recalls. «I got to a point where I said to myself, ‘Let it be in the past, just for your own mental health.»

 


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