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Man Has Two Guesses To Remember Forgotten Password For $220 Million Bitcoin Wallet

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Man Has Two Guesses To Remember Forgotten Password For $220 Million Bitcoin Wallet

A Bitcoin owner has just two guesses left to figure out the password to his wealth, which is worth around $220 million (£161m)... Welp.

Stefan Thomas, a German-born programmer living in San Francisco, needs the password to let him unlock a small hard drive, which is known as an IronKey.

This IronKey gives users 10 guesses before it seizes up and encrypts the contents forever, creating quite the pickle if people can't remember their password - which is exactly what's happened for Thomas, who lost his years ago when he mislaid the piece of paper on which it was written down.

Since then he's tried to have a stab at guessing his password eight times, but none of these attempts have been successful.

Credit: Twitter/Stefan Thomas
Credit: Twitter/Stefan Thomas

That means he has just two left before his fortune is lost forever.

Speaking to the New York Times, he said: "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."


Thomas said he was drawn to Bitcoin partly because the currency sat outside of the control of either a country or a company.

He was given 7,002 Bitcoins back in 2011 when he was living in Switzerland, having been gifted them by an early Bitcoin advocate after he made an informative animated video about the cryptocurrency.

But that year he managed to lose the digital keys to the wallet holding the Bitcoin, meaning he's been unable to access it ever since - having to simply watch as the value rose and fell over the years.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Recently, Bitcoin prices have been rising - moving up to a record high of $42,000 (£30,991) on Friday (8 January). That meant that the entire global cryptocurrency market - not just bitcoin - was worth $1.07 trillion (£790 billion).

However, as of Monday evening (11 January), that value had plummeted back down to $31,000 (£23,000) meaning that the global crypto-coin market was back down to $880 billion (£649 billion).

For now, Thomas has put the IronKey in a secure facility (nope, he's not telling you where that is, funnily enough), just in case anyone comes up with a new way to crack the complex password.

In the meantime, keeping it locked away safely keeps the problem out of sight and out of mind.


He added: "I got to a point where I said to myself, 'Let it be in the past, just for your own mental health'."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Bitcoin, News, US News

Jess Hardiman
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