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Prosecutors Confiscate More Than £43m In Bitcoin From Fraudster Who Won't Reveal Password

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Prosecutors Confiscate More Than £43m In Bitcoin From Fraudster Who Won't Reveal Password

Prosecutors in Germany have confiscated more than 50 million (£43m/$60m) worth of Bitcoin from a fraudster... who's refusing to give them the password to unlock the money.

According to Reuters, a prosecutor in the Bavarian town of Kempten said the man was sentenced to jail and has since served his term.

As police made repeated (and failed) efforts to crack the code to access more than 1,700 Bitcoin, the man simply refused to break his silence, a prosecutor in the Bavarian town of Kempten said.

Prosecutor Sebastian Murer told Reuters: "We asked him but he didn't say.

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"Perhaps he doesn't know."

The scammer was sentenced to more than two years in jail for covertly installing software on other computers to 'mine' or produce Bitcoin.

EuroWeeklyNews.com reports that, upon his release, police pressured him into revealing his password - but he continually refused to surrender the code.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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Authorities then took the decision to lock the wallet.

When the man first went into jail, his stash of Bitcoin would have been worth a fraction of its current value.

Having surged over the past year, the price of Bitcoin hit a record high of $42,000 ($30,500) in January - and is priced at $40,293 (£29,332) at the time of writing, according to cryptocurrency and blockchain website Coindesk.

The cryptocurrency requires users to unlock a password to access it, with a limited number of attempts allowed before the wallet is locked indefinitely - something that has proven to be a bit of a problem for anyone who has forgotten theirs.

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One Bitcoin owner has just two guesses left to figure out the password to his $220 million (£161m) fortune.

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.

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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.

Speaking to the New York Times, he said: "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, World News, News, Germany

Jess Hardiman
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