Have you ever imagined that a password could prevent someone from becoming a millionaire?
Well, this is the real story of Stefan Thomas, a programmer who made his fortune after making a video about cryptocurrency in 2011. Bitcoin was not highly valued. Each bitcoin was worth between 1.98 and 5.96 USD. Today, 1 bitcoin can reach up to 40 thousand USD. Below is the current exchange rate and the change in recent weeks.
Stefan managed to collect more than 7 thousand bitcoins, added to his virtual wallet and protected the wallet with a password on a physical device, an Iron Key pendrive. The password was written down on paper and… it was lost! 10 years later, with bitcoin overvalued, Stefan has a chance to raise 220 million dollars. The device allows 10 attempts, before it definitely blocks. Stefan completed eight unsuccessfully and now has only two more attempts to guess his Bitcoin.
A painful memory. I hope others can learn from my mistakes. Test your backups regularly to make sure they are still working. An ounce of foresight could have prevented a decade of regret.- Stefan Thomas (@justmoon) January 12, 2021
That said, I'll do what I always do which is focus on building things, eg @Interledger. https://t.co/pCgObeAf4Z
After the news spread through the media, several proposals have been made to the young man, who may be able to recover the password in a specialized laboratory where he can eliminate the limitation of the two remaining attempts and then use a supercomputer to crack the password. Of course, this will be very expensive. A risky step that is making Stefan more and more inclined to the option of forgetting that USB stick and getting on with his life.