Losing access to a crypto wallet has the potential to plague the unfortunate victim for years and even decades to come, watching helplessly as their unobtainable wealth grows and grows during a bull run, remaining tantalizingly out of reach. Tales of discarded hard drives, lost passwords, and holders passing away without first handing over their log in details abound, and one Reddit might have added himself to this pantheon of would-be millionaires by asking for help in unlocking a wallet thought to contain ₿1,800.
Millions Lost in ‘Brainwallet’
The Reddit user, lumanubrecon, claims to have kept the Bitcoin in a ‘brainwallet’ in 2016, when BTC averaged around $585. A brain wallet involves no physical or digital record of its passphrase, relying on the user to create a hard-to-crack passphrase that they find easy to remember, for example a memorable name or place with some letters interchanged for numbers or symbols. Lumanubrecon claims that he wrote the passphrase down but re-entering it failed to bring up the account, and has turned to Reddit for help to recover access to the $12.7 million fortune.
Not everyone has taken the story at face value however, with one respondent claiming that the tale is “a bunch of bs”, and in indeed, this has some merit – of course we don’t know the details, but it is a little strange that, with Bitcoin having hit $20,000 at the end of 2017, it would be now that the user is trying to access the wallet for the first time in three years.
In Good Company
The story has echoes of past incidents, such as the Welsh IT technician who threw out a hard drive with ₿7,500 on it in 2013 as did Gizmodo journalist Campbell Simpson who discarded a drive containing ₿1,400. These amounts pale into insignificance in comparison to two particular inaccessible wallets – Satoshi Nakamoto’s original Bitcoin wallets contain something in the region of ₿980,000 while Craig Wright’s Tulip Trust, should it exist, is thought to contain some ₿1.1 million. Whether true or not, this story acts as another cautionary tale to always ensure your crypto is safely stored offline is possible with your passphrase correctly recorded but also securely hidden.