The most recent addition to the long lineage of those who almost ‘made it’ with crypto is Stefan Thomas, a San Francisco-based programmer. He has a wallet with 7002 Bitcoin in it, but no password.
The wallet Stefan Thomas holds his Bitcoin on harkens back to 2010, a time when the currency would freely be given to anyone who asked. ‘Satoshi’, the anonymous, Banksy-esque developer (or team of developers) behind the blockchain-based currency, would literally send anyone who messaged them 50 Bitcoin to play around with.
Thomas played around with it and eventually made a YouTube video explaining what Bitcoin was, and how it could be used in the future. People liked the video and gave him Bitcoin as thanks for his work.
In 2010 each coin was worth a measly $10 each. In the time since then Thomas has let it roll, and gradually snowball, into the mammoth fortune it is worth now. He has the Bitcoin safely locked away on an IronKey, a password protected flash drive which will scramble its contents after 10 incorrect attempts.
The password is less safely stored on a piece of paper that Thomas lost, which has got to sting. He’s currently put eight attempts into trying to pop the IronKey open but has had no luck so far.
He’s far from the only person this has happened to; of the 18.5 million Bitcoin currently floating around it’s estimated that roughly 20% of all the Bitcoin in existence have been lost or locked away for good. That’s $181 billion AUD that people have lost behind the digital couch. Ooooft.