Christy Somos
CTVNewsca writer


Bitcoin, the short-lived cryptocurrency currently making a high in the market, has also provided some of the lowest lows for those who have forgotten or misplaced the passwords to their digital wallets

According to cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis, around 20 percent of existing Bitcoin – currently valued at around $ 140 billion – appears to be in lost or otherwise stranded wallets

And while it seems like a simple thing to write down a password in a safe place, the reality of owning Bitcoin in a volatile market is an entirely different experience

“Owning Bitcoin is a bit like having a passphrase that is very long, and we know people have a terrible recall of their passphrases,” said Diogo Monica, co-founder and president of cryptocurrency security firm Anchorage on CTV Your Morning Friday

“Now imagine that this passphrase has a value in the tens or hundreds of millions,” said Monica. “This is part of the technology called the ‘carrier tool’ That means it works just like the money in your wallet ”

“If you lose your wallet, you lose your money and there is no way to get it back The same goes for Bitcoin ”

The story of San Francisco-based investor Stefan Thomas, who lost the password to his roughly $ 140 million Bitcoin wallet, made headlines when he found out he only had two out of ten attempts on his password device to access his fortune – and he’s not the only one

Gerald Cotten, the CEO of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX, died unexpectedly in 2019 while on a trip to India.He alone knew the passwords for the company’s offshore wallets and abandoned Quadriga – unable to access Bitcoin and other 180 million worth of digital assets US dollars received

Monica said that most of the cases of individuals, not companies, forgetting their passwords come from the time between buying Bitcoin and the price spike – sometimes years later –

“A lot of people who lost Bitcoin didn’t lose it when it’s 35Is worth a thousand dollars You lost Bitcoin because it was worth a dollar, five dollars, ten dollars when you invested it”You bought some and then forgot, and suddenly the price went up so dramatically that those kinds of values ​​- a few hundred dollars – nine years ago, seven years ago, are now worth hundreds of millions,” he said

Monica explained that anyone who is investing heavily in Bitcoin now is not using a small, consumer-grade device for this very reason

“If you’ve lost the password and you don’t remember any aspects, the chances are basically zero,” said Monica, trying to recover it

But all of that changes depending on what type of digital wallet you have and how much is in it

“If you’ve lost the password for a hardware wallet – let’s say you’ve forgotten the PIN – there might be a chance you could recover it, especially with $ 200 million on the line,” said Monica

“Anyone who’s a security buff would definitely take 10 percent of that to spend months working on destroying that particular wallet and they are likely to be successful””

The company claims to have helped thousands of customers restore their fortune by finding lost digital keys and recovering passwords for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – for a standard 20 percent wallet value fee

On this December 8, 2017, file photo, coins are displayed next to a Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong (AP Photo / Kin Cheung, file)

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World News – CA – “Chances are Basically Zero” to Recover Some Millions’ worth of Bitcoin Passwords: Cryptocurrency Firm