Lost Passwords Lock Millionaires Out of Their Bitcoin Fortunes

The New York Times (NYT) (01/12/2021)
  • Of the 18.5 million outstanding Bitcoin, almost 20% (currently worth $140B) is lost or stranded in digital wallets.
  • Many owners of these wallets invested in Bitcoin when it was nearly worthless a decade ago but forgot their passwords.
  • To access digital Bitcoin wallets, a password is needed to unlock a small hard drive (IronKey) containing private keys.
  • Programmer Stefan Thomas forgot the password to his wallet with $220M in Bitcoin.
  • 10 login attempts are allowed until wallets permanently lock; Thomas has 2 attempts left.