The drama of a man who has two attempts to recover his more than 7 thousand bitcoins

Stephan Thomas is a German programmer who knew about bitcoin in its first years of existence, so he was able to buy 7,002 bitcoins at a very low price. However, despite the fact that to date he has accumulated a fortune of more than USD 200 million in this cryptocurrency as a result of the last increase, he has forgotten his password and does not have access to his bitcoin wallet.

This young programmer was saving his bitcoins in an encrypted storage device called IronKey, which contains the keys to access the digital wallet and spend the accumulated bitcoins. 

IronKey gives users 10 chances to correctly enter the corresponding password before forever locking and encrypting the information inside, it says. with the BBC. The problem is, Stephan lost the piece of paper where he wrote down his password a long time ago and has only two more tries left. 

“Bitcoin is a decentralized system, so there is no one to call to get a new password. There are some options that in the future I can recover them physically, but they are really very slim, ”Stephan told the BBC.

At a time when the whole world is paying attention to Bitcoin and many are benefiting from its value, Thomas is not the only one in a similar situation.

In fact, approximately 20% of the more than 18 million bitcoins mined belong to holders who no longer have access to their passwords or simply forgot them, according to Chainalysis estimates.

Most of these unlucky or not very diligent people who cannot access their great fortunes are investors or enthusiasts who acquired bitcoins several years ago when the popular cryptocurrency was still not very well known. 

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Adolfo Morán
Adolfo is Founder and Executive Director of Lawgic Tec, a non-profit association dedicated to research on law and new technologies. Lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP); specialized in Financial Law, FinTech, Financial Consumer Protection, Smart Contracts, Blockchain and Crowdfunding. Researcher accredited by the PUCP. Co-organizer of the Ethereum community from Lima, Peru. Email:


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