One of the selling points of cryptocurrency is its security; the ability to own it and transfer it anonymously. This is what is keeping the hands of the German Police and government from a confiscated wallet containing $60 Million in bitcoin because the owner simply won’t give them its password.
The owner of the wallet was sentenced and has served jail time for covertly installing bitcoin mining software on people’s computers. However, as the wallet is with the German authorities but they can’t lay hands on it because he won’t tell them how to.
“We asked him but he didn’t say,” a prosecutor told Reuters.
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The story brings to mind a recent story in The New York Times about a programmer who locked his bitcoin but couldn’t remember the password. German-born programmer living in San Francisco, Stefan Thomas had kept his bitcoin fortune locked away in a secure hard drive and then couldn’t access it.
Around 20 percent of bitcoin in existence today are completely lost or inaccessible in wallets with lost passwords. This also means that they are completely inaccessible. This totals around $140 billion.
Back to the original story, German prosecutors have “ensured the man cannot access [his] largesse,” according to Reuters. However, the authorities are unable to access it either. Except he later has a change of heart in the future, the amount of lost bitcoin just increased.
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