NY Times – Programmer Stefan Thomas finds himself in the undesirable situation of having about $ 220 million in bitcoin inaccessible because he forgot his digital wallet password. He had been using a physical security hardware system called IronKey for ten years , which keeps his access keys. The device allows users ten guesses before it encrypts the data indefinitely . After having already tried 8 times, he is now left with only two attempts before he loses his millions forever !
The first director of Ripple technology, the company responsible for cryptocurrency namesake (XRP), said in an interview with The New York Times that in 2011 received 7,002 bitcoins , which he stored in a digital wallet whose key was stored on the IronKey security apparatus. Thomas has already tried 8 times to guess the password and failed; two more mistakes and he will definitely lose access, and with that his fortune.
This password was written down on a piece of paper that the programmer had lost many years ago. “I just lay in bed and think about it,” said Thomas. “So, I went to the computer with some new strategy, and it didn’t work, and I was desperate again.”
One of the technological fundamentals behind decentralized digital currencies like bitcoin is to make the user the total administrator of his money, but that also comes with extra responsibilities. According to Thomas, “the reason we have banks is that we don’t want to deal with all the things they do”.
Digital systems that act as proxies between the crypto and their buyers are much more secure and affordable than in 2011. Banks and digital wallets like PayPal can provide users with password reminder or reset services. Ten years ago, Thomas used the bitcoin system itself, which allows anyone to create a wallet without having to register with a financial institution or undergo any type of identity verification.
The programmer hopes that cryptographers will, one day, discover a way to break very complex combinations.
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