Stefan Thomas is a computer programmer from San Francisco who a decade ago earned a whopping 7,002 bitcoins as a reward for making a video explaining how cryptocurrency works. At the time it was paid, they were worth $ 2-6 each. He kept them in his “digital wallet” in an IronKey, an encrypted hard drive and never thought about it again. To date, his bitcoins are worth over 220 million euros, but Thomas has forgotten the password that will unlock his fortune.
Thomas, of German origin, has already entered the wrong password eight times, and if he makes two more mistakes, his hard drive, which contains the fortune in bitcoin, will be locked forever. Even Bitcoin may not be able to help, as it does not store passwords, but rather gives those who buy bitcoins a private key for their digital wallet, to which only they have access.
An unnerving wait
“I would go to bed and try to remember my password,” Thomas said of various attempts over the years. “Then I went to the computer with some new strategy. Each time it was not the right password, and I went back to despair ”. As of now, Thomas said he has put IronKey in a "secure facility" in hopes that cryptographers can finally help him access his digital wallet.
In addition to keeping his cryptocurrency safe password, Thomas told the Times editorial team that he did it too to protect his mental health. "I got to a point where I said to myself, 'Forget it, it's about mental health,'" he commented.