Man Unintentionally Threw Away $79 Million Worth of BitcoinJune 4, 2018
After the death of Matthew Mellon on April 16 after a drug-related heart attack in Mexico, his family was unable to detect the passcode required to retrieve his fortune – which is said to worth for as much as $1 billion in XRP cryptocurrency.
Losing someone’s password is the kind of nightmare that troubles bitcoin investors. In fact, there are over three million bitcoin investors – averaging nearly $33 billion – lost due to the retrieval codes have gone missing or the currency died without rendering the codes onto their family or trusted ones.
James Howells lost his hard drive with all the keys to more than $79 million worth of bitcoin. According to Howells, he mined more than 7500 coins every week. The IT worker, who lives in Newport, Wales also explained about his hard drives which contain the codes.
“Four years later, two of my hard drives are in a desk drawer. One of the hard drives is empty, and the other one contained my bitcoin private keys,” he recalled. “I planned to throw away the empty hard drive – but I accidentally threw away the one that contains all my private keys and bitcoin information.”
In 2008, the alleged creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, distributed an open source code through which the bitcoins are “mined” by solving multifaceted calculation, via extremely powerful computers and embedded throughout the internet. Today, there is a finite number of over 22 million bitcoin users.
Part of the cryptocurrency’s charm is that – it is untraceable, anonymous, and no one can retrieve the private keys except the person who has the keys. It is randomly generated by the Bitcoin algorithm, which can be more than 50 characters long – and not a simple key which someone can memorize.
According to Brian Stoeckert, a legal consultant in the field of cryptocurrency, people put these keys in their USB’s, laptops and storage drivers. In case that someone who owns the private keys loses them without a backup, it will be a total misfortune.
With the case of Howells, he didn’t realize the value of his coins, after losing them for few weeks. Howells was pissed, annoyed and sick. Howells also said that people looked at him as a stupid man who threw away a hard drive worth $10 million. His story echoes and caught the attention and featured on the latest season of the HBO show – the Silicon Valley.