Mark Michaels from Pretoria, South Africa, mined 20 Bitcoin over ten years ago. Since the coins were practically worthless at the time, Michaels had not taken very good care of his wallet. He regrets that now.
The 24-year-old electronics engineer from South Africa could earn around one million US dollars from his ancient Bitcoins these days. The catch: he lost the key and password for his Bitcoin wallet. He had saved both in a text document on his desktop. At one point he deleted the file while cleaning up his computer.
In Michael’s defense it can be said that he had mined the 20 Bitcoin on a self-made PC in the child’s room when he was around 14 years old. At that time, its inventory was worth around 60 cents and there were no crypto exchanges.
“I think I used the original Bitcoin wallet software that required a wallet key and password,” he told South African tech magazine Mybroadband.
“At some point I got bored because there wasn’t much else you could do on the PC while he was mining, and the Bitcoin you mined was practically worthless,” says Michaels. He lost interest.
Recovery attempts fail
About seven years later, Bitcoin had risen to $ 1,000. Michaels remembered his 20 BTC and wanted it back.
“I remember collecting all the hard drives, memory sticks, CDs and DVDs around the house and carefully searching every single disk. That took about a week. I also tried running data recovery software on my main hard drive, but it didn’t do much good. At this point the hard drive had already been formatted and reused several times. “
Michaels has meanwhile – so he says – come to terms with the loss. He has now heard of many similar fates and describes himself as too far ahead of his time. Such things could happen to early adopters of new technologies.
Data from the crypto service provider Chainalysis could prove him right. According to this, around 20 percent of all Bitcoin worldwide have been “lost” or are in stranded wallets. Michael’s story is bad, but the story of programmer Stefan Thomas is far worse.
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