Stefan Thomas, the programmer who could lose $260 million worth of bitcoin because he can’t remember his password, said there’s “no chance” he’ll ever recoup his lost fortune, calling it a “painful memory.”
“It’s not like I barely don’t remember it,” Thomas told NBC’s “Today” show. “It’s there’s no chance of remembering something that complicated from 10 years ago.”
Thomas lost the password for his IronKey hard drive, which contains the keys to a digital wallet with 7,002 bitcoin. The hard drive gives users 10 guesses to remember their password before the content is lost forever. Thomas has used eight of those 10 attempts and come up empty every time.
The price of one bitcoin was $39,601 as of Thursday morning.
“I tried to pick a very secure one because I was very concerned about losing those coins,” Thomas added in the interview. “I’d just like lay in bed and come up with a new way to recover it and it wouldn’t work and I would try another way and it wouldn’t work either.”
Thomas, who is the co-creator of Interledger, which describes itself as “an open protocol for payments across payment networks,” has become something of an Internet celebrity with many trying to help him recover his lost fortune. However, he’s noted it’s a painful memory and hopes that others can learn from his mistake.
“A painful memory. I hope others can learn from my mistakes,” Thomas tweeted on Tuesday. “Test your backups regularly to make sure they are still working. An ounce of foresight could have prevented a decade of regret.”
Despite the lost fortune, Thomas appears to be having some fun with his newfound celebrity.
When asked if there was any “hope” of remembering the password, Thomas said clinging on to that is hard.
“In some ways, that hope makes it that more difficult,” Thomas said of the lost fortune. “It’d be easier if you can just let it be in the past and forget about it.”
Launched in 2009, bitcoin is the world’s largest cryptocurrency. Unlike typical currency, bitcoin “is created, distributed, traded and stored with the use of a decentralized ledger system known as a blockchain.” However, its anonymous nature makes it also an impediment for those who have lost or forgotten their password or key.
About 20% of the existing 18.5 million bitcoin are inaccessible because they’re either in “lost or stranded wallets,” according to the New York Times, which cites cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis. As a result, roughly $140 billion in bitcoin has been lost or stranded.
Fox News’ Brooke Crothers contributed to this story.