According to a report by the Irish Times, a drug dealer lost close to $58 worth of Bitcoin after he lost the private keys to his Bitcoin wallet. The criminal had written down the access code on an A4 paper, which he hid in a fishing rod case.
Bitcoin Private Key – Bye Bye
The Irish drug lord, Clifton Collins, had hidden the private keys in a fishing rod case that was sent to a landfill site. In total, Collins had a fortune of 6000 Bitcoin. The loss occurred in 2017 after Collins was arrested. After his arrest, his landlord cleared out his apartment and sent everything to a landfill in County Galway. Unfortunately, he did not know that Collins had hidden private keys to his Bitcoin wallet in a fishing rod case earlier that year.
The report claims that workers do remember seeing discarded fishing gear. However, all waste from the landfill is sent to incinerators in Germany and China. At the current rate, Collins is estimated to have lost around $58 million of ill-gotten wealth.
The drug dealer had spread his Bitcoin across 12 online wallets, which he allegedly amassed between 2011 and 2012 from the sale of Cannabis. Irish authorities are aware of the accounts and they are actively monitoring them. However, they have no way of accessing them without access to the private keys.
Private keys for crypto wallets are usually a long series of numbers and letters that are impossible for any ordinary person to remember. Without this alphanumeric code, it is impossible to access a Bitcoin wallet or transfer the funds to another account.
Bitcoin Lost Thus Far
A study conducted by Chainalysis in 2017 estimated that about four million Bitcoins had been lost forever, which is about 20 percent of all Bitcoin. However, this is not the biggest loss of Bitcoin. In 2013, James Howells, an IT specialist from Wales, lost 7,500 Bitcoin after he threw out a computer hard drive containing his Bitcoin. During a 2017 interview, Howells said that he had good days and bad days when he thought about the loss. However, he was good overall. He added that there was no point in crying about it.
How To Keep Your Bitcoin Private Keys Safe?
While storing your private keys on a piece of paper is foolproof, it also comes with challenges. For instance, if the paper is degraded by the elements, you have lost access to your Bitcoin forever. A safer option is a metallic card, where you get the private key embossed on a stainless steel card. Ensure that you store this device in a secure location such as a safety deposit box.
You could also store your private key in an electronic device such as an old phone that you no longer use. However, you must keep in mind that no matter what you do, your private key is your cryptocurrencies. If you do not keep the private key safe, you will never access the wallet.
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