Man’s memory lapse may cost him $238 million

We’ve all had those moments when you reset, empty your cache and dump your cookies that the autofill doesn’t do its job, and fill in those long-ignored passwords.

Or worse, you scribble a password on a piece of paper, then lose that paper, along with any recollection of what letter, number, special character combination you used.

But has the memory lapse cost you $238 million?

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That is exactly what may happen to Stefan Thomas.

Thomas received 7,002 bitcoins as payment for making a video describing how cryptocurrency works, BBC News reported.

But now, Thomas is locked out of his Bitcoin account but the country only allows 10 tries when trying to get into your account before the balance is wiped.

He has only two more guesses left. If he enters the wrong code for a small hard drive called an IronKey, the drive is locked, and the fortune is gone, The New York Times reported.

Thomas’ conundrum isn’t new to him.

He actually told KGO that he realized he was locked out back in 2012.

“There were sort of a couple of weeks where I was just desperate. I don’t have any other word to describe it,” he told KGO. “You sort of question your own self-worth. What kind of person loses something that important.”

While he was panicked nine years ago, Thomas said he made peace with it.

But experts said that the trouble that Thomas is having is not that uncommon and that the Bitcoin system is meant to not be that easily accessible.

“The way Bitcoin works, and that this technology works, is that it’s all meant to be anonymous,” Ian Sharr, Editor at Large at CNET News, said, according to KGO. “But a lot of this data is actually hidden behind a specific password that you have to get into your account.”

Sharr said that when Bitcoin was in its infancy, people signed up, and they just wrote the password anywhere. Now they’re looking for a scrap of paper they used years ago to unlock their millions.

Cracking the code is a bit of a time-sensitive event as Bitcoin value fluctuates and can make someone very rich very quickly if used at the right time, the Times reported.

There is about 18.5 million Bitcoin with about 20% lost or stranded, cryptocurrency experts told the Times. The amount of money in digital purgatory is valued at about $140 billion, the Times reported.

The value of a single Bitcoin is about $34,000, BBC News reported.



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