2009: Man Buys 5000 Bitcoins For $27, Forgets About Them. 2013: Man Rediscovers His Bitcoins, Now Worth $886,000

from the valuable-information dept

Bitcoin shares with drones the unhappy distinction of being the subject of almost exclusively negative reports. Just as drones are usually doing bad things to people, so Bitcoins are usually helping people do bad things because of their supposed untraceability. So it makes a pleasant change to come across an upbeat Bitcoin story like this, as told by the Guardian:

Kristoffer Koch invested 150 kroner ($26.60) in 5,000 bitcoins in 2009, after discovering them during the course of writing a thesis on encryption. He promptly forgot about them until widespread media coverage of the anonymous, decentralised, peer-to-peer digital currency in April 2013 jogged his memory.
In those four years, his Bitcoin holding had become worth around $886,000 -- a rather nice gain on the original outlay. But the real moral here is not, as it might appear, that you should rush out and buy Bitcoins in the hope that they will be worth fabulous sums in a few years' time -- the continuing fluctuations in Bitcoin's value and doubts about its underpinnings make that a very risky proposition. Rather, the key thing to note is the following:
Bitcoins are stored in encrypted wallets secured with a private key, something Koch had forgotten.
Fortunately for him, Koch did manage to remember his password. But just imagine how he would have felt if he hadn't been able to recall his private key, and had meanwhile discovered that he had $886,000 worth of Bitcoins that he couldn't access. So the real moral here is this: make sure you back up all your passwords -- even the ones you think you'll never need again -- just in case.

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 3:59am

    Hopefully I purchased some bitcoin in 2009 too...

    I can't remember.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:04am

    Forget cocaine, bitcoin speculation ftw!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    LDoBe, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:23am

    In 1999 I was in 5th grade, and at school we played "Virtual Stock Market" for twelve weeks. I was the only kid who wanted to invest in commodities. All the other kids said I was a fool. I was made fun of. Worst of all was the rules said I could only invest in companies.
    The whole time I wanted to invest in gold. In 1999 gold was worth about $278 an ounce (averaged over the year). It made no large moves up or down. We were given two weeks to figure out where to invest and checked the numbers once a day in the newspaper. Every company I looked at fluctuated wildly compared to gold. But alas, I couldn't invest my virtual $20,000 in it.
    But then I saw reebok. It was nearly the cheapest stock in the whole NYSE. And it only went up or stayed the same! I invested everything in Reebok. By the end of the 12 weeks, I was richer than anyone else. Everyone bought Microsoft or Boeing, since that's where their parents worked, or wanted to work (I live in the Seattle area). During that 12 weeks, Microsoft fell (I can't remember why) and Boeing had a machinist Union strike. Needless to say Reebok only grew by about 1/20th of a percent, but that was a lot better than MS or Boeing.
    Ever since, I've wanted to buy gold anyway, and if I could have invested back then, I'd have a ton more money in gold than any of my idiot peers back then.

     

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  4.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:51am

    Re:

    Gold tends to soar in times of crisis exactly because of that. Safe, physical (ie: exists) way to keep your money. Even if the currency ceases to exist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    JustMe (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:05am

    Re: LDoBe

    I have almost exactly the same story (although mine occurred longer ago). I invested in farm futures and made a freaking killing over the term. Did have a bad moment when the instructor claimed I hadn't followed the rules (presumably because my portfolio was worth more than his retirement account), but I pointed out the assignment rules said only that we were to invest in "the market" and that neither stocks nor futures were explicitly allowed or denied. I suppose they didn't think that 7th graders knew about commodities?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:17am

    can he still get his money though, now the feds are seizing what they can and the USA says it is entitled to God knows how much?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    FaceBrook, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:24am

    The NSA could have been kind enough to let him know his forgotten investment was just ripe and remind him of it, but no...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:57am

    Re:

    I've heard of someone with a similar story, though I never played virtual stock market.

    He invested his virtual money 50/50 in Adobe and Macromedia because he liked both companies, while most of the people kept on buying and selling things each week. The teacher was really mad at him for in his view 'doing nothing' in the virtual stock exchange, especially when he got the best return on investment in the entire class when Adobe and Macromedia announced they were merging.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re:

    So the teacher wanted them to pretend to be day traders? Sounds like a way less valuable lesson than "do your research, invest, and be patient." I could see him being mad for not hedge against risk with more diversification.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:02am

    Bitcoins are too expensive to be worth using as money

    This story just shows exactly why Bitcoins will never be a currency, it's too unstable.

    According to my math, his bitcoins sold at $177.20 USD each. How often when you buy something do you spend over 177 dollars?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:07am

    Re: Bitcoins are too expensive to be worth using as money

    Yes...because as a digital currency you can't split it up using decimals. It's binary, right?
    /tard

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 7:07am

    Re: Bitcoins are too expensive to be worth using as money

    It's always the people who know the least about bitcoin who are the loudest in trying to tell everyone else why it won't work.

    Thanks for keeping the tradition alive!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    angelbar (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 7:13am

    Re: Bitcoins are too expensive to be worth using as money

    Its a freaking $177.20 bill you know?

    "How can I ever bought something with a $100 bill?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Re: Bitcoins are too expensive to be worth using as money

    Bitcoin won't work just like Apple, whos stock isn't worth $525.52 or anything....

    Bad example though cause no one buys anything Apple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    R.H. (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    He's not American and there are Bitcoin exchanges outside of the US so I'd say yes, he can get his money. In fact he's already cashed out 20% of it and bought an upscale apartment. Also, that $886,000 number is from April, if he hadn't cashed out some then, he'd have just over a million US dollars worth of Bitcoin as of yesterday.

     

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  16.  
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    PRMan, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

    Re:

    You can sign up with a US Bank account at Coinbase.com at any time. Their price is an average of all the exchanges. You get the price when you place the order.

    You can transfer Bitcoins in or out of your account whenever you want and can buy or sell to or from your bank account in 3-4 days (which is the bank's fault).

    Also, Bitstamp is taking international wires from US banks, but many US banks are starting to block those.

    Still, it's easy to buy Bitcoins if you want to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    PRMan, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Bitcoins are too expensive to be worth using as money

    If you want, you can send even 0.00000001 Bitcoin to someone. It's not worth anything in any country right now, but you can do it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Pitstopped, Dec 4th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Bitcoins are too expensive to be worth using as money

    It's funny when people reply on topics they really don't know about. There are thousands of businesses in the USA and abroad that accept Bitcoins as payment. There are also exchanges that trade the Bitcoins for real USD$. Many people have made serious money just like this person, and many have lost money too. So..... Bitcoins are worth about $1,200 each right now (12/4/13) The only way to pay a bill is with fractions of a Bitcoin. If you are interested in Bitcoins enough to read this article and posts, then don't reply until you have done more research and know what the hell you are talking about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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