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.