Bitcoin is once again in the news as its price continues to go up and down. While some people are obviously excited about this, there’s a bunch of people out there feeling pain because they can’t actually access their cryptocurrency.
This is because of how some people store their Bitcoin. While you can use something like Coinbase to access your crypto wallet, some Bitcoin owners, especially those that were around before things like Coinbase were available, had to manage their encrypted wallets manually.
This means that if you lost access to your password or recovery codes, you were basically screwed, and no one would be able to break in to retrieve the digital currency.
While that security is technically a good thing, it can be a huge pain for those that lost access.
These wallets are so secure that it is estimated that a staggering $140 billion worth of Bitcoin could be lost forever. That’s 20% of the entire supply or about 3.7 billion Bitcoin. These insights come from a new New York Times piece regarding Bitcoin, lost passwords, and the struggles users are facing as prices continue to soar.
It gets worse when you realize that most of these Bitcoin were obtained in the early days of the digital currency, back when the values were extremely low and people held hundreds and thousands of the coin.
While there are services that attempt to help customers recover access to their wallets, success rates are mixed, at best.
So, the lesson here? Keep those recovery codes and put them somewhere that is secure, safe, and easy to access, like a safe or safe deposit box.