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Man had two guesses to remember forgotten password or lose $240 million in Bitcoin

Man had two guesses to remember forgotten password or lose $240 million in Bitcoin

He had already got eight guesses wrong

One man had just two guesses to remember his forgotten password or else he would lose $240 million in Bitcoin.

Now, we've all been there where we've forgotten the password to one of our many accounts online.

But luckily it's always only a matter of hitting 'forgot password' and resetting it to something that you'll actually remember next time.

However, it was whole other story for Stefan Thomas, a German-born programmer living in San Francisco, when he was left with just two guesses to figure out the decade-old password keeping his Bitcoin fortune safe.

Back in 2011, Thomas took to YouTube to upload the short clip titled: "What is Bitcoin? (v1)"

Just over a minute long, the video was made for a Bitcoin enthusiast based in Switzerland and, for his trouble, Stefan was paid in Bitcoin as compensation.

To be exact, the programmer was awarded 7,002 Bitcoins which, at the time, were worth just a measly $2 each.

Programmer Stefan Thomas had just two guesses to remember his password keeping his $240 million Bitcoin fortune safe.
Twitter/Stefan Thomas

Now, while that still would have given a $14,004 yield which is pretty decent for a minute-long animation video - the value of those same coins then skyrocketed in value.

Each coin soon became worth approximately $34,500, making his collection now worth a staggering $241,569,000.

Sounds like a total dream come true - right?


Unfortunately for Thomas, he was hit with some major brain fog and couldn't remember the password to his encrypted IronKey hard drive where he kept his Bitcoin.

And to make matters even worse? He had actually written the password on a piece of paper to avoid a situation like this but he'd lost it.

Now, this hard drive isn't your average piece of tech.

It's so secure that it gives whoever is trying to access it just 10 guesses to figure out the password before it encrypts itself, making the contents inaccessible to anyone - even its rightful owner.

Thomas tried his luck at guessing his password eight times, but none of these attempts were successful.

Thomas couldn't remember the password to his encrypted hard drive.

Unluckily for the programmer, that means he had just two guesses left before his fortune was lost forever.

Speaking to the New York Times back in 2021, he said: "I would just lay in bed and think about it.

"Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn't work, and I would be desperate again."

Opening up about how the whole ordeal affected his mental health, Thomas also told Berliner Zeitung: "I was absolutely desperate.

"I couldn't sleep for nights. I even suffered from depression.

"But much worse than the loss of the money was my self-reproach: I simply couldn't believe I had lost something so important. I felt like a complete idiot, my self-esteem was in the basement."

For now, Thomas has locked his IronKey in a secure facility - just in case.

He added: "I got to a point where I said to myself, 'Let it be in the past, just for your own mental health'."

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Coindesk/Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

Topics: Bitcoin, Money, Technology, World News, US News