Former Ripple CTO Risks Losing $277 Million in Bitcoin due to Terrible Password Management

Stefan Thomas

Stefan Thomas has become a trending topic in the crypto space since he admitted that he no longer has access to his Bitcoin portfolio, which holds $245 million worth of crypto.

Stefan Thomas, who was previously the former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Ripple, revealed that he has made eight failed attempts to access the Bitcoin with his most commonly used password, all to no avail. Two more failed attempts and the iron-key hard drive where all the coins are stored will auto-encrypt its contents, consigning his fortune to dust.

The former Ripple CTO said that he received over 7,002 Bitcoin ten years ago when he made a cryptocurrency explainer video. Back then, Bitcoin was worth between $2 and $6. He then lost the paper where he wrote down the password for his IronKey.


Bitcoin surge after Stefan Thomas loss

The price of Bitcoin has risen by several thousand dollars and is now worth $39,551 (press time), making his stash worth nearly $277 million.

In the last eight months alone, Bitcoin has been on an extraordinary and volatile run making several hodlers very rich in a short time. In the last three months, the crypto price surged from $10,000 to $41,000.

Bitcoin price chart since April 1, 2020 Photo credit: Coingecko

Several others face a similar fate

Just like Thomas is at risk of losing several million in Bitcoin, many others risk a similar fate as they find themselves locked out of their Bitcoin fortunes for various reasons.

They have kept on watching, unable to cash in on their digital wealth as the price has risen and fallen sharply.

Chainalysis reports that of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin, around 20 percent – currently worth around $140 billion -appear to be in lost or otherwise stranded wallets.

Bitcoin owners locked out of their wallets speak of endless days and nights of frustration as they have tried to access their fortunes. Below are some of their tales.

Brad Yasar is an entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. He has a few desktop computers that contain thousands of Bitcoin he created or mined during the early days of the technology.

He said he has spent hundreds of hours to get back into the wallets. He said he has lost his passwords many years ago and has put the hard drives containing them in vacuum-sealed bags, out of sight.

“I don’t want to be reminded every day that what I have now is a fraction of what I could have that I lost,” he said.

Similarly, Gabriel Abed, an entrepreneur in Barbados, lost around 800 Bitcoin now worth around $25 million when a colleague reformatted a laptop that contained the private keys to a Bitcoin wallet in 2011.