Police seize $70 million worth of Bitcoin – but where’s the password?
Many people appreciate Bitcoin mainly because of its decentralisation and the anonymity that comes with it. However, a recent example from Germany once again makes clear that this can also bring disadvantages and dangers.
Recently, the German police convicted a man for installing malware on other people’s computers, which then mined Bitcoin and transferred it to the hacker’s crypto wallet. The prosecution seized Bitcoin worth over 70 million US dollars. The only problem with the case: neither the police nor the public prosecutor’s office have access to the Bitcoin in question. This is because the fraudster did not reveal the password of the Crypto Cash wallet and thus deprived the seized Bitcoin of their value. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Prosecutor Sebastian Murer made the following comments to Reuters on 5 February 2021:
‚We asked him for the password, but he didn’t tell us. Maybe he doesn’t know.
The news agency also reported that the prosecution had subsequently ensured that the convicted person no longer had access to the BTC wallet. Since the convicted person is most likely the only person who knows the access data, it can be assumed that the 1,700 BTC can be considered lost.
This is not the first time that Bitcoin has been lost
The New York Times published a current statistic on this from January 2021, which shows that about 20 percent of all Bitcoin have already been lost. It happens again and again that people simply forget the passwords to their crypto-wallets or can no longer find them. This also happened to Stefan Thomas, who was in possession of over 7,000 Bitcoins before he lost access to his wallet. As of today (9 February 2021), the Bitcoin would have a value of over 300 million US dollars. BTC ECHO reported on the case at the time.