Lost Bitcoins: can your fortune be saved?
Lost Bitcoins are not only annoying, they can even represent the loss of a fortune for some unlucky owners. Of course, the risk is well known in traditional currencies. Everyone knows how easy it is to lose a purse or to accidentally leave a £10 note in your jeans pocket before putting them in the washing machine.
Although Bitcoin doesn't use physical coins or notes, it is still possible to lose valuable coins. Many people cleverly invested years ago and bought small amounts of the digital currency. These coins could be worth a fortune today, and losing them means losing a lot of money.
Whether it's a forgotten password or a broken hard drive, there are many ways in which you can lose Bitcoins. If you can't access your own coins, there is good news and bad news. The bad news first: if you've lost access to your Bitcoins, you have no chance of getting them back.
The good news: if you've sufficiently secured them, you can easily recover your lost coins. It's a growing problem. The value of all lost Bitcoins is now estimated to be more than 30 billion euros. This is why we've written this article to summarize everything you need to know about lost Bitcoins.
Lost Bitcoins in old wallets
At the beginning of the Bitcoin era, many joined the adventure and bought a few Bitcoins. In 2009, it still looked like a game, but it is now a big deal. Since its inception, the value of Bitcoin has increased by several thousand percent.
If you bought a few Bitcoins in the beginning, you may have a fortune today. However, it is vital that you can still access your old wallet from this time, and it's even more important that you can still remember your old password.
If you don't have any recollection of it at all, you have no chance. Without access to the old wallet, the coins are lost forever. As people begin to remember their old Bitcoins, services are currently booming, promising to restore wallets.
Lost Bitcoins can only be used if the password can be reconstructed. Anyone who used phrases from publicly accessible texts has some hope of a fully restored wallet. For everyone else, the enormous data security of the Bitcoin network does not bode well.
A successful hack of a lost wallet is considered almost impossible. Some investors have even tried hypnosis, in the hope of recalling the memory of the lost password.
Lost Bitcoins: incorrectly sent or stolen
Like letters or emails, Bitcoins are also sent to an address. Like letters or emails, they can also end up being sent to the wrong recipient. This is why you should always copy and paste the destination address when sending Bitcoins.
Once you have sent the coins to the wrong address, they are usually lost. As a rule, the anonymous recipient will be very happy about the new coins. However, there is little chance of getting a real address with a typo. In general, the transaction will fail. Nevertheless, one should understand the risk and check carefully when sending Bitcoins.
Another problem is attacks on large Bitcoin exchanges. Several thefts of this nature have been noted. If your coins have been stolen, you will never get them back. However, you can protect yourself from loss through theft. If you save your Bitcoins on different wallets with high-security barriers, theft is unlikely. If an attack should succeed, at least your loss will be reduced.
Avoid loss: how to protect Bitcoins properly
The Bitcoin network is considered extremely secure, but as always with computer security, nothing is safe when you choose a weak password. However, the problem with strong passwords is that they are so hard to remember.
If you want to protect your Bitcoin wallet optimally, but do not want to lose access, you have to follow some rules. One basic rule is to store your coins in different wallets. In addition, there should always be at least two backup copies. Lost Bitcoins are not normally retrievable. Optimum safety is, therefore, a must.
Protect Bitcoins with backups
All electronic storage media carries the risk of data loss. In order not to have to spend a lot of time trying to save lost Bitcoins, backups are mandatory. Technically, this is fairly easy. A wallet can be easily secured on two USB sticks.
Practically, however, human laziness often gets in the way. If you don't back up your wallet after every transaction, you risk losing all your saved coins. Ultimately, users are responsible for sufficiently securing their Bitcoins. Lost Bitcoins are easily preventable.