Without losing money on investments or having money stolen by hackers, some crypto owners have lost everything for unbelievable reasons.
After several strong bull runs, many Bitcoin holders became rich in a short time. However, some owners are sorry to be “missing millionaires” by losing their wallets containing Bitcoin.
Throw the wrong hard drive
The most damaging case belongs to James Howells, an engineer living in Newport (Wales). His mistake from 9 years ago recently started to stir again when he heavily spent up to 11 million USD to find the hard drive containing 7,500 Bitcoin (about 181 million USD). In 2013, Howells owned two hard drives, one with no data and the other with $7,500.
However, while cleaning the house, Howells accidentally dropped the wrong hard drive containing Bitcoin. Since then, he has been constantly working to recover his lost money.
In 2021, Howells announced a 12-month plan to scavenge hard drives in municipal landfills. He said he will use X-ray scanning equipment and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to support this process.
However, Howells’ plan quickly met with fierce opposition from the Newport city government due to environmental concerns. Although Howells offered to donate $76 million worth of Bitcoin to the city, the government kept a ban on him from finding the hard drive.
Not giving up hope, the Welsh engineer recently revealed that he will spend $ 11 million to dig up 110,000 tons of garbage. Howells’ assistants include a team of eight experts, a robot dog, and an AI-integrated classifier.
Forgot wallet password
Stefan Thomas, a German programmer, owns a wallet containing 7,002 BTC (about 161 million USD) but does not remember the password. The IronKey hard drive allows Thomas to enter his password up to 10 times. Thomas entered the wrong password 8 times. If he continues to enter incorrectly on the last 2 attempts, he will lose all the Bitcoins in his wallet.
Years later, Thomas said he was beginning to calm down about the huge sums of money. After his story was shared in the New York Times, hundreds of people from around the world contacted Howells for advice. Some referred him to a psychic, others advised him to try a nootropic, a drug that enhances memory.
However, Thomas insists he only retells the story to remind Bitcoin buyers not to make the same mistake. Thomas advises people to be especially careful with passwords to access crypto wallets.
Lost Bitcoins Because of Jail
In early 2017, Clifton Collins, an Irish drug dealer, faced a difficult problem: how to hide more than $130 million worth of illegal Bitcoins from the police.
Collins’ solution was to create 12 new crypto wallets, then divide the 6,000 Bitcoins equally among the wallets. Next, Collins carefully printed the account information and password on an A4 sheet of paper and stored it in a fishing rod box at his rented house in Galway (Ireland). At the time, the drug dealer was convinced it was a good idea.
Not long after, police arrested Collins after discovering $2,000 worth of marijuana in his car. Collins was sentenced to five years in prison. The owner decided to clean up the house, including the fishing rod container.
According to the Irish Time, waste from the dump has been shipped to Germany and China for incineration. The box was never found.
My mother threw away the old computer
An anonymous Reddit user claims to have bought 10,000 Bitcoins in 2010 for around £50 ($60). By 2014, this person was amazed to realize that the value of Bitcoins had increased to 300 million pounds ($360 million).
At first, he only tried to buy Bitcoin because he was persuaded by a college roommate. After graduating, he completely forgot about the money. It wasn’t until cryptocurrencies started to gain attention that Reddit users remembered their purchase of 10,000 Bitcoins four years ago.
However, when he returned home to find his old laptop with his account information, he discovered that his mother had thrown it out.
In a 2019 Reddit post, he shared that he felt “angry, confused, shocked, and many other emotions”. The person said he had “literally fainted” and suffered “a mental breakdown for a long time”.
Don’t leave information to your loved ones before you die
Matthew Mellon once ranked 5th in Forbes’ list of the top 10 cryptocurrency millionaires in the world. He is best known for his large investments in XRP (Ripple), a coin built with the purpose of facilitating banking transactions.
In 2018, he died suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 54, leaving behind a fortune worth more than $500 million worth of XRP. However, his family never had access to that money.
Matthew Mellon stores almost all of his XRP in cold wallets across the US. A cold wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that is not connected to the Internet to avoid security risks and requires a private key to open them. Both the wallet location and the private key remain a mystery to the Mellon family.