The World’s Most Expensive Cryptocurrency Slip-Up: A blog about the fortune one man lost.
Last week I was approached by a young man from the UK with a strange story. He came to me with an interesting problem. His name was James and he had lost his entire life savings in an investment when he “fell asleep at the wheel”.
James, a 32-year-old IT consultant, lives in London with his wife and two kids. In early 2016, he decided to cash out his savings of £140,000 ($190,000) and invest it in cryptocurrency. James had been interested in Bitcoin since 2011 but never got round to investing until 2016 (when Bitcoin’s value rose above $1000).
His original plan was to buy and hold Bitcoin as long term investment. However, over time he became more intrigued by other cryptocurrencies after seeing their enormous gains. He started buying into ICOs and trading on exchanges like Poloniex and Bittrex. He even managed to convince his brother Joe to invest some money too!
James’ strategy of buying crypto and holding it paid off big time in 2017 (the year that crypto went mainstream). Whilst the average return on investment for all cryptocurrencies was
For years, James Howells scoured the internet for a digital wallet containing 7,500 bitcoins which he mined in 2009. His search was in vain — until he accidentally stumbled upon it recently.
The world’s most expensive cryptocurrency slip-up happened to the IT worker when he set up the wallet during his lunch break at the end of 2009.
Back then, the currency was worth almost nothing, so Mr Howells kept only a fraction of it and threw away his hard drive after it broke.
Since then, bitcoin has gone on to become a household name and its value has soared — hitting $5,856 per coin this week.
Mr Howells’ initial coins would be worth more than £41 million ($54 million) right now.
The world’s most expensive cryptocurrency slip-up happened this week when a man threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins that would now be worth more than $140 million.
James Howells, an IT worker from Newport in the UK, bought his stash of bitcoins for just £300 ($390) in 2009, when the digital currency was still relatively unknown.
He was in the process of upgrading his hard drive to a newer model when he realized that he had thrown out the wrong one, including the bitcoin wallet file.
The hard drive is now sitting somewhere under tons of trash at a landfill site near his home. Howells told a local news site earlier this year that he had done “literally everything I could” to try and get it back—he even hired an excavator to dig up part of the site—but to no avail.
In the space of a few hours, a fortune worth nearly $400 million dollars disappeared before his eyes.
Hodler (a pseudonym) said he made the mistake after updating his Electrum wallet. It was later found that an update to the wallet software had introduced two malicious files into the installation process that would steal funds from users who attempted to upgrade their wallets.
Hodler said he began to realize what was happening as soon as he saw his balance drop below 100 BTC. Hodler has since filed a police report, and informed Electrum about this attack vector by opening an issue on GitHub. He has also contacted Europol and other cybersecurity companies in an effort to recover his lost funds.
The hackers are believed to be based in Germany, but it remains unclear if they are German nationals or residents of Germany.
Hodler describes himself as a “crypto enthusiast” who has been involved in cryptocurrencies since 2011. He said he lost money during MtGox’s collapse, but has been able to build up his holdings over time by investing in altcoins and trading on local exchanges.
It’s a big loss for Hodler, but he is not alone in losing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency over the years due to
One of the many fears that came to mind as cryptocurrency prices increased in rapid succession was the fear of losing it all. For some, these fears were realized. One man lost his entire fortune worth approximately $400 million dollars in Bitcoin when he threw out a hard drive.
This man, James Howells, was an early adopter of Bitcoin who mined 7500 coins between 2009 and 2013. He stored them on a hard drive which he discarded after being unable to find it later. In 2013, when Howells discarded the hard drive, each Bitcoin was worth $120. Today that same coin is worth over $5200 dollars, leaving Howells with a total loss of $400 million.
The 11-year-old Irish boy who was reported to have accidentally thrown away over $110 million worth of Bitcoin is far from the only person to have lost a small fortune due to a careless mistake.
In fact, losing cryptocurrency due to carelessness is a pretty common occurrence.
The most famous example was probably the case of James Howells, an IT worker from Newport, Wales who threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 Bitcoins that he had mined between 2009 and 2013. The total value at the time of writing: over $274 million.
Howells assumed that, since they were worthless at the time (they were trading at less than $1 each), he would have no need for them in the future. But as we all know by now, Bitcoin became a global phenomenon and is now worth around $10,000 each.
Howells threw away his hard drive in 2013, but only realized what he had done four years later when he heard about how much Bitcoin was worth. He searched all over his property for it but could not find it anywhere.
One of my friends made an early investment in Bitcoin, which has turned out to be super lucrative. I’ve talked with him about it, and he is a total expert, so I trust him to make smart decisions. He also convinced me to invest in Ethereum and Litecoin.
I was really excited last week when he told me he had invested in a new cryptocurrency called Edgeless. He said his research showed that it was a great investment opportunity, plus the Edgeless team was going to use the funds from their ICO to develop an online casino platform that would accept bets exclusively in Edgeless tokens.
At first I was a bit confused about what an ICO is, but he explained that it is like crowdfunding, except you get tokens that you can later sell on cryptocurrency exchanges, or use to play at the casino if they work out their licensing issues.
He sent me some links and I did some research on the company, and it sounded really promising. The price of one token was $0.70. He said it might be worth as much as $20 by the end of next year! I didn’t have a lot of cash available, but I decided to spend $1000 on this new opportunity.
The next day,