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Man unable to access $350 million of Bitcoin responds to hacker who offered ‘solution’

Man unable to access $350 million of Bitcoin responds to hacker who offered ‘solution’

Stefan Thomas would be a millionaire from Bitcoin - if only he could access his crypto wallet.

Imagine making an absolute fortune in the crypto market - only to forget your password and find yourself unable to actually access the money.

Way back in 2011, Stefan Thomas accepted Bitcoin as payment for a small job he did, gambling on the currency ever becoming truly worth something.

At the time, 7,002 Bitcoins sounded fine, but wasn't exactly a fortune - fast forward more than a decade, though, and that wedge of crypto is worth a staggering amount of money.

Stefan Thomas/X

The market fluctuates a whole lot, but right now, 7,002 Bitcoins is valued at a whopping $360 million.

So, Thomas should be a multimillionaire, right? Well, he might be - but that's not how this story ends. His crypto was locked on a secure drive that he just so happens to have since lost the password for - meaning he's unable to access it.

Better yet, the drive is programmed to completely wipe its contents if he gets the password wrong 10 times, and he's so far used up eight of those attempts.

Needless to say, there's a lot on the line for Thomas, so he started talking to cybersecurity firms to see if he could find someone to help him crack the encryption.

Last year, a security firm called Unciphered gave Wired a big interview about how its team had seemingly managed to crack the exact model of the secure drive that Thomas' money is locked into.

d3sign / Getty

The details are fascinating and very technical - they basically successfully generated a password for the situation at hand, so they wanted to reach out to Thomas to see if he'd be interested in working with them on the crypto haul.

However, Thomas had an interesting response - he told Wired: "I have already been working with a different set of experts on the recovery so I'm no longer free to negotiate with someone new.

"It's possible that the current team could decide to subcontract Unciphered if they feel that's the best option. We'll have to wait and see."

This sounds a little bit like Thomas already signed a contract or some form of binding agreement with another firm, and therefore can't jump ship. That's a heck of a bind, though, given the evidence of success that Unciphered seems to have produced.

It wouldn't be much of a surprise if Thomas is sweating bullets about the whole Bitcoin situation, although since Wired's piece back in October 2023, there doesn't seem to have been any more news.

Whatever happens, it's a stressful situation - although we'd probably rather have a tiny chance at $360 million than none at all.

Featured Image Credit: X/@justmoon /Westend61/Getty