By Bit2buzz on The Capital
Everyone in the crypto space makes use of their virtual wallet to store their digital assets and the same goes for Bitcoin. Consider a digital asset wallet like your bank account, where you deposit your money and withdraw whenever you want to. Even though wallets are safe, most people have argued that hackers use tricks to gain access to online wallets, hence the need for a cold or offline wallet. Realistically, the way banks loophole can be exploited and money stolen, an exchange can be exploited and your funds carted away. The most secure wallets are offline wallets where you can monitor your funds without having to be afraid of your funds getting stolen.
The story of Bitcoin’s existence is exciting for many reasons, one such reason is that there are only 21 million bitcoins in existence. However, ever wondered what happens to those bitcoins which have been lost? Or perhaps, Bitcoins of a person who has died?
Essentially, these idle or unused bitcoins just stay on the blockchain until someone has access to its private key to use or move them to other bitcoin wallet address. However, the saddest part is that if you do not have the private key to these unused bitcoins, they are lost forever as there’s no way of analyzing the accessibility of these bitcoins.
Besides death, other reasons for losing bitcoin could be hardware failures or simply carelessness at some point. Let us remind you about James Howells, a Newport man who had lost the hard drive that contained 7500 bitcoins. He reportedly obtained these bitcoins in 2009 and left it in a drawer for years.
“When I found out what the price was, the penny dropped and I realized the coins I have ‘mined’ were on the drive I had thrown away,” said Mr. Howells.
“There was not a lot I could do.”
This is one tricky question that should be answered in the most mundane way possible so as not to get people confused. If suddenly a person discovers that he has lost his digital assets storage keys, he might feel the assets are lost forever. With the increase in the rush for Bitcoin, a huge number of old exchanges are trying to help people get back their lost Bitcoin back and there are YouTube tutorials on how to get lost Bitcoins back.
If a person loses a Bitcoin, he can contact the exchange to see if there is any hope to help him recover it. Talking about recovering Bitcoin, digital asset researcher, Greg Schvey said;
“Presumably the rate of losing coins will go down because people are very much careful about how they are stored. People are investing so much money into mining Bitcoin, they’ll take proper practices.”
Just like the way people in investments have a safe that they keep their important files in their offices, there are ways to ensure that your bitcoins would never get lost. Even if they do, your chances of getting them back would be very high. Firstly, a Bitcoin wallet should always be locked with an encrypted key using the aid of password managers. Secondly, offline wallets also known as cold storage should be used, another substitute for an offline wallet is the hardware store. Finally, upgrading your wallet and enabling two-factor authentication code to secure it.
Who do I contact when I lose my Bitcoin?
Firstly, if you own a wallet on an exchange, then your digital assets have a high chance of getting stolen. Because most sites have one loophole or the other that can be exploited, your Bitcoins might actually be gone before you realize. When you realize you have lost your Bitcoin, send a message across to the help desk of your exchange and tell them of the loss. They are the only ones that can help you check from their records if someone gained access to your wallet and stole your funds and if this happens, they are liable to refund you your assets or the equivalent in cash.
According to recent researches, about 23% of the total Bitcoin in circulation has been lost, stolen, or are unrecoverable. Even though unlike Bitcoin and other crypto assets, fiat currencies are not easily misplaced, the lost tokens are said to be lost forever without any means of being able to recover them. Statistics show that if the majority of the users that lost their Bitcoin used cold storage, then they might not have lost this much.