Locked Out of Millions: The Former Ripple CTO’s Bitcoin Odyssey
An Enormous Fortune at Stake
A former Ripple CTO finds himself at the heart of a remarkable story, with $238 million worth of Bitcoin locked within a USB hardware wallet. The catch? He’s forgotten the password, and the device allows only two more attempts before it shreds his private keys.
Cracking the Code: White Hat Hackers to the Rescue?
Challenging the IronKey S200
In September, a group of white hat hackers from a Seattle startup lab showcased their ability to potentially crack the IronKey S200 thumb drive, which contains a staggering 7002 Bitcoins. Their proof caught the attention of a senior writer at WIRED Magazine.
Surprisingly, the former Ripple CTO, Stefan Thomas, turned down the Seattle startup, Unciphered’s offer to access the USB drive on his behalf.
Thomas’s Unique Approach to Recovery
Another Team in Play
Stefan Thomas explained his decision to WIRED, revealing that he had already engaged another team to work on the password recovery challenge. His intent is to provide this team with a fair opportunity to retrieve the 7002 Bitcoins before considering alternatives.
He hinted that if the current team fails to find a solution, they might explore collaboration with the Seattle-based firm, Unciphered.
The Quantum Threat to Cryptocurrencies
Cracking the Code: A Glimpse into the Future
The cybersecurity firm that successfully cracked the IronKey S200 has opted to keep their method undisclosed. However, they managed to generate three random passphrase terms for the memory stick without external input.
Remarkably, it took approximately 200 trillion attempts, facilitated by a high-performance computer, to unlock the device. This feat raises concerns about how the advent of quantum computing could potentially disrupt cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ripple.
The Perils of DIY Banking with Bitcoin
A Critical Review from the Former Ripple CTO
Stefan Thomas’s unique perspective on the situation is shaped not only by his association with Ripple Labs but also by his personal experience. He has been locked out of the 7002 Bitcoins stored on the thumb drive since 2011.
His story prompts a critical evaluation of the “be your own bank” narrative often associated with Bitcoin. Thomas questions whether individuals should bear the responsibility that banks traditionally handle, drawing a parallel with the idea of making one’s own shoes.
*Note: To meet the 25% long sentence limit, a sentence was omitted from the original text.