You are currently viewing Are your lost bitcoins gone forever? Here’s how you might be able to recover them – Bankrate.com

Are your lost bitcoins gone forever? Here’s how you might be able to recover them – Bankrate.com

We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence.
Our articles, interactive tools, and hypothetical examples contain information to help you conduct research but are not intended to serve as investment advice, and we cannot guarantee that this information is applicable or accurate to your personal circumstances. Any estimates based on past performance do not a guarantee future performance, and prior to making any investment you should discuss your specific investment needs or seek advice from a qualified professional.
The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site. We do not include the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available to you.
All reviews are prepared by our staff. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including any rates, terms and fees associated with financial products, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of publication.
Buying a home
Refinancing your existing loan
Finding the right lender
Additional Resources
Elevate your Bankrate experience
Get insider access to our best financial tools and content
Compare accounts
Use calculators
Get advice
Bank reviews
Elevate your Bankrate experience
Get insider access to our best financial tools and content
Compare by category
Compare by credit needed
Compare by issuer
Get advice
Looking for the perfect credit card?
Narrow your search with CardMatch™
Personal Loans
Student Loans
Other Loans
Loan calculators
Elevate your Bankrate experience
Get insider access to our best financial tools and content
Best of
Brokerages and robo-advisors
Learn the basics
Additional resources
Elevate your Bankrate experience
Get insider access to our best financial tools and content
Get the best rates
Lender reviews
Use calculators
Knowledge base
Elevate your Bankrate experience
Get insider access to our best financial tools and content
Car insurance
Homeowners insurance
Other insurance
Company reviews
Elevate your Bankrate experience
Get insider access to our best financial tools and content
Retirement plans & accounts
Learn the basics
Retirement calculators
Additional resources
Elevate your Bankrate experience
Get insider access to our best financial tools and content
We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence.
Our articles, interactive tools, and hypothetical examples contain information to help you conduct research but are not intended to serve as investment advice, and we cannot guarantee that this information is applicable or accurate to your personal circumstances. Any estimates based on past performance do not a guarantee future performance, and prior to making any investment you should discuss your specific investment needs or seek advice from a qualified professional.
The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site. We do not include the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available to you.
All reviews are prepared by our staff. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including any rates, terms and fees associated with financial products, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of publication.
While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for .
Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make smart financial choices. We’ve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and trustworthy.
Our investing reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most — how to get started, the best brokers, types of investment accounts, how to choose investments and more — so you can feel confident when investing your money.
The investment information provided in this table is for informational and general educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment or financial advice. Bankrate does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it provide individualized recommendations or personalized investment advice. Investment decisions should be based on an evaluation of your own personal financial situation, needs, risk tolerance and investment objectives. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions.
We value your trust. Our mission is to provide readers with accurate and unbiased information, and we have editorial standards in place to ensure that happens. Our editors and reporters thoroughly fact-check editorial content to ensure the information you’re reading is accurate. We maintain a firewall between our advertisers and our editorial team. Our editorial team does not receive direct compensation from our advertisers.
Bankrate’s editorial team writes on behalf of YOU – the reader. Our goal is to give you the best advice to help you make smart personal finance decisions. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers, and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy. So, whether you’re reading an article or a review, you can trust that you’re getting credible and dependable information.
You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers.
We’re transparent about how we are able to bring quality content, competitive rates, and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and, services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.
This content is powered by HomeInsurance.com, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 8781838) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate.com. HomeInsurance.com LLC services are only available in states were it is licensed and insurance coverage through HomeInsurance.com may not be available in all states. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.
While Bitcoin spent the last decade soaring and making millionaires out of many people, other owners of the world’s largest cryptocurrency have missed out. Why? One major reason: they’ve lost access to their account. In fact, more than $100 billion in Bitcoin is estimated to be lost – but some is recoverable, says at least one firm.
A 2017 report from Chainalysis, a forensics company, estimated that between 2.78 million and 3.79 million bitcoins have been lost. That’s out of a total of nearly 19 million circulating today, and a maximum supply of 21 million tokens when Bitcoin is fully mined. At the high end, that could be about 20 percent of today’s supply that is gone forever. Or is it?
Traders who have lost access to their Bitcoin or other digital currencies and assets may have the ability to recover them, at least with the help of one high-tech firm.
Bitcoin’s vaunted security cuts both ways, preventing the bad guys from getting your stash but also – and often – you, too!
One of the most highly touted aspects of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is their security. Not only are they nearly impossible to counterfeit, but transactions are almost irrevocable. Once someone has your bitcoins, they own them for keeps. It’s a similar situation if you forget your password, it gets tossed out as part of a move or you throw away a hard drive holding the coins.
But Chris and Charlie Brooks, father-and-son founders of CryptoAssetRecovery.com, have been recovering Bitcoin and other digital assets since 2017 for people who have lost their passwords, despite the high security.
“We estimate that about 2.5 percent of that approximately 20 percent of lost coins could still be recovered,” says Chris Brooks. The figure amounts to as much as $4 billion in recoverable assets with Bitcoin trading near $44,000, he says.
Of course, not all digital assets are recoverable. Corrupted hard drives or those that were thrown away are likely gone for good. But Crypto Asset Recovery says it has a decent chance of getting your lost loot back if you had encrypted private keys but forgot your password or if you had a failed hard drive with private keys.
However, even if you have a wallet and they are able to pry it open, you may not have any coins in it at all. Former Bitcoin owners who dabbled in the cryptocurrency years ago may simply be hoping that they had long-lost treasure left on that old hard drive but weren’t certain and decided to have a look just in case.
“About half the wallets we crack are empty,” according to Chris and Charlie.
All kinds of digital assets could be trapped on a hard drive somewhere – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin or any number of popular cryptocurrencies. But also increasingly trapped are NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which might be digital art, a collectible, music or something else. These are all potentially recoverable.
The typical success story at Crypto Asset Recovery involves “an early Bitcoin adopter with a Blockchain crypto wallet,” says Charlie Brooks. These wallets are more than half of what they see. An early enthusiast may have purchased a few coins and then forgotten about them. But now with a single bitcoin trading for big money, even just a few coins could be a nice haul.
Once they’ve been contacted, Crypto Asset Recovery consults with customers, asks their best guesses for passwords and gets to work. Even if you only know part of your password or have a general idea of what it might be, the odds of accessing your lost crypto assets go up significantly.
From there the team tries to “brute force” your account, trying all kinds of potential passwords based on your suggestions.
“We might run tens of millions to hundreds of billions of password variations before we get it, or we decide that it’s not worth putting more computational resources into it,” says Chris Brooks.
Given the sensitive nature of the work, you may have to trust an asset recovery firm with potential passwords to your crypto account, which you may also be using elsewhere.
The promise of getting access to your lost bitcoins may entice even the most cynical owner to let down their guard around those who promise to help them retrieve their money. That’s easy to do if you may have hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, locked in a digital wallet somewhere.
But officials caution consumers to carefully verify any asset recovery firm they hire. Many supposed firms are simply scammers who access your account and then run off with the proceeds, if they can even access your account. They may ask for a fee upfront to do the work, with the promise that you’ll eventually get your cryptocurrency and then run off with that cash.
The scams are highly sophisticated, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Scammers may even issue press releases and fake testimonials that seem to vouch for their asset recovery services.
Officials point to several red flags that consumers should pay attention to:
Those are some of the most important signs, though the CFTC offers other warning signs and tips to stay safe.
Cryptocurrency has grown immensely popular over the last few years, and it’s a trendy trading vehicle for many young people who are new to investing. A recent Bankrate survey revealed that nearly half of millennial Americans were at least somewhat comfortable with owning cryptocurrencies. But regardless of age, crypto traders may be unfamiliar with the different ways these digital assets can be held, meaning they could lock themselves out of their account.
Cryptocurrency owners can lose access to their assets in a variety of ways, and here are some of the biggest.
Unlike traditional assets such as stocks or bonds that are always held for you at a brokerage, cryptocurrency can be held directly by owners using a cryptocurrency wallet or a trading firm may hold them on your behalf. But this difference is crucial to recovering your assets.
If a firm has custody of digital assets for you, then you can work through its system to recover access to your assets. So it’s like a traditional investment firm in this way. You can verify your identity and the company will reset your password, and you’re ready to roll again.
But if you take custody of your digital assets, you won’t have that luxury. Unfortunately, many of those who are new to cryptocurrency don’t understand when they’ve taken custody of their assets and the responsibilities that entails. To access your self-custodied assets you’ll need your seed phrase, a collection of 12 to 24 words generated by your crypto wallet.
Because of the potential dangers of holding assets yourself, Chris and Charlie Brooks strongly recommend that those new to cryptocurrency sign up with a custodial wallet. With a custodial wallet, you could contact your trading firm and relatively easily access your cryptocurrency.
“Understand what is required to manage a Bitcoin wallet before diving in,” says Charlie.
People misunderstand the risks with crypto, says Charlie. “The much more likely risk for most people is that they lose their seed phrase – not that it’s stolen from a hacker, though that happens, of course.”
“The largest misconception that gets people into trouble is not understanding that the seed phrase is a representation of your private key,” says Chris Brooks. “If you lose that, you’re in trouble.” Many people don’t realize that the seed phrase is that important, he says.
The seed phrase unlocks your wallet as well as all your crypto in the wallet. So it’s vital that you maintain access to this seed phrase. “It’s not like a bank account with a password that they can just reset,” says Chris.
Moving is a really common time for someone to lose their seed phrases, they say, but there’s a simple solution.
“Buy a $30 safe from Amazon and store your seed phrases in there,” says Charlie. “You need a place to keep them so that no one will think ‘Hey, I need to throw this away.’”
“One of the biggest hurdles we face is that clients self-sabotage,” says Chris.
Self-sabotage occurs when people try to fix the issues themselves and only succeed in making things worse.
“About 30 to 40 percent of the folks that we can work with have hard drive issues from an old laptop,” says Chris. “They reformatted it or gave it away, for example.”
But the solution here is relatively simple: “Stop touching stuff – don’t reformat or reinstall a wallet,” says Chris. Resist the urge to try to fix something, because you will likely end up making it worse.
While it appears that a substantial portion of Bitcoin is lost to the sands of time, your crypto stash may not be a casualty. So it may be worth your time to see if you can recover your lost assets. And it’s certainly always worthwhile to understand what you need to do to correctly manage your account so that you don’t run into trouble in the future.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. Bankrate is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. Bankrate.com does not include all companies or all available products.
Bankrate, LLC NMLS ID# 1427381 | NMLS Consumer Access
BR Tech Services, Inc. NMLS ID #1743443 | NMLS Consumer Access
© 2022 Bankrate, LLC. A Red Ventures company. All Rights Reserved.

source

Leave a Reply