Frankfurt: The German prosecutors have seized more than USD 60 million worth of bitcoin from a fraudster but the problem is they cannot unlock the money because he won’t disclose them the password.
A prosecutor Sebastian Murer in the Bavarian town of Kempten told Reuters on Friday that the fraudster was sentenced to imprisonment and he had since served his term.
He further said that the fraudster had maintained silence throughout the jail term while police made failed attempts repeatedly to crack the code to access more than 1,700 Bitcoin.
The prosecutor said that they asked him but he had not uttered a single key of the password, adding that perhaps the fraudster did not know.
The fraudster was sentenced to more than two years in jail in a case of secretly installing software on other computers to harness their power to ‘mine’ or produce Bitcoin.
However, the prosecutors made sure the man could not access the money but when he went behind bars, his Bitcoin stash would have been worth a fraction of the current value.
Bitcoin is a digital currency placed in a digital wallet and kept secure through encryption. A password is required to open the wallet to access the Bitcoin but once the password is lost the user cannot open to the wallet and loses millions of dollars.
Bitcoin price has surged over the past year. Its price hit a record high of USD 42,000 in January. According to Coindesk, a cryptocurrency and blockchain website, Bitcoin was trading at USD 37,577 on Friday.
Holders of Bitcoin become very rich in a short time, even during the catastrophic damage to the world economy because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis, 18.5 million Bitcoin exists in the world and around 20 per cent or USD 140 billion appear to be in lost or stranded in wallets otherwise.
Bitcoin holders who have lost passwords of their wallet or locked out due to some reasons speak of endless days and nights of frustration as they have tried to get access to their fortunes.
Hundreds of owners own the coins since the early days of cryptocurrency a decade ago when no one had this confidence that the tokens could make the owners rich in a night.
Wallet Recovery Services, a business that assists find lost digital keys, said that it had gotten 70 requests a day from people who wanted to recover their treasury, adding that the number of the request was three times higher than a month ago.