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Bitcoin: What Happens to Lost BTC

Cryptocurrency custody services have grown in popularity in recent years.

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Cryptocurrency custody services have grown in popularity in recent years. Independent storage and security solutions designed to hold significant amounts of crypto for customers can attract institutional capital and ordinary investors by removing a major concern: losing access to money that become unrecoverable.

Due to the decentralized nature of major blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, funds lost due to a loss of access or private keys are irretrievable. There is no central entity to contact, and no one can control the blockchain to restore funds.


Storing a private key is challenging because it must be secure against malicious actors while remaining available to the user. In order to avoid the difficulties of handling cryptocurrency, many people simply leave their funds on exchanges, leading to a tremendous demand for crypto custody services.

While holding cryptocurrencies with a third party can be risky due to the possibility of hacking, experts told Cointelegraph that custody services are the best solution for missing money.

Early cryptocurrency enthusiasts have lost money through exchange hacking and other means. Due to these security flaws, Bitcoin academic Andreas Antonopoulos coined the phrase not your keys, not your coins.

Lost Crypto Money

Cryptocurrencies can be lost in many ways, but the blockchain doesn’t know unless someone admits to it. Wallet users frequently lose their private key, which allows them to access their funds.

Users have also sent cryptocurrency to the wrong address. Due to the decentralized structure of the blockchain, there is no way to recover these tokens. Finally, users can pass away without leaving their funds accessible.

Kim Grauer, head of research at Chainalysis, told Cointelegraph that an estimated 3.7 million Bitcoin (BTC) (valued over $140 billion) have been destroyed. Grauer said the estimate is a bit old and will be updated later this year.

Crypto assets become extinct after a specific number of years. This method does point to coins that aren’t in circulation, but it’s flawed. A wallet with 50 BTC mined in February 2009 transfers funds to two locations in 2020.

He told Cointelegraph that valuing lost coins is difficult because the owners are not always willing to provide such information.

The Chainalysis CEO says there are several ways to safely store bitcoin, whether it’s in your wallet or on an exchange.

Hackers and scammers should worry about losing their seed phrase or private keys, according to Crypto Asset Recovery CEO Chris Brooks.

Unknown lost BTC were first reported in March 2011 on the Bitcointalk forum. While the conversation veered off course, it did highlight how many individuals had lost access to cryptocurrency.

Chainalysis’ Grauer says these losses can have a big impact on the cryptocurrency industry.

Lost Crypto as Donation

The Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto famously stated that lost coins are a donation that increases the value of everyone’s coins. So, Satoshi may be correct for coins with a limited supply, but not for coins with an indefinite supply.

As with traditional cash, Fasanello says cryptocurrencies lose value with inflation. If a cryptocurrency has an unlimited supply, the value of lost coins will erode over time.

In fact, most lost token recoveries involve forgotten wallet passwords, not private keys. The hacker recently unlocked a Trezor One hardware wallet that had been locked due to the owner forgetting its security PIN.

The rule of scarcity only holds if consumers have confidence in the underlying system, according to Asaf Naim, founder and CEO of blockchain application developer Kirobo. People will lose faith in cryptocurrency if too much is lost.

Mass Adoption Lost

Cryptocurrency losses have made headlines in the past, demonstrating how difficult it can be to recover lost funds. In 2013, James Howells, for example, threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 BTC (approximately $285 million).

Although popular in recent years, wallet recovery services frequently charge a high percentage of the monies recovered. For example, Grauer explained, putting your cryptocurrency on a known and trustworthy exchange, or hot wallet, is equivalent to storing it with a bank.

Detractors argue that users do not own their coins until they have the private keys. The Recovery of Crypto Assets Brooks agreed with Grauer, but said that cryptocurrency is difficult to understand and that beginners should utilize custodial wallets.

Brooks thinks loved ones can easily recover crypto from a custodial wallet, but not with a private key.

And if using a credit card meant irreparably losing money, then it wouldn’t be as popular as it is. For example, bitcoin platforms and their users might establish whitelists similar to online banking platforms to eliminate common errors.

For the executive, the best security technique in 2022 is writing down or remembering words, proving crypto has missed a human error safety net.

On the free market, users can write their seed phrases or private keys on titanium sheets. Also, these sheets can typically withstand natural disasters. Users of Coinbase Wallet can back up their private keys to Google Drive or iCloud.

Consumers seeking not censorable form of money may face a problem of lost crypto. Even if cryptocurrency custody services provide institutional investors also with security they need.

“The views and opinions on this Crypto News Website are solely those of the authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of iBaseTrading or its partners.”

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Jane De Leon is a news writer covering all things related to DeFi and NFTs. In the past, she has worked for a well-known Business Newspaper. She originally began investing in Bitcoin after hearing about it from her brother and hasn’t looked back since.