If you’re into Bitcoin, it’s very likely that you’ve come across many stories of people that have lost Bitcoin, oftentimes worth millions of dollars. While there are only a few ways to lose your Bitcoin, it does happen, and it’s not pretty. We’re going to run you through how to find lost Bitcoins below.
How Do Bitcoins Get Lost
There are three main avenues of error when it comes to losing BTC. The first is if you enter the wrong address when executing a transaction, while the others are losing your private keys or perhaps the whole hardware device. Both can be easily avoided of course, but mistakes do happen.
How To Find Lost Bitcoins
We’ll guide you through various steps you can take for each misfortune below.
As all Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, there is no way to cancel a transaction once it is sent. If you entered a Bitcoin wallet address that exists, you could try to find out the identity and get it back. In September 2019, a Nigerian man mistakenly received BTC valued at $80,000 and put out a message on Twitter to find out the owner of the funds so that he could return them. The funds were returned, but not everyone is so lucky.
Losing Your Private Keys
When creating wallets through exchanges, mostly software, web and desktop wallets, the platform sometimes keeps the private keys safe for you. This means that you only need to enter your password, and 2FA if you’ve enabled it. However, with other wallets you are solely responsible for keeping the private keys safe. Should you lose them, you lose your funds.
A developer on Reddit going by the name of u/Coding_Enthusiast has since shared a tool that can assist users recover their private keys. Called the “FinderOuter”, the program uses a simple interface that “enables the user to enter the partial information for Base-58 or Base-16 private keys.” Users can use FinderOuter through Github and recover lost keys, however, in most cases you will need to provide some information.
Lost A Harddrive
How to find lost Bitcoins off of a lost harddrive has its own set of challenges. Users will need to look for the device in order to access the funds, as they are stored directly on the device. A Welsh man in 2013 threw away a harddrive he believed he had backed up with 7,500 BTC on it. He offered the town council 25% of the coins (the total today would be worth roughly $257 million) to excavate the landfill. They, however, refused. If you intend on keeping so much money on a harddrive or paper wallet, consider using a fireproof safe to store them in.
Steps To Take To Keep You BTC Safe
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA), this will ensure that your BTC can’t be spent by any third party should you lose your keys.
- Store a copy of your private keys or paper wallet in a secure location (i.e. a fireproof safe at home). You might also add the private key details in a will, should anything happen to you.
- Make use of Oobit’s storage solutions. Using the same password to access the buy, sell and trade features as well as the military grade wallet, you have everything you need in one secure location. The wallet is a state of the art air gapped vault designed by cybersecurity experts, GK8.
- Think of your Bitcoin wallet as your bank account, and use the same amount of care and vigilance with the information.