In Bitcoin, former Ripple CTO may have lost much more than $220M

Ripple’s current Chief Technical Officer, David Schwartz, is responding to reports. That his predecessor had lost access to hundreds of millions of Bitcoin dollars.

In a Quora post on Thursday, Schwartz said that recent reports about former Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas. Forgetting the password for an encrypted hard drive containing thousands of Bitcoins (BTC) were true. But added that Thomas had also lost access to hundreds of coins when the crypto asset was young.

The Ripple CTO said his predecessor used the use of real coins. When the price was well under a dollar to test the development of a Javascript library for Bitcoin.

“He would create unspent outputs with ‘1.0’ Bitcoin because that was the fastest and easiest number to type,” said Schwartz. “He likely created hundreds of such accounts, none of which he retained the keys for. Because they were just for quick experiments. Each of those accounts is worth $38,000 or so today.”

At 100 BTC, even one hundred of these accounts would mean. That the coins inside are worth more than $3 million. Since reaching a total of more than $42,000 on Jan. 8, the price of Bitcoin has fluctuated between $30,000 and $40,000.

A New York Times profile on Thomas last week said that eight out of ten attempts to guess the password used by the German-born programmer to access an encrypted hard drive containing 7,002 BTCs. On the IronKey hard drive, he has only two guesses left before the data and funds are seemingly lost.

Schwartz confirmed the Quora storey, saying Thomas had put the coins aside, which were part of a video creation payment. He nevertheless questioned the figure of $200+ million cited by major news outlets:

“I believe today [Thomas’ Bitcoin is] worth about $114 million. I’m not sure where the $240 million number is coming from — maybe I’m remembering wrong.”

From the early development of the coin, there are many similar tales of long lost Bitcoin. Last week, at his grandfather’s house during the holidays, a student found private keys to access more than $4 million worth of Bitcoin.