From dumping hard drives to forgetting passwords – Bitcoin’s biggest losers

The Bitcoin boom has had a lot of success stories but when money is involved, there are bound to be a few unlucky people on the wrong side of the rise of the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin was first introduced back in 2009 and was worth zero until it reached a dollar valuation in 2011, according to the Economic Times.

The world got excited for the digital currency in 2013 but it was not until 2017 when Bitcoin started to boom, as well as crash a year later.

Today, Bitcoin continues to show growth and this year saw the cryptocurrency reach an all-time record high valuation of $64,895 (around £48,000).

The achievements have prompted many to wonder if they missed out on moving onto Bitcoin, while others who did make the jump were left thinking "where did it go wrong for me?"

The Bitcoin dump

One Welshman accidentally chucked away an old computer hard drive, which could have been worth around £4m.

IT Worker James Howells, from Newport, had a ‘digital wallet’ containing 7,5000 Bitcoin that he started mining for in 2009.

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Unfortunately, Mr Howells had a clear out in summer 2013 and the hard drive was thrown out accidentally.

It is believed to have ended up deep in rubbish at Docksway landfill site in Newport.

Mr Howells was even shown around the site in hopes of finding the fortune but gave up his search after being told the area where it would be is the size of a football pitch.

Papa Bitcoin and the regretful road trip

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A 19-year-old student got paid 10,000 Bitcoin for delivering two large pizzas from Papa John’s.

Jeremy Sturdivant saw a post in 2010 from cryptocurrency investor Laszlo Hanyecz, who said he would pay someone in Bitcoin to bring him the pizzas.

Today, the Bitcoin given to Jeremy would be worth around £275million but instead of waiting, he spent the whole amount.

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He took the cash and used it on a road trip, losing out on potentially millions after admitting to having “no idea how huge it would become.”

Speaking in 2018 to the Telegraph, Jeremy said: "If I had treated it as an investment, I might have held on a bit longer, but I would never have thought that the same number of Bitcoin would have a purchasing power on the order of real estate.”

Hanyecz also admitted to losing out as he basically gave away tens of millions in return for pizzas over that summer.

After-school project

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A forward-thinking youngster started mining bitcoin when he was still at school in the days where the cryptocurrency could be mined from a desktop computer.

Dom Roberts, from Buckinghamshire, feels he may let go of a not a huge amount but £400 for something he did after school is not too bad.

Plus with the value of Bitcoin continuing to rise, Dom maybe thinking it might have been worth holding onto it.

Unfortunately, Dom actually wiped an old hard drive half a decade ago while trying to declutter.

He made the mistake of never transferring the Bitcoin over to a digital wallet.

Dom told This is Money : “'I've no idea how much bitcoin I had at the time of finishing, maybe close to £1-£2, but the value has likely increased about 300 to 400 times since then.”

Locked out

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There are also a collection of Bitcoin investors that have not lost it but have been blocked from accessing their cryptocurrency.

According to the blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, around 3.7million coins worth as much as $141billion (around £100billion) now, have not been moved in five years.

They describe the Bitcoin as ‘lost’, meaning it has either been forgotten on an old hard drive or the user can’t get access to it, possibly due to them not remembering the password.

Most are moved onto ‘offline’ storage devices such as hard drives but these things don’t have a password recovery and some of the passwords can be 51 characters long, according to This Is Money.

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