What happens when you lose the password to your bitcoin wallet holding $54,000? Nothing good - that's for sure.



In January of 2016, Mark Frauenfelder made one of the best investments of his life. He began working at the Institute for the Futures Blockchain Futures Lab as a researcher and thought it was a worthwhile move to buy some bitcoins - 7.4 bitcoins for $3,000 to be exact. Today, those virtual coins are worth roughly $54,000. After interviewing a few bitcoin enthusiasts Mark was recommended to store his bitcoins in a hardware wallet for optimum safety. He settled for Trezor. A hard wallet that is notorious for being unhackable. When the Trezor arrived Mark immediately began setting it up.


For those of you that aren't familiar with the security behind storing bitcoins let me briefly explain - it's necessary to understanding Mark's turmoil. When setting up a hardware wallet like Trezor it spits out 24 randomly generated words and then one must create a custom pin. Mark made the mistake of writing both the 24 words and the pin on a slip of paper.


Well, the paper was thrown away by his housekeeper. No big deal right? Just call Trezor and fill out some security questions and voila you're good to go! Eh, no. You see, that's the whole point of blockchain - the underlying technology that bitcoin is built from. There is no central boss that has control, so essentially all of Mark's passwords are stored on other people's computers all jumbled up.


After months of sleepless nights watching bitcoin soar in value - to $32,387 - Mark was connected to Saleem a "coding whiz who has done amazing work on Trezor and related software." This mysterious coding whiz is actually 15 living in the UK and is so great at breaking into Trezor that companies have contracted him before to help them find vulnerabilities' in their system. A technique called white hat hacking. So, for .85 bitcoins Saleem wrote a script and made a few videos to walk Mark through hacking hardware that is considered unhackable.


In August of 2017, Mark successfully hacked into the Trezor and retrieved his bitcoins that at the time were worth $32,308. Fast forward to November 13 - and one bitcoin is worth roughly $6,500.This one is for Mark! Congrats, Mark!