Magazine Destroyed Private Key to BTC Worth $760,000
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Magazine Destroyed Private Key to BTC Worth $760,000

2 years ago

The magazine ran a Bitcoin mining machine as an experiment in 2013 — but dismissed the cryptocurrency as an "abstraction" and rendered the 13 BTC it had accrued inaccessible.

Magazine Destroyed Private Key to BTC Worth $760,000


An article from 2013 has emerged that'll send shivers down your spine.

Wired magazine had been sent a Bitcoin mining machine, and later joined a pool to boost its chances of receiving a block reward.

Back then, even mining BTC using an everyday computer was achievable… and the cryptocurrency was valued at a mere $220.

Robert McMillan, the journalist who authored the piece, wrote that the magazine considered donating the crypto generated — which ended up totalling a cool 13.34 BTC — to charity.

But Wired ended up going down a different path, concluding its article with this withering putdown: 

"The world's most popular digital currency really is nothing more than an abstraction. So we're destroying the private key used by our Bitcoin wallet. That leaves our growing pile of Bitcoin lucre locked away in a digital vault for all eternity — or at least until someone cracks the SHA-256 encryption that secures it."

Records on the blockchain suggest that the BTC, which remains visible but out of reach, currently has a cash value of $759,068.

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Divided Opinions

The article was shared on the r/CryptoCurrency subreddit by leMartinx, who described it as proof that early adopters had little idea about how big Bitcoin would become.

Not everyone was so charitable. Another user, Cappy2020, wrote:

"What a stupid take by Wired. Even if you thought Bitcoin was just 'daydreaming,' at least hold onto it in the off chance that you could, maybe, be wrong. Serves them right for being so arrogant."

Others cast a positive spin on things by pointing out that the magazine's stunt helped to make Bitcoin even more scarce — reducing supply and increasing the value of BTC in circulation.

It's difficult to know the exact number of Bitcoin that has been lost forever, but previous estimates have suggested up to 4 million are now inaccessible. Given how a maximum of 21 million will only ever exist, that's one in seven coins.
Some early investors didn't embark on such deliberate acts of self-sabotage. Famous stories include a man in Wales who inadvertently threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 BTC worth $426 million at the time of writing. His local council has refused to give him permission to search for it.

Other investors have described their anguish after forgetting the passwords to the wallets, leaving their fortunes out of reach.

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