The founder of Estonia’s LHV Bank, Rain Lõhmus, has been identified as the owner of an Ethereum (ETH) wallet holding 250,000 ETH bought during the initial coin offering, now worth $470 million. The snag is, he lost the keys and cannot access it.
While the crypto ecosystem gives the benefit of self-custody to users, it comes with its own challenges. If users don’t store their private keys securely, they risk permanently losing control of their assets.
To retrieve the wallet, Lõhmus considered building an artificial intelligence (AI) version of himself to get his memories back, but canned the idea as he couldn’t monitor what was happening daily. He elaborated:
“You can spend ten years on it, and it might end up with zero; it might end up with you solving a problem, but I prefer to do things where progress is visible on a daily basis.”
Grogan estimates that nearly 909,800 ETH, worth over $1.73 billion, are lost forever. The screenshot below shows the distribution of lost ETH as of Nov. 6.
Rain Lõhmus believes that people losing access to their private keys is a very weak point of the crypto ecosystem. He said:
“Perfect decentralization has other risks that you don’t usually think about. But it’s very common for me to lose passwords. I went to renew my ID card passwords today; if it were crypto, I’d be in a big crisis again, but luckily the police and border police work.”
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