This guy's hard drive with $500 million in bitcoin is lost at a dump, and local officials won't let him retrieve it

Originally published at: This guy's hard drive with $500 million in bitcoin is lost at a dump, and local officials won't let him retrieve it | Boing Boing

Note to self: Treat 500 million dollar assets with care, store them securely, and keep a backup.

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How do you know in advance what piece of junk you own will be worth a fortune in the future? That way lies insanity and filling your house with garbage for fear of throwing away something that might become valuable.

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EMP the whole dump and give the guy some peace.

“It’s gone, okay?”

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Story of my life.

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You might be able to fry the electronics, but I don’t think you can destroy the information on a hard drive. An EMP is just a strong electromagnetic wave that induces large currents in wires and that can burn sensitive transistors. The magnetized domains in a HD are too small to be affected.

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Could have been transported to Romania and cremated to retrieve precious metals

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It’ll induce large currents in the case of the drive, also generating a strong magnetic field, so I’d expect it’d flip a lot of bits.

Let’s find out! Are there Mad Science sections on Patreon and GoFundMe? :laughing:

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Well, you do know in advance if you’ve actually stored something valuable there.

This is like saying, “How can I possibly know this old safe that I put diamonds inside will be worth something someday?” You’ll know because you put diamonds inside it.

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Here’s the thing, though: this wasn’t just random junk. Dude knew he had a drive with thousands of bitcoin somewhere in the house, and realized the value could go up, but still recklessly threw away drives. I mean, even even in 2013, his stash of 7500 bitcoin was worth a lot of money. Per sofi.com, prices ranged from $13-$1100 per; so $97.5k-8.3M.

This isn’t quite the same as holding on to used aluminum foil because you might need it someday.

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EXACTLY.

What to do before getting rid of a hard drive:

Step 1: Ensure drive contains no data you want
Step 2: Did you really do Step 1? REALLY really? Check again, just to be sure.
Step 3: Securely wipe it or physically mangle it to make it unreadable. If it’s super-sensitive data, consider doing both.

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“If you ever drop your hard drive full of bit coin into the dump, let 'em go, because, man, it’s gone.” - Jack Handey

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Just buy the dump

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What is he expecting the official to do? Let this dude traipse around a live garbage dump look for a minuscule needle in a ginormous haystack. Like just logistics-wise, how does he think it’s gonna go?

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Can confirm that as a storage system admin in a previous job, I would “wipe” failed hard drives by degaussing them before sending them to be shredded. Those machines are basically tiny contained EMP generators.

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Hmm. Then why do I have 1,000 used hard drives and a degausser sitting right next to me at this moment? We degauss hard drives when done with them to wipe the data.

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When I worked for an arcade game company, they’d had a degaussing coil, with an impressive buzz, to remove fields from monitors.

That was kept well away from the software development area and our floppies!

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To a landfill no less. Why wasn’t the guy disposing of his e-waste properly? A google search confirms that his city does have an active e-waste collection program. Was it not around at the time?

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