A Newport man has been searching a landfill site in south Wales hoping to find a computer hard drive he threw away which is now worth over £4m. James Howells’s hard drive contains 7,500 bitcoins – which is a virtual form of currency for use online[From BBC News – James Howells searches for hard drive with £4m-worth of bitcoins stored]
This is just the sort of story you would have seen in the Dutch press four centuries ago. Chap accidentally eats valuable tulip bulb, and such like. James is never going to get his Bitcoins back. How disgusting would it be to dig through that landfill anyway? I suppose you could over teams of prospectors a couple of million quid between them to dig down through the two metres of fetid, decomposing garbage to try and find the compacted remains of the drive, but even then would it be readable? And would he remember the password? Perhaps he took better care of the Post-It with his secret phrase on it. Anyway, with all this talk of Bitcoin wallet loss (and hijacking and theft) going on, it is good to see that there are entrepreneurs looking at the security problem from a practical perspectives.
By printing out your own tamper-resistant bitcoin wallets and generating your own addresses, you can minimize your exposure to hackers as well as untrustworthy people in your home or office.[From Print Tamper Resistant Paper Bitcoin Wallets (BitAddress Generator)]
Unfortunately, I can see at least one tragic vulnerability to this high-security strategy for fending off e-bandits. You create a new wallet and print out the address on a piece of paper instead of storing it on your node in the global bot net. Now, what happens if you lose the piece of paper? Or what happens if, to choose an unlikely contingency, the dog eats it? If the dog eats your cash, there is a ready-made rectal recovery strategy…
Eventually, he drained and rinsed the pieces, using a screen made for sapphire panning. Once the bills were dry, he painstakingly pieced them back together with tape and put each individual bill in a plastic bag.[From U.S. Treasury reimburses Helenan $500 after pet’s snack]
Now, to me, this is yet another reason to never use cash again. If a dog eats my Amex card or I accidentally throw it out with last night’s leftover curry, Amex will send me another one I don’t have to pan through dog shit or rotting food to find the fragments. But other people think differently, and they don’t want the man tracking them. They want to use Bitcoin and they want their hoard to be secure. Hhhmmmm…
Well, this could be good for the cash guys. Much as the European Commission insists on a completely pointless and misleading “merchant indifference test” for electronic payments, I think they should introduce a dog indifference test for new currency. I imagine that plastic banknotes might be made resistant to the digestive enzymes in a dog’s stomach in some way, and this would give the folding stuff another string to its bow. The Bitcoin chaps will have their work cut out trying to replicate that aspect of cash in circulation.
These are personal opinions and should not be misunderstood as representing the opinions of
Consult Hyperion or any of its clients or suppliers