South African Man Loses $900,000 Worth Of Bitcoin After Accidentally Deleting Keys

Bitcoin holding is only as good as long as the holder does not lose their keys. It is very important when it comes to holding to make sure that one’s keys are secure. This is because once the keys are lost, there is no way to recover the lost coins. That is how secure the Bitcoin network is. This is the case of a South African man who had accidentally deleted the keys to his wallet that contained 20 BTC.

A report from MyBroadband follows the story of 24-year-old Mark Michaels (name changed), an electronic engineer from Pretoria, South Africa, who had lost the key to his wallet which had 20 bitcoins in it. Michaels had mined the BTC 10 years ago when he was still a minor and at that point, BTC wasn’t worth very much.

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Coins were still easy to mine and Michaels had mined his loot using a home computer that had an Nvidia GeForce GTS 250 graphics card. Bitcoins were not as easy to sell at that point. And according to Michaels, they weren’t worth much and he had lost interest because the computer could not be used for much else while it was mining coins.

How He Lost His Keys

Michaels had gone back to check on his bitcoins seven years after he had first mined them when BTC had hit $1,000 per coin, this is when he realized his grave mistake. Michaels posits that he had stored his mined BTC on the original bitcoin wallet software. “I believe I used the original Bitcoin wallet software,” Michaels said. “Which required a wallet key and password to access.”

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While the 24-year-old could not recall exactly how long he had mined the coins for, he believes he mined for a couple of weeks to a couple of months. At that point, he had managed to mine up to 20 bitcoins. The entirety of the coins was only worth about 58 South African cents when Michaels had mined it, which was not much.

When he went back to get the coins seven years later, Michaels released he had made a grave mistake. The hard drive where the file holding the coins was stored had been formatted. Efforts to recover the original files from the hard drive proved futile as the drive had already been formatted and written over several times at that point.

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“I remember collecting all the hard drives, memory sticks, CDs, and DVDs, in the house and carefully going through each of them. This took around a week. I also tried running data recovery software on my main hard drive, but this was not of much use. By then, that drive had been formatted and reused multiple times.”

Not Leaving Bitcoin

Michaels has already made his peace with this loss. Since he never got into cryptocurrency, for him, it was more about being able to use a cool technology. Michaels still currently owns various cryptocurrencies. Although the electronic engineer does not actively invest in crypto. It is more just “playing around on the markets and seeing how things change.”

According to Michaels, he still mines cryptocurrency, but not Bitcoin. His current mining activities focus on Ethereum. But only when his rig is not in use does he use it to mine for crypto. Michaels’ BTC would be approximately $900,000 in today’s price of $47,000 per BTC.

Bitcoin price chart from

Bitcoin price chart from

Michaels' BTC would be worth ~$900,000 in today's prices | Source: BTCUSD on

Current estimates put the number of lost BTC at 20% of the entire circulating supply of 18.5 million BTC. Most of this is from early adopters who had mostly forgotten about the cryptocurrency after acquiring it due to the value of the coins at the time. When they went back, they discovered that they had lost their keys to their wallets. A popular case of this is James Howells, who had thrown away a hard drive with 7,500 bitcoins on it.

Chart from


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Bitcoin Is The Successor To Violence

Bitcoin completely negates the need for violence by incentivizing trade and peaceful cooperation.


I would like to lay out a few of Bitcoin’s operational processes. I know… many of you are very intelligent and grasp Bitcoin well, but there’s a recent upheaval in the core philosophy of Bitcoin. So, if I may, let’s revisit how Bitcoin does what Bitcoin is good at.

Firstly, there are the miners. The much-sought-after laborers of the Bitcoin network. Toiling away, independently seeking that magic hash that will yield the block reward with their many trillions of guesses per second. The keyword here being independently. Are they attacking each other in order to gain any advantage over the others? No. Are they working to erode away the resources or capabilities of their fellow miners in order to gain an advantage? Negative. They are simply putting forth as much effort as each is capable of in order to hopefully find that sweet spot that solves the algorithm of the next block. Bitcoin miners are no more committing violence against each other than the participants in a lottery, or a game of bingo.

Secondly, as the miners are all seeking reward for their independently-driven efforts they are also simultaneously securing the network for every single hodler and speculator that has any amount of wealth secured by the protocol. What does this mean? As the miners drive ever onward in their quest for reward, they are uplifting the entire network by securing it with pure energy— for if there were not an energy cost to attacking the network, it’d be a pretty soft target.

Next, we have the nodes. The accountants of Bitcoin. Toiling away to confirm that each bitcoin is sent and received as it was intended, whilst confirming these transfers with the rest of the network. At the very same time, this is providing an additional layer of security. Constant and consistent triple-entry accounting, providing further assurance that every satoshi is where it should be.


Where is this “violence” that I keep hearing about…?

Bitcoin does not engage in violence. Bitcoin transcends any application-of-force strategy. Thanks to the processes stated above, bitcoin is not only incorruptible and unhackable, but also unseizable (for a detailed look into these functions, I recommend reading this article).

Any amount of effort (force) that can get expended against the network only poses to make Bitcoin (the network, signified by the capitalized B) stronger — by proving the effectiveness of its decentralized security state, confirming the trustworthiness of the accounting, and not to mention the nature of its 100% resistance to seizure — depending upon the security actions taken.

I’ve been saying this ad nauseum on Twitter, so I apologize to my followers for being dragged through the repetitiveness of my recent activity. But this is of the utmost importance in understanding for the newly anointed members of the community.

Bitcoin is an asset that uplifts ALL, regardless of whether friend or foe. Bitcoin does not care about your politics, or my own. Block by block, it protects the flock. We can all rest assured that our funds are protected and free from forceful seizure.

It is through this dynamic that Bitcoin transcends violence – political, physical, or economic in nature. Bitcoin promotes cooperation, and trade becomes the most beneficial path forward —or all parties.

Bitcoin does not use force, it doesn’t need to. Any force that is involved is the force of circumstance by way of the infinite money printer (BRRRRR). All that have come to BTC do so by choice, there is no infringement upon any freedoms.

Bitcoin is the Successor to violence.

This is a guest post by Mike Hobart. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.


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Altcoin Roundup: Here’s a few things to consider when buying NFTs

The nonfungible token (NFT) sector of the cryptocurrency ecosystem has made waves that splashed across the headlines of even mainstream news outlets in 2021. Celebrities, musicians, sports teams, established auction houses and even fast-food restaurants got involved with the creation and/or sale of one-of-a-kind digital items. 

With the top NFT marketplaces like OpenSea seeing record-breaking trading volumes as projects like CryptoPunks and Pudgy Penguins see tens of millions of dollars in value exchanged daily. However, it can be challenging to know which projects have the ability to hold or increase in value long-term and which ones are likely to fizzle out once the hype dies down.

NFT projects that fit into the growing crypto metaverse and offer multiple ways to engage and earn a yield such as play-to-earn and staking features have been gaining traction, attracting the attention of both average investors and institutional players.

Here are some of the top metaverse-ready NFT protocols that have potential long-term staying power, as well as pointers on how to spot these diamonds in the ruff amid an increasingly crowded field of NFT projects.

Play-to-earn platforms attract the masses and generate revenue

Axie Infinity has emerged as one of the breakout protocols in this bull market cycle, as its play-to-earn style of gameplay allows users to have fun battling with in-game characters called Axies and earn an income at the same time.

As opposed to the free-to-play model of apps that are loaded with in-game purchases designed to drain a user’s bank account, funds spent on platforms like Axie Infinity allow for the opportunity to earn an income or decent return on investment, since decentralized finance (DeFi) and economic principles such as staking, inflation and scarcity are designed into the gameplay model.

The Axie Infinity ecosystem recently surpassed one million active daily users and has processed $1.373 billion in all-time volume, according to data from CryptoSlam.

The protocol has seen the highest rates of adoption in areas of the world like Malaysia and Venezuela, where the economic struggles of the people make the 150 to 200 Smooth Love Potion (SLP) a player can earn each day — worth between $23.70 and $31.60 at the time of writing — an attractive source of daily income.

With the government of Venezuela instituting a monthly income that is equivalent to $2.40 at the exchange rate estimated by the country’s central bank, a daily income of $23.70 could potentially feed a family for up to 10 months.

Due to these factors, NFTs in the Axie Infinity ecosystem have a stronger possibility of holding their value over time and maintaining a higher level of liquidity than many of the random NFT projects which are simply glorified jpegs.

Token generating NFTs give collectibles utility

Another project that offers a unique take on mixing DeFi, gameplay and NFTs is Aavegotchi, a platform built on the Aave protocol that enables in-game avatars to be combined with other cryptocurrency assets, which can then be used as DeFi collateral and earn staking rewards.

Aavegotchi avatars, known as Gotchi’s, are scarce in number and new ones are only minted a limited number of times per year and released via auction or raffle drawing.

Users who stake the native GHST token on the protocol earn rewards in the form of FRENS, which can be used to purchase raffle tickets that are entered in drawings for in-game items such as wearables, consumables, or Gotchi summoning portals.

These items can then be combined with Gotchi’s to increase their rarity and value, or sold in the marketplace as another source of income for token holders.

The ability to lock up other tokens or assets into a Gotchi adds another layer of value and rarity for each avatar. To extract any added assets, Gotchis are destroyed in the process leading to an increase in scarcity.

At the time of writing, 7,760 portals have been opened and 432 Gotchi’s have been sacrificed according to Aavegotchi Stats, leaving a circulating supply of 7,328 Gotchi’s with varying traits and levels of rarity.

Cross-asset staking and gameplay complete the metaverse 

One final project that is newer on the scene but attracting attention nonetheless is Illuvium, an open-world fantasy battle game built on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

While this project is still in development, the price of its native ILV token surged 1765% between June 22 and Aug. 13 as excitement builds ahead of its launch.

One of the catalysts for its price rise was the introduction of ILV staking, which enables token holders to earn a yield ranging from 43.44% to 86.88% depending on the length of time tokens are locked up.

Illuvium has also offered cross-asset staking via flash pools that allows Axie Infinity (AXS) and Synthetix (SNX) holders a chance to earn ILV by staking their tokens on the protocol.

One method the team has used to attract attention to the project has been to create unique NFTs representing some of the top crypto influencers, and the team has also provided a steady stream of teasers and updates on characters and NFTs that will be found in the game.

The creation of an AAA-rated game on the Ethereum blockchain has been a sought-after goal for the gaming community for years but network limitations have thus far made it impossible.

If Illuvium can make good on its goal of creating a highly interactive and visually appealing game capable of attracting users from the traditional gaming community, assets and NFTs within the ecosystem have the potential to maintain or increase in value over time.

Gamers spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars per year on some of the most popular free-to-play games that offer the opportunity to purchase rare items, giving them the one-up on their competitors, but little value is left at the end of the day in exchange for all that time and expense.

NFTs allow for a new paradigm in gaming that time spent playing and the loot acquired along the way can be transferred into real-world value that has long-term lasting power. Projects that adapt and integrate with the growing decentralized crypto metaverse are in a prime position to make gains in adoption and value.

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The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.