What happens to your Bitcoin if you die? It's like buried treasure and whether you have left a map or not determines if it will be found
Five years ago, Matthew Moody was killed during an observational flight when the two-seater plane he was in crashed flying over a canyon in Chico, California.
His father, Michael Moody, knew his 26-year-old son had been mining Bitcoins — today worth thousands of dollars each — but had no idea how many he had or how to find them. Michael Moody has spent the past three years seeking the answers.
“My son was actually one of the earliest people to mine it,” said Moody, a retired software engineer. “He used his computer at home to mine Bitcoins when you actually could do it that way and he had a few we think.”
The decentralized and unregulated nature of Bitcoin means that without the keys to access his son’s digital wallet, hosted by blockchain.info, Moody has no way of accessing any funds.
And it’s almost impossible to find out whether a person is sitting on peanuts or a fortune, as wallets can contain an unlimited number of unique addresses, or identifiers, with Bitcoins assigned to each. Without knowing every address, it’s not possible to locate every piece of currency.
“There is no authority that could be appealed to fix this,” Nolan Bauerle, director of research at cryptocurrency analysis website CoinDesk, said of an individual’s Bitcoin stash becoming inaccessible after they pass away. “Those coins would be abandoned.”
|What happens to your Bitcoin if you die? | IOL Business Report
The nature of Bitcoin means that without the keys to access a digital wallet, there is no way of accessing any funds if the wallet owner dies.