Former Ripple (XRP) CTO, 7000 BTC in a Hardware Wallet and Their Potential Recovery: The Story

Former Ripple (XRP) CTO, 7000 BTC in a Hardware Wallet and Their Potential Recovery: The Story


In September, a Seattle startup lab of white hat hackers sent proof to a senior writer at WIRED Magazine that they could crack the IronKey S200 thumb drive containing 7002 Bitcoins.

But former Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas incredibly refused an offer by the Seattle startup, named Unciphered, to access the USB drive for him.

Fmr. Ripple CTO Getting Closer to His 7002 Bitcoins

Thomas told WIRED that he had already hired another team to work on the problem for him.

The former Ripple Labs chief wants to give them a fair shake at retrieving the 7002 Bitcoins before hiring another company. He mentioned they might subcontract the Seattle firm if they can’t get a workable solution together.

The cybersecurity firm that cracked IronKey S200 is not revealing its method. They did, however, produce three randomly generated passphrase terms for the memory stick without it being revealed to them.

They say it only took 200 trillion tries using a high-performance computer to get three correct passphrase terms. It could be a chilling preview of how quantum computers could disrupt cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ripple.

The Perils of DIY Banking with Bitcoin

It’s not only due to his experience working with Ripple Labs but also his personal experience with locking up 7002 Bitcoin on a thumb drive since 2011 that qualifies Thomas to offer a critical review of the “be your own bank” narrative that goes along with Bitcoin:

“This whole idea of being your own bank – let me put it this way: Do you make your own shoes? The reason we have banks is that we don’t want to deal with all those things that banks do.”

Ripple is a blockchain-based digital payments platform and currency exchange service used by financial institutions worldwide. Bitcoin is the originator of hash-based blockchains to quickly settle payments and operates on an open, peer-to-peer network.

Ripple was trading at $0.55 at the time of writing. Bitcoin traded at $34,000.


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