This Story was narrated by David Schwartz,e is currently CTO at Ripple. He took the job Stefan Thomas had when he left Ripple to start Coil.
Stefan Thomas made a video a very long time ago and got paid in bitcoin. He jokingly put most of the bitcoin aside (about 6,500 bitcoin or so) back when bitcoin was much less than $5 each thinking he would cash them out “when they were worth a million dollars”. It was not until several years later that he realized that they were worth a million dollars.
This story first came to the public’s attention when they were worth about $2 million. I was with Stefan at the time at a bitcoin conference in San Jose. We were explaining how the XRP Ledger worked to people and after each conversation, the person we were talking to would ask Stefan or me for our business card. When Stefan gave someone his business card, they would read his name, and say something like: “Thanks Stefan. Stefan Thomas. Where do I know that from? Oh, my God! …. I’m so sorry.”
Stefan still checks on the bitcoin on the blockchain to make sure they’re still there and nobody else has somehow found them. But last I heard, he still has not been able to recover the password. I’m sure you heard the stories of the various places he kept his wallet and the various problems he’s had getting to each of those places.
I believe today they’re worth about $114 million. I’m not sure where the $240 million number is coming from — maybe I’m remembering wrong.
Both Stefan and I have lots of stories of losing and finding bitcoin. I’ll tell you another Stefan story:
And here’s one of mine: Back when bitcoin was worth $20 or so, I found out about the first “bitcoin casino”. I signed up, funded my account with 8 bitcoin or so (there was almost nothing else you could do with bitcoin at the time), and started playing. I found it kind of boring and stopped.
Fast forward probably 7 years and bitcoin is over $10,000. I remember that I don’t think I ever withdraw my leftover bitcoin from this casino. But I couldn’t remember anything about it. I searched email, I searched the web, I searched everywhere. I couldn’t find any information about it.
Eventually, I woke up suddenly somehow remembering the name of the casino, and grabbed my phone to type it in and save it to stop me from forgetting it again. It wasn’t until a few days later that I remembered that I had done that, couldn’t remember the name again, but checked my phone.
I eventually found an old email with some account information, but they have no web page, you have to download the client. It was still around, so I downloaded it. I could not remember my password, but their “I forgot my password” mechanism worked. My account had 7.5 bitcoin! I pushed the “withdraw” button and to my complete and utter surprise, it worked. At this point, 7.5 bitcoin was worth around $130,000. That was a very good day!