Few things are as important to most crypto holders as their wallet keys. The wallet keys are the means by which wallets, whether hot or cold wallets, can be accessed and cryptocurrency taken out or put in. The loss of wallet keys can be devastating, both for individuals and institutions. One of the biggest stories of 2019 in the crypto industry was that of QuadrugaCX, a now-defunct Canadian exchange whose cold wallet keys were only known by their CEO who died suddenly. This led to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency that belonged to customers that have not been retrieved to this day. Needless to say, wallet keys are extremely important and the loss of them could be disastrous.
An Irish man by the name of Clifton Collins has recently stated that he lost the keys to his crypto wallets which store up to $56 million. This is as a court in Ireland had declared that they should be confiscated and comes after he was convicted of charges of drug trafficking.
By 2017, Collins had successfully acquired up to 6,000 bitcoins and in order to protect himself, he distributed 500 bitcoins into about 12 individual wallets and it is estimated that each stash is worth roughly $4.87 million as of now. After distributing the bitcoins, he printed out the keys for all 12 wallets on a piece of paper, rolled it up, and then put it into the rod of his fishing rod case. The case was stored in a home he rented in county Galway in Ireland but after he was arrested for cannabis trafficking in 2017, there was a housebreak.
The landlord of the place then demanded that all of Collin’s things be thrown away. The sanitation workers who removed the items confirmed that they had seen the fishing rod case but that the pile of garbage it was a part of was shipped to Germany and China. Other witnesses also confirm that the shipping rod was in the house but was taken to the dump. This means that the keys for the 12 wallets containing a combined $56 million are likely lost forever. Upon hearing the news, Colin stated that it was likely punishment for his own stupidity.