May 28, 2018 by Andrei Calina

There are several cases of people losing hard disks or information related to their Bitcoin wallets, which automatically means losing a small – or larger – fortune. James Howells is in a similar situation, as, according to a report from News AU, lost a hard drive with a key to more than $79 million in BTC.

“I mined more than 7500 coins over one week’s time in 2009; there were just six of us doing it at the time, and it was like the early days of a gold rush,” said the crypto investor, currently living in Newport, Wales.

“Four years later, I had two hard drives in a desk drawer. One was empty and the other contained my Bitcoin private keys,” he recalls. “I meant to throw away the empty drive — and I accidentally threw away the one with the bitcoin information.”

Always keep your keys safe

Back in 2008, Bitcoin’s presumed creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, revealed the open-source code through which the coins are mined. Specifically, we’re talking about solving very complex calculations, all being embedded through the Internet. As previously revealed, there is a limited number of coins which can be mined: 21 million.

Miners end up putting their coins on laptops or various storage drives. However, losing just one of them without having any back-up is a seriously tragic situation.

A lot of people, James Howells included, weren’t aware of the value of their coins before losing. After he figured out what happened to him, he started doing some calculation and came up to the conclusion that his coins were worth $3 million at that moment. A few months later, the value rose to $9.9 million.

Why aren’t people more careful with their keys?

Obviously, there are a lot of situations like this, so there’s one big question left: why aren’t people more careful with their private keys?

Well, the answer is simple: if you have the code written in too many places, you never know who comes across it and can easily access your money. On the other side, if it’s in too few places, it might be difficult for you to find it as well.

Our recommendation is to store your private keys in a few safe places and never misplace their locations or the drives.