Bitcoin assets worth BILLIONS of pounds are LOST forever when users die


Experts say the best way to prevent family from being embroiled in a bitter fight for inheritance is to use a ‘multi signature’ key which means several people have part of the password. 

When all parts are assembled, the final code is revealed which releases the funds from the hard-to-hack database. 

Another option is the ‘dead man’s switch’ which sees assets transferred to a nominated person if the user fails to check in regularly. 

After his 26-year-old son died in a plane crash in 2013, Michael Moody has spent years battling to gain access to the Bitcoin investor’s fortune. 

With Matthew Moody’s digital wallets locked and Michael left without the passwords to release them, recovering them anytime soon looks an impossible task. 

Mr Moody says he believes young people who do not know much about the world of digital currencies should be educated about how they can secure the accounts for themselves and also those who will inherit the assets. 

And investors also face obstacles if the those responsible for accessing digital currencies die, taking the encrypted passwords with them to the grave. 

A fresh light was shone on this in December when the founder and CEO of QuadrigaCX, Gerald Cotten, died suddenly – the only person who could open thousands of Bitcoin accounts.

QuadrigaCX has said it is unable to access the $190 million worth of cryptocurrencies. 

It has left scores of people unable to gain access to their funds because Mr Cotten had used strict security measures to keep his cryptocurrency stash – which no one else had the privileges to access. 

Mr Cotten filed a will just 12 days before he died of complications from Crohn’s disease. 

Many clients are taking legal action to retrieve their funds, with one account worth as much as $560,000. 

In December 2017 a manager of the UK-based Exmo Bitcoin exchange was kidnapped in Kiev and captors did not release him until he had said a ransom in cryptocurrency worth $1million.


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