In a plot that seems straight out of a cyber thriller, Rain Lõhmus, the founder of Estonia-based LHV Bank, has found himself in the unenviable situation of misplacing the private key to his cryptocurrency treasure trove, a staggering 250,000 ETH valued at around $470 million.
This crypto stash, which originated from the Ethereum Initial Coin Offering (ICO) era, had remained dormant and untouched since the very inception of the Ethereum blockchain. The revelation of its owner and predicament came via a post on X (formerly Twitter) by Conor Grogan, a director at the renowned cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase.
In the post, Grogan disclosed, “One mystery solved: This address (which now holds $450M of crypto) belongs to Rain Lohmus, founder of LHV Bank. Unfortunately, he lost his keys and can’t access these 100s of millions. If you can help him recover them somehow, he’s willing to split them with you."
Lõhmus had initially confirmed the ownership of this substantial crypto wallet in an interview with ERR late last October. In the interview, he candidly acknowledged that he had misplaced the wallet's password and had made limited attempts at recovery.
He expressed his openness to partnering with anyone who could help in unlocking the crypto vault, saying, “I can’t solve this alone; if someone thinks they can, I’ll take all offers.”
Rain Lõhmus' crypto misadventure took an ironic twist when considering his initial investment of a mere $75,000 during the Ethereum ICO when ETH was valued at a mere 30 cents. During the peak of Ethereum's price surge on November 10, 2021, the wallet's contents would have been worth an astonishing $1.22 billion. Even in the midst of a market downturn, Lõhmus' wallet still boasts a jaw-dropping 628,757% gain.
Intriguingly, a tweet from Conor Grogan in February had revealed that the wallet had received airdrops amounting to $6.5 million, adding to the mystique surrounding this lost treasure.
As stories of lost crypto fortunes continue to emerge, Ledger, the cryptocurrency hardware wallet company, recently launched a new service known as Ledger Recover. This cloud-based private key recovery solution aims to assist crypto owners in safely backing up their Secret Recovery Phrase (SRP), a unique combination of 24 words that grants access to their digital assets. For a subscription price of $9.99 per month or around $120 annually, users can ensure the protection of their crypto assets from the perils of misplaced keys.
In a market where some estimate that around 10% of Bitcoin supply, or 1,857,721 Bitcoins, might be forever lost, these private key recovery solutions become increasingly crucial. The circulating supply of cryptocurrency faces potential shrinkage in the face of billions worth of inaccessible crypto, a predicament echoing the fascinating crypto saga of Rain Lõhmus.