Out in the cryptosphere, there’s a vast amount of wealth that’s seemingly out of reach.
A long-running statistic suggests four million Bitcoin — almost 20% of the total supply — has been lost forever. Much of it was mined when the network was just beginning, with early adopters tearing their hair out after losing their private keys. One Welshman has endured a nine-year battle as he attempts to receive a hard drive containing 7,500 BTC from landfill.
But this isn’t the only treasure trove that’s worth exploring. For example, did you know that over 500 Ethereum presale wallets are yet to be recovered… and collectively, they have a value of several billion dollars?
The presale for ETH — which is now the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency — took place back in the summer of 2014. At the time, 1 Bitcoin would buy you 2,000 Ether. Fast forward to now, and the exchange rate is much less generous: 1 BTC will only fetch 12 ETH. A whopping 8,893 people participated in this presale and were given tokens in the genesis block — but according to experts, hundreds of wallets remain untouched.
Some of these wallets contain tens of ETH — a figure that’s worth tens of thousands of dollars today. Others have more than 10,000 ETH inside, meaning their owners are missing out on a life-changing $20 million.
All of this conjures up big questions: Are these wallets a lost cause? Will the upcoming merge — where Ethereum moves from a Proof-of-Work to a Proof-of-Stake blockchain — mean these funds are just irretrievable? And what’s more, who in their right mind would lose access to their crypto after taking part in a presale?
Well, there are a plethora of factors that can lead to the private keys of presale wallets being lost. It could have been a problem with a browser, challenges with foreign language keyboard settings, or poor security practices. Let’s not forget that crypto was shiny and new back then — and many early investors were figuring things out as they went along.
So… what should the people who own one of these presale wallets do? Give up, and dream of what could have been? Use this experience as a gripping story at dinner parties — regaling people of how you missed out on millions of dollars? Or fight back, and begin the painstaking process of reclaiming what’s rightfully yours?
How to recover a presale wallet
It can be done. The first step is to head to Etherscan, a blockchain explorer, and check the balance of the address that you’re…