Prosecutors in Germany were able to successfully confiscate $60 million worth of bitcoin, or roughly 50 million euros. However, one problem prevents them from accessing the illegally-obtained amount - they do not have the password to the fraudster's account.
One of the advantages of investing in bitcoin is to have a massive amount of money, which could only be accessed if the owner shares his password. This is the issue that confronted German prosecutors who finally seized millions of bitcoin from a fraudster but could not unlock the amount because the fraudster will not give them the password.
The man, whose name was not revealed in the Reuters report, was sentenced to prison and has served his term. Despite being jailed, he did not give up the password that would grant access to millions of stolen bitcoin.
Authorities have tried so many times but failed to crack the password. This was revealed by Kempten prosecutor Sebastian Murer. He revealed that they asked the convicted fraudster but he did not disclose it. Murer also added that maybe the man does not know the password himself.
The Verge reported that the man was caught installing bitcoin mining software on the computers of various individuals, harnessing their power to produce or mine bitcoin. While he was in jail, he never shared how the police may be able to access the bitcoin.
At the time that the man was jailed for the crime, his bitcoin did not have the same value as it has now. However, over the past year, the value of bitcoin surged, increasing his fortune. The value hit around $42,000, which propelled the value of his more than 1,700 bitcoin into huge proportions.
Bitcoin is stored digitally in software, which is known as a digital wallet. This is secured through encryption. To open the wallet, a decryption key is used. The password is the decryption key, without which, the bitcoin stored in the wallet will remain "hidden" and inaccessible. In the event that a user loses the password, he will no longer be able to access whatever is stored in his wallet.
New York Times previously reported that approximately 20 percent of bitcoin that is existing today is either locked in wallets with lost passwords, hence, inaccessible. Perhaps this fact was the one that has led the prosecutor to say that the fraudster may not know his password.