- by reena chikanbanjar
stefan thomas is a german born software developer known for forgetting the password to his digital wallet worth an estimated $240 million in bitcoins.
who is stefan thomas?
stefan thomas is the founder and CEO of a technology company, coil. Before founding Coil in San Francisco, he worked as CTO at Ripple Inc., Txtbear AG, Eload24 AG, and Solutions Four Impact Ltd. in Switzerland.
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thomas rose to fame after going public with his inability to remember his password to unlock his hard drive called ironkey. it contained the private key to a digital wallet containing his 7,002 bitcoins. he only has two attempts left to enter the correct password to access his bitcoins worth around $240 million as of January 2021.
early age and education
stefan thomas was born in germany in 1988. in 2005 he attended the berufsakademie stuttgart in stuttgart, germany, to study for a diploma in wirtschaftsinformatik / business informatics (economics and computer science). but she dropped out of the show to concentrate on both her studies and his work. her after leaving the berufsakademie stuttgart, she joined the open university and graduated with a ba (hons.) and business studies in 2014.
thomas started his professional career by founding a company called bitobito gmbh in september 2005 in switzerland. he served the company for almost two years, where he developed smart custom e-commerce solutions.
In May 2007, he joined solutions four impact ltd as chief technology officer (cto) and worked on projects based on customer technical requirements for over a year. after leaving solutions four impact ltd, he joined eload24 ag in july 2008. at eload24, he oversaw the operation of the online store and also managed the development of the company. he left eload24 in april 2010 to become cto and co-founder of txtbear ag, which provides technical leadership to develop an advanced cloud-based document management and viewing platform for large publishers. he worked there until June 2012.
bitcoin video and website
while still at txtbear ag, thomas produced an animated video titled “what is bitcoin?” which explains a digital cryptocurrency/bitcoin. Then, in December 2010, he founded the accompanying website called weusecoins.com to introduce beginners to the notion behind the bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Published on March 22, 2011 on youtube, the video attracted millions of views. It became the subject of many international television news networks such as CNBC, CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera. The video was also parodied in an episode of the CBS legal and political drama series, The Good Wife, which aired on January 15, 2012.
thomas also said that the attached website became the main source for bitcoin beginners, reaching the third highest position in google for the term “bitcoin” at that time. After working as an administrator for two years, he retired from his position to concentrate on his work at Ripple Inc.
In October 2012, Thomas joined Ripple Inc (then OpenCoin Inc.) as a Senior Engineer. he was initially responsible for the project related to the architecture and implementation of ripple’s first client application, called ripple client. he also worked on the company’s smart contract platform called codius. In June 2013, he was promoted to Act and worked there until May 2018.
I forgot my password
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for making an informative animated video about bitcoin, a bitcoin enthusiast gave thomas 7002 bitcoins in the early 2010s. each bitcoin was worth $2 to $6 at the time he received those bitcoins. he had stored those bitcoins in his digital wallet. the value of each of those bitcoins grew to thousands of dollars over the years. According to a Guardian article published on January 12, 2021, “Each bitcoin is worth $34,000 and the contents of Thomas’ wallet are valued at $240 million.”
Unfortunately, Thomas forgot the password to his ironkey, the usb hard drive that contains a private key for the digital wallet that contains his bitcoins. ironkey gives its users ten chances to enter the correct password. Thomas has reportedly already entered the wrong password eight times as of January 2021. If he entered the wrong password twice, the hard drive would be permanently encrypted and he would never be able to access his millions.
Thomas told the Guardian in January 2021 that he was hopeless at some point in his life because he couldn’t remember the password. he explained, “there were weeks when he would lay me in bed, staring at the ceiling, completely desperate. I’d spend hours trying to think of ways to get the data back, jump in, run to my computer and try it out and then it wouldn’t work so I’d go back to staring at my ceiling.” however, he eventually got over his hopelessness and established his career in technology. he worked in several companies before founding his company, coil.
In May 2018, Thomas founded his technology company called Coil in the San Francisco Bay Area. the company is focused on building a better business model for the web. According to Thomas, Coil is based on open and advanced standards, such as web monetization and the Interledger, which enables extremely fast, cheap and diverse payouts.
thomas has also served as a member of the board of directors of several organizations. He was a board member of the JS Foundation from January 2018 to March 2019. In addition, he was a board member and investor in a San Francisco-based storage service called Omni for more than two years, from December 2017 to January 2020. He also became a board member of a user-generated content platform called imgur in June 2019.
did you know?
- His exact birthday is not revealed.
- Thomas’ net worth could increase by $240 million if he remembers his bitcoin password.