A weed dealer’s $59M lesson: Don’t hide Bitcoin keys with a fishing rod

A weed dealer’s $59M lesson: Don’t hide Bitcoin keys with a fishing rod

If only it were this easy to catch lost Bitcoin credentials.

Enlarge / If only it were this easy to catch lost Bitcoin credentials. (credit: Cravetiger / Getty Images)

In a world where various mass breaches dictate the use of strong, randomized passwords more than ever, reliable and secure credentials management is paramount in 2020. One Irish drug dealer has evidently learned this lesson the hard way.

This week, the Irish Times reported the sad tale of Clifton Collins, a 49-year-old cannabis grower from Dublin. Collins quietly grew and sold his product for 12 years, and he amassed a small fortune by using some of that revenue to buy bitcoins around 2011 and 2012 before the price of the cryptocurrency soared. But in 2017, state authorities on a routine overnight patrol spotted and then arrested Collins with an estimated $2,171 of cannabis in his car. The man quickly earned himself a five-year jail sentence.

According to the Times: as part of authorities’ investigation, Ireland’s Criminal Assets Bureau discovered and confiscated 12 Bitcoin wallets belonging to Collins totaling nearly $59 million (reportedly the biggest financial case in CAB’s 25-year history). There was only one problem—CAB couldn’t access the accounts because Collins had lost the keys.

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Biz & IT – Ars Technica