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Author Topic: A simple definition of "lost" coins  (Read 2705 times)
flatfly
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January 31, 2013, 10:31:53 PM
 #1

I may be wrong, but I believe the following rule allows identification of lost coins with pretty high confidence.

Any address with 10,000+ BTC that was existing before July 2011, has had zero outgoing transactions since then, and has received less than 5 coins since then.

Q: Why does this formula manage to distinguish lost coins from coins in cold storage?  And why July 2011?

A: That's the time of the great market crash and start of the plunge to near zero. Any large holders would have surely sold at that time or in the following weeks.


Applying this rule, we find that a LOT of the richest addresses are actually lost forever (hopefully this list doesn't have any mistakes):

  79957.042  1FeexV6bAHb8ybZjqQMjJrcCrHGW9sb6uF
  50000.041  1P3S1grZYmcqYDuaEDVDYobJ5Fx85E9fE9
  50000.041  1DEpjpftLbsGiCJvJDp2F2quVRnymV8U5Q
  40000.041  1cXNTyXj4xPGopfYZNY5xfSM1EPJJvBZV
  40000.041  12HddUDLhRP2F8JjpKYeKaDxxt5wUvx5nq
  40000.041  16Ls6azc76ixc9Ny7AB5ZPPq6oiEL9XwXy
  38000.041  18Hsgq92AUB1PYLU6MUMQXiwdebaDRo9oQ
  31000.041  12ib7dApVFvg82TXKycWBNpN8kFyiAN1dr
  28150.041  12tkqA9xSoowkzoERHMWNKsTey55YEBqkv
  23249.041  12fZ2HxkLjG9zn1u44XYsFFYKHM4A2zCea
  13050.000  1KX8EPDcziwbGaC7oDHDuKE9SfLWMmmbZy
  12950.000  1MHdm5XZMrfoZFoUktEaGhYevmdiXoc4x4
  12800.000  1B1wPLyrJ831sg1D8hnZLBG7SejXbqMMrH
  10770.515  1F34duy2eeMz5mSrvFepVzy7Y1rBsnAyWC
  10689.034  1FpqQnKQCgDkJFMC94JL8FpRyHTZ3uRVZ1
  10009.251  1f1miYFQWTzdLiCBxtHHnNiW7WAWPUccr
  10000.000  18k9tin39LKegFzHe8rxSgvJXDpuMriGJq
  10000.000  1JtpgqCf3SSeCeYWEDJjkfYFH7Ruhy4Vp1
  10000.000  1DJSiWg6Ci6DLmxZFjVNBKn9CcahLFx5gS
  10000.000  1Du2jAQsBQnkkVZkN4oqC46tS78k7WMkVq
  10000.000  1CPaziTqeEixPoSFtJxu74uDGbpEAotZom
  10000.000  1ucXXZQSEf4zny2HRwAQKtVpkLPTUKRtt
  10000.000  1BAFWQhH9pNkz3mZDQ1tWrtKkSHVCkc3fV
  10000.000  12dUggmXPYsPVHaHr1DoW5J6bb6gvh4yZq
  10000.000  1EyArywoLEhFto6uKWMxA9QKXJWLTNghsz
  10000.000  14YK4mzJGo5NKkNnmVJeuEAQftLt795Gec
  10000.000  1Le6MkiTvkorvC1JwYXzQUSfqA3ebzGW7N
  10000.000  1P1iThxBH542Gmk1kZNXyji4E4iwpvSbrt
  10000.000  1KbrSKrT3GeEruTuuYYUSQ35JwKbrAWJYm
  10000.000  16TPVCpvtJ6FkV5xNKBp35aMo4BWFGxiEY
  10000.000  145YHsQU7HMzkRnD5SBSuFAzQgCYnAnLkN
  10000.000  12tLs9c9RsALt4ockxa1hB4iTCTSmxj2me

  Total: 562,625 BTC


Do you agree with this reasoning? I'm not saying it's a perfect definition, but it should be reasonably accurate and with very little risk of overestimating lost coins. It is also easy to prove me wrong. If you control any of the above addresses, just spend a satoshi from them. That will be more convincing than any argument, plus you will remain anonymous!



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January 31, 2013, 10:34:43 PM
 #2

Given that all my holdings met that criteria until yesterday, I would have to disagree.
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January 31, 2013, 10:37:23 PM
 #3

Given that all my holdings met that criteria until yesterday, I would have to disagree.

Really? BTW I forgot to add, "address received most of its coins before July 2011."
Edited now.

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January 31, 2013, 10:45:40 PM
 #4

I'd disargee.

Furthermore, your suggested method of proving ownership is faulty as well.

Many of these may be "paper" wallets or "brain" wallets using addresses whose private key has never been used on a computer connected to the network.

To send a Satoshi, the private key would have to be imported and used to sign the transaction, and the public key would be made known reducing the security of the cold storage.

To regain the original security, the owner would have to start over creating a whole new offline cold storage.  More hassle than anyone will want to go to just to prove you wrong.

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January 31, 2013, 10:47:01 PM
 #5

I solo-mined a block in June 2011 and didn't move it until last week when I moved it to a different wallet. Shitty guess I would say. <tin-foil-hat>The fed mined their millions not to crash the market further when a bubble bursts but to prepare for a post-dollar age.</tin-foil-hat>
Actually I never lost faith in Bitcoin going far up and beyond of its history record, so low rates were times for buying, not selling. Any equally bullish person would just not touch their old coins.

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January 31, 2013, 10:51:02 PM
 #6

I agree with giszmo.
During the crash, the smart money was buying, not selling.
I sure as hell didn't sell, and I'm certainly not the smart money!
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January 31, 2013, 10:55:14 PM
 #7

I would be willing to bet that there are a few individuals out there that probably have a crapload of bitcoins, who are also steady hands and don't have a need / desire / interest in crashing the market... especially if these coins are deemed savings rather than winnings.

Imagine Satoshi has a million bitcoins, which I assume is entirely possible.  If you're Satoshi and could clear the orderbook with 100,000 of them, and have 900,000 sitting in offline wallets, regardless of your plans or greed, those 900,000 won't get touched because there's no need to touch them other than to stupidly throw them away to slippage.

A long time ago in early 2011 I griped about how early adopters must have a ton of bitcoins and are going to wreak havoc on us all.  If that still is the case, I'm worried much less, as they've shown themselves to be steady hands, and no matter when they liquidate, they'll probably do it slowly, and at a time where the market is able and willing and interested in absorbing more circulating bitcoins.  Now that I've been doing bitcoins this long, I'm arguably an early adopter.  I have a small well-secured stash (nothing like any of these addresses though!) and I don't care what happens.  I will hold them to the moon or to the ground just for the pride of having participated in something so revolutionary, but even then, they're savings to me.  If over time they become something big, well that'll be great.

So, anyway though, I'm not counting on those bitcoins being lost.  Kudos to whoever's got em.  They'll move, eventually, I think, and responsibly, I hope.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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January 31, 2013, 11:05:51 PM
 #8

Given that all my holdings met that criteria until yesterday, I would have to disagree.

Really? BTW I forgot to add, "address received most of its coins before July 2011."
Edited now.
Really.
Most (90+%) of my coins fall into that category,
- mined/received in 2010/2011
- zero outgoing transactions
- zero incoming transactions

I didn't care much about "the great market crash" and didn't sell a single coin at that time, as I mentioned somewhere else, it was $1 (or below), went up to $30 and then "crashed" to $2, so it was still twice as much as before, no reason to panic-sell.

I'm in for the long term, not to get freaky when some bubbles pop.  Wink
  

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January 31, 2013, 11:27:27 PM
 #9

Do you agree with this reasoning? I'm not saying it's a perfect definition, but it should be reasonably accurate and with very little risk of overestimating lost coins. It is also easy to prove me wrong. If you control any of the above addresses, just spend a satoshi from them. That will be more convincing than any argument, plus you will remain anonymous!

I would say that most of the lost coins are the ones that were mined when Bitcoins were still seen as funny money, before they were $1 each.

Using this data that was at the beginning of 2011.

So see what total you get if you only count addresses that have had no incoming/outgoing transactions since 2010.

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January 31, 2013, 11:56:49 PM
 #10

As an example 157i5gK7iN4bNAN39Ahuoiq6Tx5TaQukTE is owned by Hal, who has publicly confirmed that he still has access to the private key. Last substantial transaction, June 2011.

The reality is we just don't know for sure how many lost coins are out there.

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January 31, 2013, 11:57:51 PM
 #11

Do you agree with this reasoning?

FALSE.

There are people like me who would accumulate coins and not sell them at any cost.

At best, you can put an upper limit on the number of lost coins.


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February 04, 2013, 10:33:08 PM
 #12

Do you agree with this reasoning?

At best, you can put an upper limit on the number of lost coins.


21 Million.
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February 04, 2013, 10:37:20 PM
 #13

I may be wrong, but I believe the following rule allows identification of lost coins with pretty high confidence.

Any address that was existing before July 2011, has had zero outgoing transactions since then, and has received less than 5 coins since then.

Q: Why does this formula manage to distinguish lost coins from coins in cold storage?  And why July 2011?

A: That's the time of the great market crash and start of the plunge to near zero. Any large holders would have surely sold at that time or in the following weeks.


Applying this rule, we find that a LOT of the richest addresses are actually lost forever (hopefully this list doesn't have any mistakes):

  79957.042  1FeexV6bAHb8ybZjqQMjJrcCrHGW9sb6uF
  50000.041  1P3S1grZYmcqYDuaEDVDYobJ5Fx85E9fE9
  50000.041  1DEpjpftLbsGiCJvJDp2F2quVRnymV8U5Q
  40000.041  1cXNTyXj4xPGopfYZNY5xfSM1EPJJvBZV
  40000.041  12HddUDLhRP2F8JjpKYeKaDxxt5wUvx5nq
  40000.041  16Ls6azc76ixc9Ny7AB5ZPPq6oiEL9XwXy
  38058.041  1FngtAcZsLfK89MNe7TqzyqVtSype8TiVD
  38000.041  18Hsgq92AUB1PYLU6MUMQXiwdebaDRo9oQ
  35254.503  19Gt9VKmmyMpMHEv6dkf8ddwmwddoSoJ8w
  31000.041  12ib7dApVFvg82TXKycWBNpN8kFyiAN1dr
  28150.041  12tkqA9xSoowkzoERHMWNKsTey55YEBqkv
  23249.041  12fZ2HxkLjG9zn1u44XYsFFYKHM4A2zCea
  19400.041  1PeizMg76Cf96nUQrYg8xuoZWLQozU5zGW
  13050.000  1KX8EPDcziwbGaC7oDHDuKE9SfLWMmmbZy
  12950.000  1MHdm5XZMrfoZFoUktEaGhYevmdiXoc4x4
  12800.000  1B1wPLyrJ831sg1D8hnZLBG7SejXbqMMrH
  11867.800  19n1JqKDnoqcc34HA3fdgzNxczic6Hu5Pi
  10770.515  1F34duy2eeMz5mSrvFepVzy7Y1rBsnAyWC
  10689.034  1FpqQnKQCgDkJFMC94JL8FpRyHTZ3uRVZ1
  10009.251  1f1miYFQWTzdLiCBxtHHnNiW7WAWPUccr
  10000.000  18k9tin39LKegFzHe8rxSgvJXDpuMriGJq
  10000.000  1JtpgqCf3SSeCeYWEDJjkfYFH7Ruhy4Vp1
  10000.000  1DJSiWg6Ci6DLmxZFjVNBKn9CcahLFx5gS
  10000.000  1Du2jAQsBQnkkVZkN4oqC46tS78k7WMkVq
  10000.000  1CPaziTqeEixPoSFtJxu74uDGbpEAotZom
  10000.000  1ucXXZQSEf4zny2HRwAQKtVpkLPTUKRtt
  10000.000  1BAFWQhH9pNkz3mZDQ1tWrtKkSHVCkc3fV
  10000.000  12dUggmXPYsPVHaHr1DoW5J6bb6gvh4yZq
  10000.000  1EyArywoLEhFto6uKWMxA9QKXJWLTNghsz
  10000.000  14YK4mzJGo5NKkNnmVJeuEAQftLt795Gec
  10000.000  1Le6MkiTvkorvC1JwYXzQUSfqA3ebzGW7N
  10000.000  1P1iThxBH542Gmk1kZNXyji4E4iwpvSbrt
  10000.000  1KbrSKrT3GeEruTuuYYUSQ35JwKbrAWJYm
  10000.000  16TPVCpvtJ6FkV5xNKBp35aMo4BWFGxiEY
  10000.000  145YHsQU7HMzkRnD5SBSuFAzQgCYnAnLkN
  10000.000  12tLs9c9RsALt4ockxa1hB4iTCTSmxj2me

  Total: 755,205 BTC


Do you agree with this reasoning? I'm not saying it's a perfect definition, but it should be reasonably accurate and with very little risk of overestimating lost coins. It is also easy to prove me wrong. If you control any of the above addresses, just spend a satoshi from them. That will be more convincing than any argument, plus you will remain anonymous!
That'll be completely off, I guarantee it.

What I'm more curious about is why many of those have a balance with .041 attached to the end.  Why?
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February 04, 2013, 10:42:26 PM
 #14

Maybe they're all owned by the same person?

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February 05, 2013, 12:05:37 AM
 #15

That'll be completely off, I guarantee it.

What I'm more curious about is why many of those have a balance with .041 attached to the end.  Why?
Tips.

Somewhere around here is a thread of the addresses with the biggest balances on the network. A while ago, someone sent a small tip (0.031337 BTC) to each of them.

If you look at the history for those addresses, you'll see that the .041 comes from that tip, plus another tip a few months later.

If there is something that will make Bitcoin succeed, it is growth of utility - greater quantity and variety of goods and services offered for BTC. If there is something that will make Bitcoin fail, it is the prevalence of users convinced that BTC is a magic box that will turn them into millionaires, and of the con-artists who have followed them here to devour them.
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February 05, 2013, 07:28:42 AM
 #16

Hmm... I am not willing to modify my list and criteria just yet - at least for LARGE (10,000btc +) holdings! 

Now, I do agree that most of the points made so far do apply to smaller holdings, but seriously, do you really believe anyone with USD 200,000+ invested in such a volatile thing as bitcoin will let it lose 90% of its peak value and not use any kind of stoploss rule? After all, isn't this one of the basic rules of investing?

Anyway, let's try a different, slightly more aggressive approach: I will tag all of the above coins as LOST 4EVER and will only untag an address if its owner ever spends a coin from it OR just simply ADDS 50btc or more to it (which might be preferable from a security point of view as it does not require any cold storage private key to be used.)

I know this is a controversial statement (and please keep bringing good arguments), but until I see hard evidence, I still strongly believe that my list is 95%+ correct.

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February 05, 2013, 08:16:11 AM
 #17

. . . I still strongly believe that my list is 95%+ correct.
You are welcome to believe anything you like.  It doesn't make you right, but you don't seem to care about that.

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February 05, 2013, 04:14:46 PM
 #18

Hmm... I am not willing to modify my list and criteria just yet - at least for LARGE (10,000btc +) holdings! 

Now, I do agree that most of the points made so far do apply to smaller holdings, but seriously, do you really believe anyone with USD 200,000+ invested in such a volatile thing as bitcoin will let it lose 90% of its peak value and not use any kind of stoploss rule? After all, isn't this one of the basic rules of investing?

Anyway, let's try a different, slightly more aggressive approach: I will tag all of the above coins as LOST 4EVER and will only untag an address if its owner ever spends a coin from it OR just simply ADDS 50btc or more to it (which might be preferable from a security point of view as it does not require any cold storage private key to be used.)

I know this is a controversial statement (and please keep bringing good arguments), but until I see hard evidence, I still strongly believe that my list is 95%+ correct.
Tag and untag your list however you like.  It's your list.  That doesn't mean anyone else will take it seriously though...

This is like saying anyone who didn't sell their Apple holdings when it was up to $10/share was completely out of their mind.  Obviously, some people sold, and some people held, all depending on what they believed the future would hold.
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February 05, 2013, 04:17:51 PM
 #19

Hmm... I am not willing to modify my list and criteria just yet - at least for LARGE (10,000btc +) holdings! 

Now, I do agree that most of the points made so far do apply to smaller holdings, but seriously, do you really believe anyone with USD 200,000+ invested in such a volatile thing as bitcoin will let it lose 90% of its peak value and not use any kind of stoploss rule? After all, isn't this one of the basic rules of investing?

Anyway, let's try a different, slightly more aggressive approach: I will tag all of the above coins as LOST 4EVER and will only untag an address if its owner ever spends a coin from it OR just simply ADDS 50btc or more to it (which might be preferable from a security point of view as it does not require any cold storage private key to be used.)

I know this is a controversial statement (and please keep bringing good arguments), but until I see hard evidence, I still strongly believe that my list is 95%+ correct.

Problem with your theory is, those people that got in that early to obtain that much coins, are most likely not a short term speculator, but a true believer, and won't let go of the coins easily. Many of them are probably not doing any speculative trading at all.

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February 05, 2013, 05:11:29 PM
 #20

Now, I do agree that most of the points made so far do apply to smaller holdings, but seriously, do you really believe anyone with USD 200,000+ invested in such a volatile thing as bitcoin will let it lose 90% of its peak value and not use any kind of stoploss rule? After all, isn't this one of the basic rules of investing?


This is precisely the flaw in your reasoning.  The people with large 10k+ btc holdings mined them back in 2010 and early 2011 and are NOT investors per se.  Would any professional investor allow the loss in USD value that occurred from $32 down to $2?  no - because it doesn't make any financial sense to do so - sell at $20 and rebuy at $5 even if you're a true believer etc.  But what you're failing to realize is that the ones that did just hold their coins through all that really aren't even interested in financial theory or trading btc - they are trying to change the world.  I can understand that being difficult to believe, but I'm 99.9% sure it's the truth.

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