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Author Topic: what happening with lost bitcoins?  (Read 2415 times)
m4rkiz
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February 08, 2011, 01:22:35 AM
 #1

i have some basic understanding of how this system works, but i have one question that i can't find simple answer
(i know that this must be covered somewhere already, but i don't want to get degree in cryptography as someone may by nice enough to explain it in plain english)

imagine you have 100 BTC in your wallet, due to hardware fault your wallet will be destroyed

i found info that no more than 21 millons of BTC will be ever created

is it 21 millions minus all lost btc? i'm guessing that a great number must be lost already, and until now when single BTC is worth almost USD no one really cared too much

or if system is created that way so it keep an average of 21 million BTC all the time, but what are the criteria of regenerating units for replacing lost ones?
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February 08, 2011, 01:38:30 AM
 #2

is it 21 millions minus all lost btc?
Yep, it is so.

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0x6763
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February 08, 2011, 03:20:47 AM
 #3

Backups are a good idea.  https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Securing_your_wallet#Backup
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February 08, 2011, 04:27:38 AM
 #4

It's like cash money, but you can copy for backups if you want. Pretty good imo.
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February 08, 2011, 06:43:21 AM
 #5

It's like cash money, but you can copy for backups if you want. Pretty good imo.

It's like cash in the sense that if you lose it, it's gone forever. But it's different from cash in that, lost cash is often found by someone.
lfm
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February 08, 2011, 08:05:11 AM
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It's like cash money, but you can copy for backups if you want. Pretty good imo.

It's like cash in the sense that if you lose it, it's gone forever. But it's different from cash in that, lost cash is often found by someone.

like cash destroyed in a fire with no record of serial numbers.

backup is kinda like a record of serial numbers, if you can somehow prove it was destroyed the central bank might accept your record and recompense you. (might think your lying and trying to double spend too which is not like btc backup)

m4rkiz
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February 08, 2011, 09:04:39 AM
 #7

ok, i'm getting it

but if it is that way the client software really need a lot of work before can be widely used

i guess value of coins itself will be enough to force creation of proper backup solutions soon

i guess my first one will be encoding wallet.dat to base64 and printing it on laser printer
(just 25 pages of text) with copy on dvd-ram

i understand that as long as wallet.dat keys matches whatever stored in this cloud
it will be valid ie. no expiration in any way
Binford 6100
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February 08, 2011, 10:34:52 AM
 #8

ok, i'm getting it

but if it is that way the client software really need a lot of work before can be widely used

i guess value of coins itself will be enough to force creation of proper backup solutions soon

i guess my first one will be encoding wallet.dat to base64 and printing it on laser printer
(just 25 pages of text) with copy on dvd-ram

i understand that as long as wallet.dat keys matches whatever stored in this cloud
it will be valid ie. no expiration in any way

start simple - have more wallets (daily for pocket change and small amounts; occasional use wallet for savings)
they would require different backup approaches. and you would value them differently Wink
keep a list of vanilla addresses somewhere where you could dump your coins if in hurry & need of securing your coins
(emergency withdrawal from a web service ewallet p.ex.)

aim big - generate brazillions of key pairs and see if you find keys from lost money (or guess someone's wallet address that's funded)
of course you never know if you find lost money or just guessed someones wallet key pair (if you'll be that lucky, you might try gambling as well Wink

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sorin7486
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February 13, 2011, 07:45:18 PM
 #9

Well the question still stands. I mean the whole idea of bitcoin is that there will be a fixed amount of it right ? But if bitcoin can be destroyed then that amount will gradually decrease. I mean people will mess up from time to time (it's inevitable) and the more it is used the bigger the problem.
Binford 6100
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February 13, 2011, 08:01:15 PM
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Well the question still stands. I mean the whole idea of bitcoin is that there will be a fixed amount of it right ? But if bitcoin can be destroyed then that amount will gradually decrease. I mean people will mess up from time to time (it's inevitable) and the more it is used the bigger the problem.

backup your keys.
no need to backup the whole wallet but this is what most people will backup
but you must be in control of the private and public key to spend bitcoins.
there is no other way around.

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unclescrooge
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February 13, 2011, 08:12:53 PM
 #11

Well the question still stands. I mean the whole idea of bitcoin is that there will be a fixed amount of it right ? But if bitcoin can be destroyed then that amount will gradually decrease. I mean people will mess up from time to time (it's inevitable) and the more it is used the bigger the problem.

backup your keys.
no need to backup the whole wallet but this is what most people will backup
but you must be in control of the private and public key to spend bitcoins.
there is no other way around.

It does answer this problem of lost bitcoin unfortunately :/

But i don't think this is a big deal. If bt is that used, that would mean there would be a whole economy with it, a whole economy that could move to another cryptocurrency without this flaw for more easily than from classic fiat toilet papers currencies.

theymos
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February 13, 2011, 08:15:48 PM
 #12

This has been discussed over and over again. The entire economy can function on 1 bitcoin. Deflation is not a problem.

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February 13, 2011, 09:37:09 PM
 #13

In the interests of accuracy I would like to point out that "lost" bitcoins can be reclaimed in the long run by someone generating by brute-force (or by some as yet unknown method) a private key capable of generating valid signatures for the transactions crediting the "lost" private keys.
 
It is uncertain whether this is possible in the lifetime of the current universe however.

In http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1786.msg21998#msg21998 I proposed a new opcode OP_BLOCKNUMBER which would allow (amongst many other things) the construction of transactions where the money would revert to one or more "lost property" locations if private keys were lost. Widespread adoption of such a scheme could effectively minimize the number of lost coins.


ByteCoin
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February 15, 2011, 05:34:55 AM
 #14

In the interests of accuracy I would like to point out that "lost" bitcoins can be reclaimed in the long run by someone generating by brute-force (or by some as yet unknown method) a private key capable of generating valid signatures for the transactions crediting the "lost" private keys.


If they could do this then they could steal any bitcoins they wanted to.

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