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Author Topic: How do bitcoin deal with "lost" coins  (Read 801 times)
Geir
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February 05, 2012, 10:22:25 AM
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There are a finite amount of bitcoins, so what happens when someone "loses" there coins. I mean due to hard drive failure and so on. This is not often but over time this means coins are lost for ever??
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Bitsky
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February 05, 2012, 10:29:45 AM
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Theoretically, it's not the coins which are lost, but the key. Although chances are as close to zero as one could imagine, you could accidentally generate a key which holds "lost" coins.
In reality, less coins increase the value of the other coins. Like when there is suddenly 10% less gold in existance, the value of the other 90% goes up.

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Geir
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February 05, 2012, 10:31:47 AM
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Yes I understand this, but there is no safeguard?? Like Putting the coins back in to the community when they have been unused for lets say 2 years.
jake262144
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February 05, 2012, 10:35:07 AM
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Yes I understand this, but there is no safeguard?? Like Putting the coins back in to the community when they have been unused for lets say 2 years.
Uhmmm... how about putting your dollars back in to the community when they have lain unused in a bank vault for two years?

There is absolutely no problem with an amount of coins being lost.
Since bitcoins are virtually infinitely divisible, the problem of price increase of the remaining coins is moot.
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February 05, 2012, 12:11:49 PM
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Ok thanks, and relax I'm not suggesting I'm just asking if this safeguard exists.
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February 05, 2012, 02:52:29 PM
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Ok thanks, and relax
Roger that, I may have been a tad harsh. Previous post has been updated.
Anillos
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March 12, 2012, 01:10:57 AM
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There are a finite amount of bitcoins, so what happens when someone "loses" there coins. I mean due to hard drive failure and so on. This is not often but over time this means coins are lost for ever??
Keep some backups of your wallet file and remember the password if It is encrypted.

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Dansko
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March 12, 2012, 01:12:02 PM
 #8

Once a bitcoin is lost it is lost forever. There is no way to safely handle the issue. If you return bitcoins after 2 years what happens to people that are saving them or lost interest.

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March 12, 2012, 03:19:46 PM
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Yes I understand this, but there is no safeguard?? Like Putting the coins back in to the community when they have been unused for lets say 2 years.
0/10 trolling.
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March 13, 2012, 12:41:23 AM
 #10

the bitcoin will be found again after a few 100 years.


Technically, this is correct. It might not even take that long. That is, as soon as Shor's algorithm is actually implemented, Bitcoin is no longer secure. But of course, that is a much bigger issue and not really related to this discussion.


To answer OP; lost coins/keys will cause deflation, which is good for people who already have bitcoins saved. Because bitcoins can be divided to very small denominations, there will probably never be an issue of too few coins.

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