You know that “sinking pit in your stomach when all the blood drains from your face” feeling you get when you realize that something’s horribly, HORRIBLY wrong?
Redditor TheDJFC must have gotten that feeling when he (she?) realized he had mistakenly sent 800 bitcoins (roughly $520,000) to the wrong wallet address.
“Messed up big time,” the user posted on Reddit earlier this week. “I had previously sent this address 300 bitcoin a year ago, and for the life of me I cannot remember what that was!”
Providing the wallet address and screenshotted proof of the transaction, the blundering bitcoiner asked the Reddit community for help, posting, “If you just received 800 Bitcoin out of the blue, it was from me.”
“If you just received 800 Bitcoin out of the blue, it was from me.”
Luckily, another Redditor came to the rescue in identifying the lucky wallet recipient…which belongs, as it turned out, to defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.
The Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange was once the largest in trade volume in the world until it declared bankruptcy in February, claiming that it had “lost” around 850,000 bitcoins (valued, at the time, at about $450 million).
The Redditor later posted an update saying he was trying to get a hold of Mt. Gox administrators to return the bitcoins, seeming notably blasé about losing over a half-million dollars. “Hopefully bitcoin can learn from my mistake,” he wrote. “Apple accepting bitcoin…hell ya!”
“Hopefully bitcoin can learn from my mistake… Apple accepting bitcoin…hell ya!”
Though tragicomic, the situation does highlight both a major strength and a significant weakness of the Bitcoin system. The importance of securing wallet passwords and addresses cannot be overstated: as TheDJFC has demonstrated, once you’ve sent money to the wrong account or lost your password, there is no real recourse (besides posting online pleas for help from strangers). On the upside, the mixup highlights once again the brilliance of the blockchain: the transaction is fixed and traceable to a specific wallet provider, leaving some room for hope that TheDJFC will one day be reunited with his 800 bitcoins.