Unciphered CEO still hopeful for chance to unlock $230M in bitcoin


Unciphered CEO still hopeful for chance to unlock $230M in bitcoin

The CEO of a crypto recovery firm that claims to hold the secret to recovering more than $230 million in locked bitcoin says the company is still hoping to persuade its reluctant owner to accept its offer.

The crypto in question is allegedly stored on a ‘military-grade’ IronKey hard drive and is currently locked away in a Swiss vault. This type of drive gives users just 10 password attempts before self-destructing and rendering anything stored on it lost forever.

The drive’s owner, Swiss crypto entrepreneur Stefan Thomas, has reportedly used up eight of these attempts. However, despite Seattle-based Unciphered saying it has cracked drives similar to this one in mere hours, Thomas has turned down its offer of help due to him already having a number of ‘handshake deals’ with other specialists.

Unciphered CEO Eric Michaud spoke to Protos about the offer and how, despite receiving no response from an open letter to Thomas, it hopes to persuade him to trust its technology.

“We’ve done a great deal of work to crack the IronKey, and even more so to make the attack replicable and safe,” said Michaud. “So, when Stefan didn’t match our enthusiasm it was a disappointment. We’re still hopeful he’ll come around. We’re excited to help him.”

According to Michaud, after nearly eight months of research, his company is incredibly confident that it can crack the drive. He also believes that it’s not too late for Thomas to change his mind about who he wants to retrieve his locked fortune.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time and energy building this attack specifically for his IronKey, and have done so in such a way that we’re extremely confident in both the process and the outcome,” he said.

“Stefan hasn’t hired anybody yet. He has two ‘handshake deals’ with two teams – both of which we’ve been in touch with – and there has been little or no work done.

“He should trust us because we’ve cracked multiple IronKeys.”

Startup says it can access $235M in locked bitcoin — but owner says ‘no thanks’

Unciphered has cracked some of the most popular crypto wallets

As detailed by Michaud, in addition to cracking multiple IronKeys, his company has also helped clients retrieve previously inaccessible crypto from a number of other well-known types of drives.

“The research and development that’s gone into cracking the IronKey was a result of the same expertise that led to us cracking the Trezor T and OneKey wallets, as well as other wallets we haven’t disclosed,” he says.

“We’re a team of advanced cryptographers, mathematicians, data science and cybersecurity professionals, and our business is getting people back into their devices – which requires being able to crack a range of different drives.”

According to Michaud, so far, the reaction from the crypto industry at large has been “pretty positive.”

“Obviously, nobody wants thousands of BTC dumped onto the market,” he told Protos, “but it’s important to recognize that this is thousands of bitcoin currently out of the system.

“Every cryptocurrency holder should be able to transact with (or at least have access to) their crypto. Mistakes happen. People forget passwords. Cryptocurrency security is a double-edged sword, and we want to make sure that everybody — and we KYC to make sure that they’re the actual owner — has access to their funds.”

Protos also reached out to Stefan to discover more about his current ‘handshake deals’ and to find out if he has any plans to work with Unciphered in the future. However, we were told that “in order to protect the safety and privacy of everyone involved in the recovery effort, I am unable to comment publicly until after the recovery is done.”


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