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Man Loses €53.6 Million Bitcoin Fortune After Cleaner Threw Out Access Codes

by : Hannah Smith on : 01 Dec 2020 11:03
Man Loses €53.6 Million Bitcoin Fortune After Cleaner Threw Out Access CodesPA Images

We’ve all dropped cash or misplaced our credit card at some point, but it seems like you’d have to be pretty unlucky to lose over £50 million.

Unfortunately for one Irish drug dealer, that’s exactly what happened after the access codes to his Bitcoin fortune were thrown out by a cleaner.

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Clifton Collins, from Dublin, amassed 6,000 Bitcoins by growing and selling cannabis, and saw his crypto worth soar in value as Bitcoin stock shot up over recent years. His fortune was worth an estimated €53.3 million when it was first reported earlier this year, and like anyone sitting on that much money, Collins decided to make sure it was difficult to find.

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The dealer split the Bitcoin into 12 different wallets, and hid the access codes for the accounts on scraps of paper in the metal cap of a fishing rod he kept in his house.

It’s a pretty retro hiding place, but it seems like it was more effective than he bargained for, as a cleaner clearing out Collins house was clearly none the wiser as to the importance of the rod when she chucked it in the trash.

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If it’s any consolation for Collins, it’s not like he’d be getting his hands on the money anyway. He’s currently serving a five year prison sentence after being arrested in 2017. But it’s a bit of a headache for the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau, who confiscated the wallets but are essentially locked out of what is apparently the biggest haul in their 25-year century.

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Although Collins’ house was broken into following his arrest, and a few of his associates knew about the accounts, the police believe that the missing rod was genuinely cleared out by mistake. The accounts have not seen any activity for several years, and workers at the dump where Collins’ possessions were taken say they remember seeing fishing gear among the discarded items. Waste from the dump is sent abroad for incineration, so it looks like the key to Collins’ Bitcoin fortune may have gone up in smoke.

According to the Irish Times, Collins has accepted the fortune now valued at €53.6 million is lost, and sees the saga as a ‘punishment for his own stupidity.’ And with Bitcoin gains over the past year adding value to the wallets, both him and the Irish police probably wish he’d just put the codes in a safe.

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Topics: Technology, Bitcoin, Crime, cryptocurrency, Ireland, Now

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Irish Times
  1. Irish Times

    Drug dealer loses codes for €53.6m bitcoin accounts