Man has just two password guesses left until he loses £175m bitcoin fortune

A computer programmer has just two password guesses left to get his hands on a forgotten £175m fortune.

Stefan Thomas, a San Francisco based tech expert, was handed 7,002 bitcoins a decade ago in exchange for making an animation video about the cryptocurrency.

But ten years ago Bitcoin wasn’t worth much, his payment working out at about $2-6 (£1.46-4.39) a piece.

And a decade is a long time.

Now each bitcoin is worth $34,000 (£24,900), and his once modest paycheque is now worth a staggering $240 million (£176m).

Unfortunately for Thomas, he has forgotten the password to his digital wallet that contains his astronomical savings.

The German-born tech expert has entered his password incorrectly eight times and only has two chances left before all his money is encrypted forever.

Thomas had written his password down on a piece of paper, but in the years that followed he lost it.

He told The Sun that he would just lay in bed and think about it, desperately wracking his brain for the answer.

"Then I’d go to the computer with some new strategy and it wouldn’t work and I’d be desperate again," he said.

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Having already made a fortune on a separate currency called Ripple, Stefan has put his plans to crack the IronKey password on ice for now.

"For my own sanity," he added.

The Silicon Valley programmer has also warned other savers to keep their passwords safe.

He said on Twitter: "I hope others can learn from my mistakes. Test your backups regularly to make sure they are still working.

"An ounce of foresight could have prevented a decade of regret.

"That said, I'll do what I always do which is focus on building things."

According to reports, about a fifth of bitcoins are actually dormant because passwords to access them have been lost.

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