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Shes been home more than a week and never said anything about it.I went into her room and looked under her pillow. It wasnt there. I looked under her bed, dragging out the storage boxes to get a better view, using my phone for a flashlight.Carla I inquired.
Nothing but egg cartons, espresso grinds, and Amazon boxes. The orange part of paper was decomposing somewhere under a pile of crap in a Los Angeles landfill.Carla asked if losing the paper was a big deal.Not actually, I said. Its just a nuisance, thats all. Ill need to send each of the bitcoins in the Trezor to an online wallet, reinitialize the Trezor, generate a new word list, and place the bitcoins back on the Trezor.
Its 551445. The Forgetting: April 4, 2017: 7.4 BTC $8,384I plugged the Trezor into my notebook and entered 551445. Wrong PIN entered.I should have made an error entering the PIN, I believed. I tried 551445 again, taking care to enter the digits properly this time.Wrong PIN entered.Uh oh. I attempted a small variation: 554445Wrong PIN entered.This is ridiculous, I thought.
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Id entered it at least a dozen times in recent months without having to consult with this newspaper. OK, its probably 554145. Wrong PIN entered.I looked at the tiny monochrome display on the bitcoin wallet and noticed a countdown timer had appeared. It was making me wait a few seconds before I could try another PIN.
I went into the hardware wallet manufacturers website to learn about the PIN delay and also read the terrible news: The delay doubled every time a wrong PIN has been entered. The site stated, The number of PIN entry failures is stored in the Trezors memorycard. This means that power cycling the Trezor wont magically make the wait time go to zero again.
The burglar would have to sit his life off entering the PINs. Meanwhile, you have enough time to transfer your funds into a new apparatus or wallet out of the paper backup. (Trezor is based in Prague, hence the stilted English.) The problem was, I was the thief, trying to sneak my own bitcoins back from my Trezor.
After my sixth incorrect PIN effort, creeping terror had escalated into heart-pounding panicI might have kissed my 7.4 bitcoins goodbye.I created a couple more guesses, and each time that I failed, my sense of unreality grew in proportion to the PIN delay, which was now 2,048 seconds, or about 34 minutes.
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One hundred guesses would require more than 80 sextillion years.I broke the news to Carla. I told her I couldnt recall the PIN and that I was being punished each time that I entered an incorrect PIN. She asked me if Id stored the PIN in my 1Password application (a protected password app).
When she asked me , I didnt have an answer.I knew it would be a mistake to squander a valuable guess in my agitated condition. My mind had become contaminated with scrambled permutations of PINs. I went into the kitchen to chop vegetables for a curry we were making for dinner.
As I cut potatoes into cubes, I mentally shuffled around numbers as though they were Scrabble tiles on a stand. After a while, a number popped into my head: 55144545. This was it! I walked out of the kitchen into the office. The Trezor still had a few hundred seconds left on the countdown timer.
I tapped in 55144545. Wrong PIN entered. Please wait 4,096 seconds to continueI barely slept that night. The little shuteye I managed to have has been full of nightmares involving combinations of the numbers 1, 4, and 5. It wasnt so much that the $8,000 that bothered meit was the shame I felt for being dumb enough to eliminate the newspaper and forget the PIN.
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If I wasnt able to recall the PIN, the Trezor would taunt me for the rest of my life.The Hunt: April 5, 2017: 7.4 BTC $8,325That morning, bleary eyed, I started looking into ways to receive my own bitcoins back that didnt involve recalling my PIN or healing words. If Id lost my debit card PIN, I could contact my bank and Id eventually regain access to my funds.