Scammer refuses to give up password for bitcoin wallet worth $86 million

German prosecutors have confiscated more than $86 million worth of bitcoin from a fraudster. There’s only one problem: They can’t unlock the money because he won’t give them the password.

The man was sentenced to jail and has since served his term, maintaining his silence throughout while police made repeated failed efforts to crack the code to access more than 1700 bitcoin, said a prosecutor in the Bavarian town of Kempten.

“We asked him but he didn’t say,” prosecutor Sebastian Murer told Reuters on Friday. “Perhaps he doesn’t know.”

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Bitcoin is stored on software known as a digital wallet that is secured through encryption. A password is used as a decryption key to open the wallet and access the bitcoin. When a password is lost, the user cannot open the wallet.

The man had been sentenced to more than two years in jail for covertly installing software on other computers to harness their power to “mine”, or produce, bitcoin.

When he went behind bars, his bitcoin stash would have been worth a fraction of the current value. The price of the cryptocurrency has surged over the past year, hitting a record high of $55,000 in January. It is currently trading at $50,749 on Monday morning.

Though he has now served his sentence, German prosecutors have ensured the man cannot access the money.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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