Tom Wrigglesworth - how I lost my bitcoin fortune

PUBLISHED: 18:18 15 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:18 15 January 2018

Tom Wrigglesworth

Tom Wrigglesworth


It could be a very happy new year for Tom, if he can remember how to access his virtual fortune

Hello there, and Happy New Year. I hope you’re reading this in the early part of January, when wishing someone a happy new year is still acceptable. The rules around this seem to be simultaneously rigid and open to interpretations. We all agree that you say it once, and once only, and it must be accompanied by an excitable hug to everyone in the room with you when the actual bongs go, and a firm handshake to anybody after that. At least that seems to be the Yorkshire way of doing things. But when does this become socially unacceptable? When is it not OK to blurt out ‘Happy new year’ the moment you clap eyes on someone? This part of the whole ritual is left completely down to personal preference. To a point. I mean you might feel that its way too late to be wishing someone Happy new year, but if someone opens the conversation with it, your cut off point is completely irrelevant as you’re now dragged into playing by their rules and forced to say it back. I suppose this is where the half baked reply of ‘same to you’ can be put to good use.

Even text messages can work against you. As the network groans under the weight of everyone sending pretty much the same message as everyone else, and to everyone else, it’s not unusual for system to take a few days to clear the back log. This means your message might be delivered after your personal cut off point has elapsed, a real quandary. Do spare a thought for the text message system though, because just when it has cleared the jam of drunkenly punched out ‘HAPPPY NERW YEER!!!!’ texts, it gets hit with the Chinese New Year. No rest for the wkd I suppose.

Not that I’m in the right frame of mind to wish people any sort of good will, for the last few weeks I’ve been depressingly scouring internet forums for advice on something I feel I know less about now than I did when I started. And it started years ago. I can’t remember the exact details but I bought some sort wireless speaker gizmos from a website that was so achingly modern that it took Bit Coins as a form of payment. In a moment of contemporary giddiness I bought three Bit Coins, for the grand total of £300. The speaker cost, at the time, 2.3 Bit Coins, leaving me with 0.7 Bit Coins.

Now, depending on who you ask, Bit Coins are either the inevitable future that one day all financial transactions will be made using, or a massive Ponzi scheme with a few choice geeks at the top of the pyramid, and the rest of us stumbling onto the bottom rungs. Read the wrong publications and you’ll be convinced that Bit Coins are just a way of buying guns and drugs, but I assure you can also buy wireless speakers with them.

After I’d completed the purchase, I thought nothing more about it, and have no memory of a Bit Coin wallet, a secure pass phrase, or a blockchain account login. To be honest I also have no memory of the speakers as I gave them away as a gift.

Apparently Bit Coins are like gold and prime numbers, while at the same time being totally different to both. They are valuable purely because they are sought after, like gold and rare, like prime numbers. You can’t see them, hold them, or melt them down into a wedding ring, but in the last few years, they have gone from changing hands for about £100, to at the time of writing, being worth about £12,000! Yep, I have apparently mislaid an impossibly long number that would take a billion years to guess, and it is now worth eight grand! Plus, let’s not forget, it cost me £70 quid in the first place. Now I don’t claim to have earned this money, I don’t feel a sense of entitlement towards it and I certainly don’t think that Bit Coin will catch on until it takes giant strides towards being anything like user friendly. I challenge anyone with medium IT skills to read about them and not go crossed eyed with confusion after two minutes.

However, you can’t have missed the fact that Bit Coin now makes regular appearances on the major news channels, with record breaking values being reported every other day as it gets taken more and more seriously.

So while your New Year resolution might be diet or fitness based, mine looks like being tied to the impenetrable babble that make up the Bit Coin help forums. And apparently the only thing that stops Bit Coin being worthless is that the system hasn’t been hacked. Yet. If the security is breached it all turns to binary dust until they find a fix. Needless to say it’s not something I want to be involved with, until of course I have to be, but until then, it might be too late to say Happy New Year, but its definitely not too late for me to ask, have you seen my Bit Coin?

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