Every year, thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency are stolen or lost. Of the 19 million Bitcoins in circulation, around 20 percent are considered irretrievably lost. Hacked crypto wallets or forgotten wallet seed phrases lock users out from accessing their fortune forever.
Thankfully, there are two groups of professionals who you can turn to retrieve your lost coins: “crypto-hunters” and “crypto-hypnotists.”
What Is a Crypto-Hunter?
As the name suggests, a crypto-hunter hunts for and retrieves lost or stolen cryptocurrency. Crypto-hunters are usually computer programmers or anyone in the related field.
Crypto-hunters use a variety of programs and devices to accomplish their tasks, from specialized software to supercomputers that generate thousands of password combinations. Some use hacking techniques similar to that of “regular” hackers to help clients retrieve their cryptocurrency.
One method is a brute-force attack, in which millions of passwords are tested in rapid succession to crack a wallet. The crypto-hunter will usually ask for as much information about the wallet as possible. Any existing information can drastically reduce how long it takes to break into a wallet. However, if there is no existing information, a crypto-hunter may deem the wallet irretrievable (due to existing computing limitations and how long it would realistically take to crack the password or otherwise).
Crypto-hunters also offer proprietary repair services with in-house equipment if the problem is with faulty hardware, such as broken hard drives or SSDs.
Although most clients seek help for lost Bitcoin or Ethereum, crypto-hunters offer services across a range of cryptocurrencies, including Dogecoin, Litecoin, and the stablecoin Tether. Some now also help clients retrieve stolen NFTs.
Some also set up companies dedicated to crypto-hunting. Well-known crypto-hunting companies include:
But there are more out there.
How Much Does a Crypto-Hunter Cost?
Any individual, investor, or business looking for long-lost tokens can hire a crypto-hunter. In addition, some crypto-hunters work with law enforcement agencies to track down stolen cryptocurrencies. However, due to the nature of the cryptocurrency space, where everyone prefers anonymity, not many details are known about the industry.
Crypto hunters accept payment in cryptocurrency or fiat currency. The cost of hiring a crypto-hunter largely depends on the size of the client’s lost cryptocurrency. For example, Wallet Recovery Services usually takes 20% of the total amount retrieved.
A few other factors also come under consideration when quoting a price: difficulty, success rate, the length of the hunt (some data can be recovered in ten minutes, some can go on for over a year, and some will be fruitless), the type of device that will be used for the hunt, and so on.
What Is a Crypto-Hypnotist?
If crypto-hunting does not work, some resort to hiring a crypto-hypnotist. A crypto-hypnotist has a background in hypnotherapy, and they use a range of hypnotic methods like mindful meditation to help clients remember their wallet password or where they had misplaced their hardware wallet.
How much a crypto-hypnotist charge varies. There are reports of clients being asked to pay a flat fee before a Skype session begins, but some are also charged a portion of the total amount of cryptocurrency being sought, which can be a hefty sum.
Recovering Lost Cryptocurrency
Many Bitcoin, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency users have lost access to their wealth due to careless or improper storage, to such an extent that there is now an industry dedicated to helping people recover lost money. It is estimated that billions worth of lost cryptocurrencies are floating around the virtual space, waiting to be found. So, retrieving lost digital money is very much like going on a treasure hunt.
However, the complex and challenging nature of the job means that seeking their services is perhaps not the most affordable option.
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