DC Family Unable To Access Their $9 Million Wallet And Seek Help

DC residents, Yuki and Art Williams have elicited the support of professionals to help retrieve 3,000 Ethereum tokens valued at over $9 million in today’s value. The Ethereum coins were purchased directly from the Ethereum.org website during the Ethereum Foundation pre-sale in 2014. The family reportedly spent around 1.5 Bitcoin worth $932 at the time to receive 3,000 ETH.

Since then, however, the couple has been unable to access the Ethereum coins. According to them, they created an account with Ethereum and were able to set up a password. However, the process to download the required JSON wallet file wasn’t successful. The JSON file is very important as it serves as a private key to a crypto wallet. As a result, they were locked out of the fortune.

Speaking on the issue, Art Williams disclosed that at the time the ETH coins were purchased, they were instructed to leave their computer on for an average of 90 minutes. The JSON file was expected to appear after this time. However, for them, the file did not appear. Art Williams also revealed that although they can see the coins in their wallet, they cannot open the wallet.

Ethereum Foundation Not Willing to Pay Settlement

In an interview, Art Williams revealed that he emailed the foundation on the issue with proof of purchase. In response, they promised to send a wallet backup containing a backup of the JSON file. Unfortunately, that email never came.

After personally contacting the foundation via email, Williams contracted a law firm in Switzerland to pursue the matter legally. Williams’ legal team said they were only able to speak with the Foundation’s lawyer after much hassle; however, they still weren’t able to recover the JSON file. To find common ground, William’s lawyer proposed a settlement of 2,750 Ethereum tokens in a Swiss reconciliation meeting. The proposal, however, made no headway as the Foundation wasn’t willing to pay any form of settlement.

The Foundation’s legal counsel, in essence, wrote that “[…] Ethereum has no liability for lost wallets, passwords, and Private Key.”

Different Strokes for Different Folks

A lot of crypto enthusiasts have voiced their opinions on the matter. Some Industry experts like Mitchell Moos believe that the inaccessible fund isn’t the fault of the Foundation. Adding that the Ethereum Foundation “[…] may not even have access to that information anymore.”

Taylor Monahan, CEO of mycrypto.com, also added that “I have never heard anyone admit straight up, on or off the record at all, that there is a vault or safe or something with everyone’s JSON files.”

Joon Ian Wong, former M.D. of CoinDesk, however, holds a different opinion. He believes that for now, even the most technology-minded person can still make mistakes as the crypto space is still basically nascent and experimental. In his own opinion, the Foundation was at fault and should not have put funds they can’t afford to lose at risk.

The Williams are, however, not taking no for an answer. They have plans to move the case to the International Court. To foot their legal bills, they have set up a GoFundMe account.

Keep Your Wallets Safe

The DC family is not the first people to have lost or forgotten the passphrase to their cryptocurrency wallets. There have been similar cases recently, and it’s quite common among investors who joined or bought cryptocurrency during the early stage of the industry. Several reports claim that investors have lost billions of dollars in crypto as a result of lost passwords or wallets.

This highlights the need for investors to carefully store or backup their passphrases to avoid complications when trying to recover their digital assets. Wallet passphrases can be noted on paper and securely stored in a safe or bank deposit box. It’s much safer to keep your passphrase off the internet.

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