Bitcoin skeptics who stay away from digital currencies for fear their fortune may be stolen can rest easy. The probability of someone guessing a specific bitcoin private key is tiny.
According to Brian Liotti of Crypto Aquarium, the chance of hacking an individual wallet with a specific key is the same as winning Powerball — nine times in a row.
Ever since the infamous MtGox exchange hack in 2014 when $350 million in bitcoin
was stolen, owners of digital currency have worried that the day will come when their crypto-fortune disappears into thin air. Liotti is trying to dissuade them from thinking that their digital coins are ripe for the picking.
“I guess I wanted to bring more attention to the fact that bitcoin is actually unhackable and it’s more secure than anything we have done,” Liotti said.
“I think people don’t understand how secure the blockchain really is,” he continued.
Much of the press coverage of bitcoin thefts has nothing to do with hacking a private key, but more often than not is a basic scam, such as the one Steve Wozniak fell for that cost him $70,000 in stolen bitcoin.
The Apple co-founder sold his bitcoin through a credit card payment, which was then canceled after the bitcoin had changed hands. Wozniak’s transaction was an “over the counter” transaction, and was not transacted on a trusted exchange. Liotti worries that these stories reinforce the myth that coins are there for the taking.
“To many the thought of putting money on some digital thing sounds scary, when it really isn’t,” he said.