How people lose their Bitcoin

Know your enemy, know yourself.

The risks of losing funds by getting hacked are very low, unless you are specifically targeted by a highly skilled attacker. You must develop a "threat model" by analyzing different risks based on different situations.

Always keep the following scenarios in mind when creating and using your Bitcoin wallet.

Loss and physical theft

The most common causes of people losing their bitcoin is accidental loss and physical theft.

  • You forget your passphrase.

  • You lose your Coldcard device (or it breaks) and you don't have a backup.

  • Someone finds a copy of your backup and you hadn't put a passphrase.

  • Someone finds a copy of your backup, but you were also storing your passphrase at the same place and now they have both.

  • You write down your PIN and your passphrase (or you don't put a passphrase) in the same location as you keep your physical device and someone steals all of it.

Fraud and scams

  • Most people who lose Bitcoin simply get scammed and voluntarily send their Bitcoin to ponzi schemes. Be wary of anybody soliciting you for unsolicited investment or payment in Bitcoin.

  • Many people get tricked into revealing their passhprases and handing over their Bitcoin backups by fraudsters impersonating technical support for your Bitcoin wallet.

Extortion, ransom, assault

  • People who know you are the owner of Bitcoin may attempt to violently coerce you into handing it over to them. This is a very real risk and should not be taken lightly (it is also why Bitcoin privacy matters).

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