The Disaster and Triumph of Stolen Bitcoins

Stolen Bitcoins & Hard LessonsI had all my bitcoins stolen today. I’ve been using Bitcoin for a year and a half now and love it. I use it for purchases, to reimburse friends, conference registration and as much else as I can.

My perspective on Bitcoin is one of personal freedom and accountability. This new currency and payment method is a tool for individual liberty. The peer-to-peer transactions allow for decentralized networks to flourish. It encourages and sustains the transfer of currency from person to person.

As a single mom with 5 kiddos to love and support, the option of using bitcoin is appealing.

I bought a few when they were still pretty low and have been adding to my collection as funds allow me to. I kept my wallet on Coinbase and was in the process of transferring the majority to a paper wallet.

Understanding how it all works has been a challenge for me, as I know it is for many people who hold Bitcoin. Before putting most of my usable Bitcoins into a paper wallet, I wanted to make sure that I understood how to access them. Not fully understanding, I had not completed the process.

For anyone whose bitcoins are not secure yet, please let my delay and misfortune be an encouragement to you: get your bitcoins secured!

And get away from Coinbase. Their response to this situation has been horrible. Through lack of availability when the incident started to the flaws in their system that allows what I am finding to be prevalent hacking, their response is awful. Coinbase is worse than useless. As I speak to others about my experience, I realize that this is a common perception within the community.

How it Happened

In my case, I was watching it happen in real time and unable to do anything. I had 2 factor authentication enabled for my wallet. I got an email from the authy app stating that my account had been reset and to click the link to verify it and that if I had not done that to ignore the email. I had not done anything so I ignored the email.

When several verification codes came in a row, I became suspicious and attempted to sign into my Coinbase account. I was unable to and quickly realized that my email account was hacked, as well. I immediately changed my email password, reset my Coinbase password and signed in.

In checking my gmail account activity, I saw that I was only a few minutes late from when the hackers had sent bitcoins to an external address. My bitcoins were gone, sent to this wallet from my hacked account: 13teHkGZ21d5Tf7aRrMasFzyqtb9sSDftq

Stolen Bitcoin Lessons

While this loss is certainly a financial difficulty for me—bitcoins are money and these were part of my budget for the kids and I—it is also a reminder of what is truly valuable in this world.

An explanation to my children about the theft gave them something to reflect on to understand the importance of integrity in their lives.

As we made cookies together–planned earlier in the day–we discussed what adds value to life. Inherent in Bitcoin transactions, comes a level of value in knowing that we are all contributing to something far greater than any of us individually. Even if it does take extreme personal sacrifice sometimes.

Things to Do with My Stolen Bitcoins

To my thieves, if you are beginning to understand what is valuable in this life, please take the 30 Bitcoins you stole from my children and me and send them back. You can use my new very-secure (thanks to your lesson) wallet here: 1AiDNjM8zT9Ku9EQKMqEhYrmvAU2RpdeuQ

If that doesn’t appeal, please donate my bitcoins to Sean’s outpost or Fr33 aide or use them to buy Permacredits in September when Permacredits launches.

liz-bitcoin-pinMaybe by then you will begin to understand what really holds value in this life. I can promise that if you take one of the actions above, you will gain something of far more value than the 30 bitcoins you stole.

“If you can meet with triumph…”

As a reminder for what is valuable in this life, I frequently turn to a Rudyard Kipling poem. These two lines especially resonate right now:

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same…”

While this can certainly qualify as a disaster in my world, I see it as a greater opportunity to strengthen a community and bolster weaknesses in an imperfect system. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the love, beauty and hope that the Bitcoin community embodies. When people come together in synergy, the possibilities are endless.

I see the inherent value in a system and a community where decentralization is allowed to flourish. Bitcoin, and other crypto currencies, will always have my support.

Liz Reitzig

Food is the Foundation of Liberty. Nourishing Liberty is where we plant seeds for ideas to grow and flourish A place to be inspired by each other, to join together in peaceful activism, to build community.

Wherever you are in your personal journey toward clean living and local food, thank you for joining me in mine. I look forward to sharing it with you.
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David Gumpert

Sorry about that, Liz. I admire you for drawing strength from the loss, rather than succumbing to bitterness.

The real bad news is this doesn’t help provide confidence for people thinking about using bitcoins.

Fergus Hodgson

Liz, this story breaks my heart. I am at a loss for words; after you seek to uphold your ideals, others, well, they just don’t have them.

Thanks for writing your updates, and I encourage people to support you in your work. You are an excellent advocate for personal health and nutrition freedom.

JerryLittlemars
JerryLittlemars

I feel your pain. I had over 2,000 LTC stolen from my Cryptsy account back in November 2013. Similar tactic, they hacked into my email and were able to reset my password and withdraw before I could do anything. After going back and forth with support over the issues, thankfully now, they’ve changed things around, and you can now click a button and lock-down your account if you see anything suspicious going on.

I hope you get your coins back. But just saying, the odds are slim. Still don’t have mine back, lol Had to start over from scratch :(

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[…] pretending they are you with companies that have your personal information on file. See examples here and here. Or the experienced hackers/scammers go after large accounts at companies holding their […]

Matthew

I have been reading your sight for a while now. I find your Bitcoin posts high on the list of my favorites. I am interested in accepting them as a form of payment for our farm goods.

You are right about the difficulty of trying to figure them out. I appreciate your honesty about what happened. It is good information to have when considering whether to accept them or not. In spite of your theft, I still think I want to take them.

James
James

Hi Liz.
Did you get back the stolen bitcoins?

Rotimi
Rotimi

Really sad story.
Even sadder considering your 5 beautiful kids.
I know this happened a long time ago, and I hope and pray that your current bitcoin arrangement/wallet is safe.

I wish you all the best in the years to come, and hope you get many times more coins than you lost.

God bless you,
Rotimi

Jerry
Jerry

That would’ve been 480k right about now…