What happened to Mircea Popescu’s 4?

Mircea Popescu, alleged holder of one million bitcoins, died this week at just 41 years old. 

Popescu was a well-known Bitcoin evangelist, and had founded the MPOe exchange in 2011, which later became MPEx in 2012, the same year he also listed bitcoin futures. 

Popescu’s life has always been controversial, especially from a professional point of view, with various accusations having started circulating online since 2012, notably of sexism, anti-Semitism and fanaticism. 

He was of Romanian origin, was known as “The Father of Bitcoin Toxicity”, and proclaimed himself “the greatest erotic writer in the world”. It is believed that he was one of the largest single holders of bitcoin in the world.

He himself claimed to hold 1 million BTC, but many do not believe that this statement is correct. In fact, more prudent estimates indicate in tens of thousands the bitcoins owned by Popescu, however equal to today’s prices at a capital well above 300 million dollars, while it is assumed that during the peak of mid-April the total value of its BTCs exceeded two billions of dollars. 

In 2012 he began to have problems with the SEC, so much so that he became more and more a “toxic maximalist” of Bitcoin. For example, he had no qualms about calling Ripple a scam. 

His aggressive and not at all sweetened attitude has earned him a certain following, so much so that he has built a real brand of extremist Bitcoin evangelist. 

Six years ago he even published a post on his blog with a sort of 1 BTC “prize” for the death of developer Pieter Wuille. 

His free spirit can be summed up in this sentence: 

“I like Bitcoin because I like freedom. Simple”. 

A few days ago on Teletica.com the news of his death was given. He was found drowned in Playa Hermosa de Garabito, Costa Rica. 

According to what was declared by Teletica, around 8.30 on 23 June he entered the sea to swim and was swept away by the current, dying instantly.  

Many doubts have been raised about the modalities of his death, as well as for the other illustrious death in June of a controversial crypto influencer, that of John McAfee , which took place practically the same day. 

At present, it seems that no one is aware of any descendants to whom he may have bequeathed his bitcoins. In fact, rumors are circulating online that Popescu’s family would not have access to his wallets. 

That is, as far as is known now, his bitcoins could in fact have been lost forever, unless someone somehow manages to get their hands on the private keys of his wallets. 

Therefore, in the light of the public information currently available on this matter, it would appear that the BTCs owned by Popescu are currently unusable, regardless of how many they really were. 

However, they could go back to being usable if someone gets hold of the private keys of the addresses on which they are stored. 

In theory, the heirs should be receiving these private keys, but as far as is known it does not appear that they will receive them because Popescu may not have bequeathed them to anyone. 

At this point, if the heirs do not actually receive them, his bitcoins could be lost forever, unless someone manages to get hold of the private keys in another way. 

Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoins

No one has ever managed to find the private keys of the addresses used by Satoshi Nakamoto to mine bitcoins between 2009 and 2011, and on which it is assumed that a total of more than a million bitcoins are stored, but it is not certain that Popescu was the same good at hiding his. 

The most probable hypothesis therefore seems to be that Popescu’s BTCs have been lost forever, as well as those of Nakamoto. This hypothesis, however, is not the only one in circulation, and above all it is not definitive because it is not possible to exclude that those keys will be found sooner or later. 

What happens to Bitcoins after the owner’s death?

This news refers to the still open problem of Bitcoin inheritance after the death of the wallet owner. 

The solution in theory would be very simple, that is to inherit the private keys or the seed using even a simple will. 

The problem more than anything else is that sometimes those who inherit private keys or seeds don’t even know what Bitcoins are. And it is also for this reason that the dedicated services to manage crypto inheritance are increasing.

Among other things, this type of service seems to have had a large increase in requests during the first lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic.

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