A recent CNN report has related how some Cryptocurrency holders and startups consider making wills to protect their assets after death.
Jack Davies, a 23 year old from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, has come up with a solution to making sure that the cryptocurrency he and his family own remains accessible in the event any of them pass away.
Per the report, research estimates up to 3.8 million Bitcoin, worth up to $30bn (£22.8bn) today, has been lost, as a result of owners dying without leaving a means for the living to access their stash
Despite the reservations of some experts about the risk associated with cyptocurrency, its popularity has continued unabated.
A Cardiff firm believes it has an answer to safeguarding it beyond the grave.
Coin Cover has created one of the world’s first cryptocurrency wills, with CEO David Janczewski saying it is unsurprising some people have taken these assets to the grave up to now.
“Cryptocurrency is one of those odd things which is very private for a lot of people. If you acquired yours early, you might actually have a substantial amount of money. You might be worried about your personal security,” he said.
“And nobody thinks they are going to die. Nobody plans for that eventuality. And therefore, when that happens, maybe you haven’t told your family members exactly how they should recover it.”
The scheme sees people carrying an “indestructible” card which has information about their cryptocurrency, as well as others they give to their beneficiaries.
If the holder dies, their loved ones or an executor contacts the firm with a unique number on the card, along with a death certificate. Coin Cover then investigates and retrieves the funds
A wills, trusts and estates lawyer at Harrison Clark Rickerbys solicitors, David King, said an average of two out of ten clients’ list cryptocurrency among their assets.
His firm saw a case where the family of a client, after his death, believed he had owned Bitcoin but were forced to drop it because they did not have the information to access it.
“I think we, as private client lawyers, need to step into the 21st Century now and start recording that data when we are meeting with clients,” he said.
“One of the things that clients don’t like to do is to give away the access codes for this information.
“Whilst it’s secure and we as a firm of solicitors have a duty to the client to keep that confidential, naturally there is hesitancy from the client to give us that information. [But] I think we need to be smarter.”
There have been other high-profile examples of cryptocurrency fortunes having been lost when the holder died.
In December 2018, Gerald Cotten, CEO of QuadrigaCX, Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, died unexpectedly eaving customer to mourn the loss of more than $135m as nobody had access to the password to access the funds.
A study by University of Cambridge in 2017 estimated there were between 2.9 million and 5.8 million active unique users of cryptocurrencies, although the exact number is probably more.
The study also showed that 9% of 18 to 24-year-olds owned cryptocurrency and 7% of over-55 year olds knew somebody who had bought cryptocurrency.
Jack Davies, who works in the cryptocurrency industry, is one of the growing number of 18 to 24-year-olds who own some form of the digital currency used online.
He’ is seriously considering drawing up a will to ensure his digital assets are passed on to the right people, if he should die.