How Wired magazine lost $100,000 in bitcoin
Louise Matsakis of Wired magazine writes about how the publication garnered about $100,000 in bitcoin in 2013 after receiving a mining device and then promptly destroyed how to retrieve them.
Matsakis writes, “Wired’s miner essentially won the Bitcoin math lottery a couple of times, allowing it to generate a little over 12 coins into the network. Then, the staff had to figure out what to do with them. “We had a very long conversation, over several weeks, about what to do with the money,” says Michael Calore, a senior editor at Wired who has been at the magazine since 2006. Some staff members argued the Bitcoin should be donated, or set aside for a charitable purpose in the future. Others said it had to be destroyed permanently. What was agreed upon was that the money shouldn’t just site there, because it could influence how the magazine reported on cryptocurrencies.
“I said we had to dump it and donate the money to charity soonest or we wouldn’t be able to cover Bitcoin,” says Adam Rogers, a deputy editor at Wired. “We had to disclose it in every story.” Eventually, it was decided that the private key, which unlocks the Bitcoin wallet and allows the funds to be spent, should be destroyed.
“We talked about donating it to a journalism institution, or setting it aside for a scholarship. But we decided that if we gained any benefit from it at all, it would color our future coverage of bitcoin,” says Calore. “So we just destroyed the key, knowing full well that it could eventually be worth six or seven figures.”
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