What Are Cryptohunters?
- Cryptohunters are individuals or businesses that help recover lost or stolen cryptocurrency.
- These experts use various tactics, including supercomputers and such practices as hypnotherapy.
- Cryptocurrency is a key target for hackers and thieves, especially given its rise in value over the last few years.
- The most common issue that leads to lost cryptocurrency is the individual holder losing access to their cryptocurrency wallets or vaults.
Cryptohunters work with both cryptocurrency holders and law enforcement agencies to search and recover misplaced, inaccessible, or stolen cryptocurrencies. These individuals or entities are experts in recovering or breaking into digital wallets. They may use modern supercomputers to crack private keys and even mental practices such as hypnotherapy on wallet holders to help recover cryptocurrency.
Cryptohunters offering their services online typically seek basic details, such as the last remembered private key and other possible details which individuals may use in creating their private keys (such as dates of birth, pet names, etc).
Cryptohunters then run these basic data points through their self-designed computer programs and try to create hundreds and thousands of possible combinations which then are used one at a time in an attempt to break secure keys of the wallets.
While its decentralized and unregulated nature is part of what entices investors and users, it’s also the mostly anonymous system that draws in hackers and thieves as well.
The most common issue that leads to lost cryptocurrency is the individual holder losing access to their cryptocurrency wallets or vaults. The digital assets in such wallets are kept secure by the use of a unique private key, which is a long string of alphanumeric characters similar to a bank PIN, or to a password for accessing an internet banking account.
Since cryptocurrencies and wallets work in a decentralized ecosystem, there is no central authority or service provider to reset or re-issue the key to the original crypto holders. It remains the sole responsibility of the individual to keep the private key safe and accessible only to them. Most individuals forget or misplace this private key, rendering their digital wallet inaccessible.
Other cases of lost digital coins are attributed to the increasing number of scams, hacks, and thefts.
The percentage of Bitcoin in circulation that is either locked or lost in wallets, per Chainalysis.
Types of Cryptohunters
Examples of cryptohunters include companies that look to recover passwords and corrupted wallets using specialized software to generate millions of potential passwords. Some data recovery services even use the same hacking schemes that hackers use to steal Bitcoin.
Some services can use data recovery services to search for and access passwords stored in text files. These services tend to charge a flat fee, have a solid success rate, and only take a few days.
It’s not only tech-savvy computer programmers who are in the game. The marketplace also has a significant presence of so-called “cryptohypnotists,” who offer their mind-management services with claims to recover passwords by unlocking the subconscious minds of the individual through techniques like hypnotherapy. Essentially, they attempt to help the holder mentally recover where and what they may have written down as their private key.
Cryptohunters also offer their services to track down the trails of cryptocurrency thefts and scams. They work with law agencies to identify where the stolen coins may have been transferred, and such information can be vital to nullify the transactions linked to theft or block those wallets completely.
The one key way cryptohunters can help recover stolen cryptocurrency is if thieves use exchanges to cash out. However, criminals have become more sophisticated, converting Bitcoin to alternative cryptocurrencies to hide their tracks or by cashing out via foreign exchanges.
The majority of such cryptohunting services charge cryptocurrency, usually, a portion of the balance recovered, such as 20%. Prices vary, and depend upon the success rate of recovery, granted many of these services, if successful, can take months.
On the other hand, computer-based recovery service providers and cryptohypnotists may also charge an upfront fixed cost, plus a percentage of the recovered amount. Cryptohypnotists also charge a fixed amount on a per-session basis, depending upon how many hours and sessions are taken by the individual to recover the lost details.