In 2009, Kristoffer Koch bought 5,000 bitcoins for £16 and forgot about it
A Norwegian citizen has made the headlines thanks to a small investment in Bitcoin that years later bought him a flat in Oslo.
Kristoffer Koch, a 29 year old engineer, got 150 kroner (£16) worth of bitcoins in 2009, at a time when the virtual currency was trading for pennies. He completely forgot about it until April this year, when he read an article about the soaring value of the virtual currency.
Today, the typical price of one Bitcoin stands at around £132.
Bitcoins are a digital currency based on an open-source, peer-to-peer Internet protocol, first introduced in 2009 by an anonymous developer known under the alias ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.
It was long thought that bitcoins cannot be traced to establish their ownership, leading to their popularity among certain Internet subcultures. However, several experts have suggested that anonymity of Bitcoin is an illusion, and with some effort, digital wallets can be connected to real individuals.
The NKR reports that Koh invested into the newly created currency while he was writing a university paper on encryption. He completely forgot about this episode until reading about the wild price fluctuations of the Bitcoin market in April. Koch says he spent a day trying to find the password to his Bitcoin wallet, which turned out to be worth around £429,000.
Cashing out just a fifth of this amount allowed the lucky engineer to buy and renovate a flat worth 2.6 million kroner (£116,000) in the wealthy Toyen neighbourhood in Oslo.
“It’s bizarre, these psychological reflexes that make us attach a value to something that doesn’t have any in itself,” said Koh.
Earlier this month, the price of Bitcoin dropped sharply following the closure of illegal ‘Dark Web’ marketplace Silk Road by the FBI, and the seizure of $3.6 million (£2.2m) worth of bitcoins. It has since fully recovered, hitting a new post-crash high last week.
What do you know about Bitcoin? Take our quiz!