Man who acquired 6,000 BTC for $5 lost access after cleaner unknowingly ignored his passcodes

In a turn of events that sounds like a Hollywood scenario, Clifton Collins, a Irish drug dealer lost his entire $57 million BTC fortune after a cleaner unknowingly threw away the passcodes hidden inside a fishing rod.

He used rented properties throughout Ireland, including the Galway home, to grow crops which he harvested, packaged and sold in Dublin.

Collins used the proceeds to buy 6,000 BTC in late 2011 and early 2012, when the value of the fledgling cryptocurrency was hovering around $5. He did this to escape the control of the authorities.

To keep his cryptocurrencies hidden from prying eyes, Collins designed what he thought would be a waterproof hiding place for the passcodes – inside a fishing rod hidden in his rental apartment. However, fate played with his plans when a cleaner hired by his owner got rid of the rod, mistaking it for trash. This incident was the first reported by the Irish Times.

In a nutshell, police arrested Collins in 2017 after finding €2,000 worth of cannabis in his car. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Subsequently, the owner of the Galway house had it emptied, resulting in Collins’ belongings being put in a landfill.

The cruel turn of events unfolded beyond Collins’ reach. The fishing rod had been burned, making it impossible for him and the Irish authorities to recover the enormous fortune.

Before his arrest, he transferred the funds to 12 different accounts, each with 500 BTC, and printed the corresponding passwords on a piece of A4 paper rolled up inside the fishing rod.

Other Bitcoin accounts worth around $1.6 million were seized, but the main stash remains locked and inaccessible to authorities.

It’s worth noting that Collins had worked as a security guard and a beekeeper – he won awards for his honey – before choosing a new line of work around 2005.


Collins’ harrowing story serves as a stark warning for people embarking on a cryptocurrency investment journey. Although cryptocurrencies offer attractive benefits such as anonymity and low transaction fees, it is essential to recognize the importance of the inherent risks.

The most pronounced danger lies in the extreme volatility of cryptocurrencies. In recent months, Bitcoin prices have fluctuated wildly, leaving investors vulnerable to substantial losses over remarkably short periods of time.

Additionally, the unregulated nature of cryptocurrencies means that investors are left without government or financial institutional protection. This lack of oversight exposes individuals to a myriad of uncertainties.

For example, losing the private keys of a Bitcoin wallet can render the funds unrecoverable. Collins’ unfortunate experience further reinforces this concern, highlighting the risk associated with storing vital identifying information in vulnerable locations.

In conclusion, potential investors wondering about the appeal of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies should carefully consider the risks before making a decision. It is of utmost importance to protect investments by securing private keys in impervious locations. Making informed choices and taking necessary precautions can turn the potential pitfalls of crypto investing into opportunities for growth and prosperity.


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