November 28, 2019

Cryptocurrency wills to secure Bitcoin after death

By Lucy Ingham

A cryptocurrency wills product has been launched to solve the problem of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies becoming inaccessible after their owner’s death.

Developed by cryptocurrency insurance company Coincover, cryptocurrency wills are designed to make it possible for someone to take over a person’s cryptocurrency wallet after they die.

The product is designed to resolve a frequent issue with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies: the system to retrieve them – which is designed for security – means that without the correct wallet IDs and access information, they are utterly inaccessible, unlike traditional assets.

This has led to millions of Bitcoin being lost due to mislaid wallets, a problem that the insurance industry is now beginning to tackle, but it is also a severe issue when Bitcoin owners die.

According to Coincover, around 4 million Bitcoins, equivalent to around $30bn, have been lost as a result of their owner’s death.

Introducing cryptocurrency wills

Coincover’s cryptocurrency wills service takes the form of a kit that can be purchased from major retailers such as Amazon.

This contains a stainless steel card with a unique ID, as well notification cards that are designed to be given to the intended beneficiaries or the person who will execute the will.

Users set up their cryptocurrency will via Coincover’s website, which includes setting up a BitGo hot wallet where the Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency is stored, and then give out the notification cards.

Upon a person’s death, the information on the card, combined with a death certificate, is enough to enable the cryptocurrency to be released to the selected person.

While the topic may seem dark, it is a practical solution to a growing issue.

“As Bitcoin becomes more mainstream and its value continues to increase, considering how to manage it as part of an estate planning exercise is becoming increasingly difficult. Many people don’t know that unlike physical assets which form part of an estate on death such as savings, property, pensions and investments, you can’t get at cryptocurrency, unless you have the key or password to it,” said David Janczewski, CEO and co-founder of Coincover.

“There’s no bank manager to ask, and no one can break in for you. That’s why so many billion Bitcoins are lost when people die each year. Our Cryptocurrency Wills product meets this gap in the market.

Read more: Central bank-backed cryptocurrency will be launched by 2024, predicts IBM

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