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Upstart Startups: Crypto Asset Recovery

Published Wednesday Jun 8, 2022

Author Judi Currie

Upstart Startups: Crypto Asset Recovery

Gov. Chris Sununu’s recently established Commission on Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets is another indicator of both the growing acceptance of these alternative monetary systems and the need to protect consumers.

As cryptocurrencies are by their nature decentralized, there’s no help desk to call if you lose your password, leaving some consumers with a digital bank account trapped forever in the ether. This is why Crypto Asset Recovery in Durham launched in 2017 (

The company was founded by Chris Brooks, a tech entrepreneur, and his son Charlie, a computer science major at the University of Vermont, who joined the business in 2021, attracted by the idea of becoming a Bitcoin bounty hunter.

“If you lose your login credentials, you have no recourse. There is no reset password button. You need to hire someone like us to recover it for you,” Charlie says.

Often, clients bought Bitcoin years ago and forgot the password. “We get a copy of their wallet, which contains an encrypted version of their key then get them to share the patterns they use to create passwords,” says Chris. “We ask where they typically put the special characters, and from that information we might be able to generate 10 million possible passwords.”

The fee to crack a digital wallet is a 20% commission, and the process may take a few hours or a few days. If the wallet is empty, there is no charge for the work. The median balance is about $1,000 but can be higher. “We recently cracked a wallet for a client from the Philippines, who spent a few hundred bucks back in 2013 or so and bought three-quarters of a Bitcoin then forgot about it,” says Charlie. “He cashed out and had about $25,000 after our fees,” Chris says.  “In 2021, we recovered seven figures in USD of Bitcoin and took 20% of that.”

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