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Inheriting Cryptocurrency: What to Know

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February 22, 2018 | 

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Joanna Newman | 

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Now, the laws that govern the inheritance of cryptocurrency are still a bit blurred.

It can be nearly impossible to access the portfolio of a miner or investor unless they give up their respective encryption keys. And, this security due to the decentralized and non-regulated nature of the encrypted devices.

Apparently, there have been a few cases of inheritance issues surrounding cryptocurrency, including the case of Matthew Moody. Still, up to now, there have been no unanimous decisions or even proposition to try to remedy the problem.

Illustrating the Issue

The case surrounding the Moody family is the perfect way to illustrate the issues that surround the inheritance of cryptocurrency. Back in 2013, Matthew Moody, a Bitcoin miner, lost his life in a plane crash during an observation flight in Chico, California. His father, Micheal Moody, who was aware of his son’s work, expected to inherit Matthew’s portfolio.

Therefore, the retired software engineer made a declaration stating that his son was one of the first to mine Bitcoin and that he had used his personal computer to do so. Still, even if his father knew that Matthew was in possession of cryptocurrency before his passing, he had absolutely no way to access them.

What’s more is that the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency requires each user to create an identifier and a specific address for their device.

Now, after years of trying to recover his son’s cryptocurrency, Micheal Moody made a statement that there always seems to be more questions than answers.

The Future of the Deceased’s Cryptocurrency

According to a Blockchain developer, Todd Kandaris from Stepwyze believes that the complete regulation of the industry is impossible due to its decentralized nature.

The situation is made even worse when it comes to procedures for transferring a deceased person’s cryptocurrency. Nolan Bauerle, a research director explains that normally a dead person’s cryptocurrency would become inaccessible and would be abandoned.

This is due to a lack of some form of authority who would be able to resolve the issue. One potential solution would be for individuals to leave the information about their cryptocurrency portfolio in their will.

A Promising Solution

Most companies, who operate in the industry, are in possession of their client’s private encryption keys. In general, this serves as a security measure to protect customer’s from completely losing their account information, which would otherwise make their accounts permanently inaccessible.

So, if a death certificate can be presented, some companies may be able to transfer the encryption keys. However, this practice is far from unanimous in the world of Blockchain technology since it violates the idea of decentralization.

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