Hundreds of thousands of Kiwis are now investing in cryptocurrency, but there are fears that billions of dollars worth of digital funds have become permanently inaccessible.
Unlike traditional dollars and cents, crypto is not regulated by any central authority – all users have is a long and complex password, or a “private key”, to access their funds.
As commercial law expert Professor Alex Sims explains, If this key is lost or forgotten, “that’s it, gone”.
“You can’t get your cryptocurrency back, whereas if you lose your password, you can go along to the bank, and the bank can give you a new password, and that is where a real problem lies.”
To combat this, Kiwi startup company Everlasting is working on a solution to ensure that investors can access their funds whenever they want to.
Co-founder Luke Ryan says he has met many people who have experienced the disappearance of their digital funds and hopes to provide other options if keys get lost.
This includes setting up a digital fault to secure crypto holdings and helping investors save their funds for their next of kin.
“There are some things people may not be aware of, such as having their digital assets actually in their will… or we actually make sure they’ve got the right wording, and they’re working with the right lawyers to have that covered in their estate,” Ryan said.
It’s one of only a few companies globally adding a security backstop to crypto to ensure digital investments are not lost in the code forever.