Alright, I’m new to Bitcoin/Crypto, and this might be a long story but worth it.

My life long friend had a $50 Visa gift card back in 2009-2011. His friends were over the house one day and mentioned this new thing called Bitcoin. My friend (we’ll call him John), said cool I’ll buy some (mind you, we were early teens). He didn’t have cash or any kind of credit card so he used the entire gift card, on Bitcoin... in 2009-2011. He made the purchase, and they continued on with their day. Fast forward to about 2014-2015, my friend John is diagnosed with serious epilepsy and had to have a portion of his brain tissue removed, as a result, his memory of anything prior to the surgery is shot. Fast forward, 2017... BTC ROCKETS in value. John, remembering that he had purchased BTC back in 09’-11’ went on a search for the computer they purchased it on, and here lies the issue. There are 3 computers it was potentially purchased on, his, his brothers, his friends. The only remaining one is his which we recently found in the closet... I have the hard drives, I have the hardware to access 2 of them. There are no "wallet" or "wallet.dat" files on the two drives I've searched BUT there are a few files on there (forgive me if I am totally lost) one being CryptoCME.dll and a few others in a "Crypto" folder with a bunch of text. All of which have text that resembles this text when I open it on Notepad:

©Ô„ Õ}UðÛ oˆ‘ ÞùêÊÓìÚ ËŽÌY; its a LOT of that kind of text and a lot of the files have "CryptoAPI Private Key" in plain text written in them.

I'm unsure what this encryption/cryptography is or if I'm looking at a bunch of stuff that has literally nothing to do with Bitcoin. Anything would help. Anyone that helps me gain access, will be compensated. And yes, I am well aware of the scammers out there, I understand that this acts as cash and can be taken immediately if I give any specifics out so don't try it, and no need to remind me. Please excuse my complete ignorance and thanks for the help.

  • 1
    CryptoCME.dll is unrelated to cryptocurrency, as is CryptoAPI Private Key.
    – Claris
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 21:29
  • You say you're aware of scammers but you are no doubt being contacted by many right now. Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 10:11

1 Answer 1


You are on a wild goose chase.

Don't use notepad to investigate files, use a hexdump tool and/or something like the 'strings' command in Linux or in the installable Windows Linux subsystem that Microsoft provide in Windows 10.

Don't work on the actual discs, make a low level duplicate, not a file copy, but a copy that includes the contents of unused space. If you are working on the original disks you are liable to trample over valuable data in unallocated space. Mounting the disks read only might reduce the risks but working on s low level copy is best. Use file recovery tools on the copy to retrieve deleted files and fragments. Search contents for typical wallet contents. Don't rely on filenames.

Check old email for messages from online exchanges or wallet providers.

Familiarise yourself with the appearance of private keys and look through scraps of paper in places you friend kept important paper documents.

Even if you find a wallet, there is a good chance you won't have any clue to the password that might be needed.

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