Soon after Bitcoins became valuable enough to be worth stealing, I started seeing news about viruses/malware that steal Bitcoin wallets. Presumably, wallet encryption has reduced the level of this, but is there any way of measuring it?

Given that there is probably growth in the number of users, I guess you'd have to compare it with that figure to get a comparative figure over time for the chance of having a wallet stolen. Is that figure measurable?

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    Can we prove that wallets were stolen even? Was Alinvain lying? Nobody knows. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 0:59
  • Nothing personal, but I don't think this can be answered in any form, voting to close.
    – o0'.
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 9:29
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    Is a "no" answer not constructive? Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


The only way you can measure something like that, is if users would first of all know if their wallets get stolen, and second of all, if they reported that problem. Besides that there is no real way to know if a wallet actually got stolen, nor are there any means of verifying that it did.

On the other hand, if one was to steal a wallet from some big Bitcoin website (say, a pool, an exchange, or an eWallet), one probably could notice a change of pattern of transactions, and we might hear some official statements from website owners about the theft. In this case though, it would probably be more of "quality over quantity" theft, as in we wouldn't see many cases like this appear.

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    We now have confirmation that if a wallet was stolen from a pool, we would know about it - bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=66916.0. (a Linode security breach allowed theft from slush's pool, Gavin's faucet and others). This particular failure mode has little relevance for people keeping a wallet at home. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 21:25
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    Of course, you might be left wondering as to whether a theft was real or staged, as with mybitcoin.com Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 21:26
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    @MeniRosenfeld, great example; thanks for the link. I don't believe it proves anything in a more general sense though. There's no guarantee that we would be told in every case that bitcoins are stolen. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 21:39
  • It's worse than we thought, a huge amount has been stolen from Bitcoinica - bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=66979 Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 10:31

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