I Mined Bitcoin As A Lark In 2010. I Still Have The Old PC. Can You Recover Bitcoin?
Can you recover bitcoin mined in the relative infancy of the cryptocurrency? If you can, it would be the equivalent of winning the lottery.
Back in 2010, a single block was 50 bitcoins. If you mined just one block and held onto it, it could be worth $200,000 today — and closer to a quarter million dollars a month-or-so ago before China banned bitcoin.
What if your coins are locked inside an old computer? If they’re retrievable, chances are you’re rich.
However, “the temptation for a helpful geek to rip you off or lie about how many coins you have and abscond with some is very high. So be really careful” — that’s the consensus below.
“Quit your job and learn how to get the coins yourself. Even if it takes you a year.”
This question, “I Mined Bitcoin As A Lark In 2010. I Still Have The Old PC. How Can I Recover The Coins?” originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
Answers by Vivek Teega, Patrick Broadfoot, Alex J, Zaki Ahmed Siddiqui, Myles Black, Jay Milla, Manuel Mayorquin, Chris Pay, Owen Miller, Mohith Agadi, Kayla Marie and Bob Ojne.
Vivek Teega, Developing stuff on Florincoin
Answered Aug. 23
Wow, you are really rich even if you had mined one single block 🙂
If you were using Bitcoin core wallet to store your coins, there will be “wallet.dat” file in the bitcoin directory. You need to recover that. Then install Bitcoin core on your new machine, let the blockchain sync and then replace the wallet.dat in the new machine. You’ll get back all your Bitcoins.
Bitcoin directory can be found at :
Linux – go to home folder using “cd”. then type “.bitcoin”
Windows – Press windows key + run, type “%appdata%”. You should see a bitcoin folder there
As Patrick said, beware of people trying to steal your Bitcoins, they are worth a lot. I doubt you’ll really need anybody’s help on this. The task is pretty simple IMO. and also claim your Bitcoin cash 🙂
Answered Aug. 22
If this is true and you can recover the coins you are now filthy rich. A single block back then was 50 bitcoins. If you mined just one block that is now worth over $200,000. You likely mined more than one. To recover those coins you either need to run that wallet and move those coins, or run that wallet and get the private keys, or recover the wallet.dat file which is in a hidden directory ( but easy to get to ) and install it in a modern wallet. If you still have the original hard drive and it has never been upgraded, your chances are very good you are rich as all hell. The temptation for a helpful geek to completely rip you off or lie about how many coins you have and abscond with some is very high. So be really careful.
Alex J, CEO
Answered Sept. 1
Open the task bar and search for wallet.dat.
That should be your wallet backup. Try running that (if you still have the Bitcoin client installed). If not then copy that backup and import it into a newer client. Wait for the blockchain to download and your Bitcoins should be there and ready to spend.
Make sure that before you do anything that you have a backup of that wallet.dat file on a USB/external HDD (just in case something goes wrong).
You could also try using alternatives other than the Bitcoin core client. It’ll take a long time for the Blockchain to synchronise so something like electrum could work. Here’s a very good article on how to sweep your keys from Qt into electrum: Transferring coins from Bitcoin-Qt to Electrum.
Good luck and welcome to the BTC club 😉
Zaki Ahmed Siddiqui
Since we are talking about 2010 — assuming it’s Windows XP ( or Vista) — good that you still have the old PC. Start the PC (do not connect it to internet as it will be infected with virus within few minutes and corrupt all data on the hard disk.) If it’s not powering on, then remove the hard disk from this PC and connect to working PC/laptop via external USB connector. Once connected, try to go to c:\DocumentsandSettings\Loginname\ApplicationDAta. Search for Wallet.dat file. Safely copy this copy.
Download the latest bitcoin wallet. Let it sync completely, which may takes hours as the file size is running into GBs now. After its synced replace your wallet.dat file and congratulations. You are now rich.
Myles Black, Random Internet Guy
I don’t reply here often, but since this is basically the equivalent of winning the lottery without getting public recognition, I’d advise that you look up advice on what to do if you win the lottery, since people WILL try to scam you by any means possible.
Have fun with your money. Watch out for phish.
Jay Milla, New Worlds Institute
Answered Sept. 27
I’m sure there will be lots of people willing to help you for a fee. Someone mentioned trust no one, and that’s good advice. Will throw a hat into the ring.
I’d also advise keeping them. The price of bitcoin is on a steady up tick as the China affair is starting to settle down.
Manuel Mayorquin, Cryptocurrencies Enthusiast
Answered Sept. 6
Hire someone close to you to try and recover information from your HDD at your house. To manage this situation with extreme measures can be the difference between you being rich or not
Remember not to mention the fact that there are bitcoins stored!
Chris Pay, Information Security Consultant
Answered Aug. 28
If your PC is still running an old operating system (like XP) then do not connect it to the Internet as your system will be at risk of being compromised through any of the vulnerabilities that have been discovered since you last updated it. The first thing you should do is to make an offline mirror image of your hard drive using something like Acronis True Image. This will enable you to recover your system to its original state at any time. Then find someone who can help you to recover your keys while keeping the system off-line.
Owen Miller, CTO at Barfly.ai (2017-present)
Updated Sept. 6
As others have said, it’s too easy for someone to steal your coins. If it’s 200k, quit your job and learn how to get the coins yourself. Even if it takes you a year, that’s more than you probably would’ve been paid otherwise.
Mohith Agadi, Editor at Gusture (2017-present)
Answered 3 hours ago
By now you probably have an idea on how to recover your BTC. So, once you recover whatever the number of bitcoins you may have, try to hodl them till October 25th, as another hard fork is happening or may be it’s just a speculation, but if it’s true, you will end up having an equal amount of Bitcoin Gold (BTG). Cheers to those who are hodling! 🙂
Kayla Marie, Computer programmer
Answered Aug. 26
I agree with every other answer on here try to recover it in the process be very careful who you pick. It’s worth more then you think, keep your options open and make sure you tell them that you know the value of them so you don’t have a nerd clean you out.
Answered Sept. 20
Hell, if the suggestions don’t work. I’ll recover it for 10%. Seriously.
Sign up for the Moguldom newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know about reversing inequality in tech, delivered straight to your inbox.