The Capital
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The Capital

What Happens to Your Bitcoins when You Die?

What happens to your bitcoins when you die? Well, there are three ways to pass your digital wealth to the next generation.

Description: If you fall into the bracket of the average Bitcoin user, you probably have no plans of exiting anytime soon. But, if you own any meaningful amount of digital assets, you should think about what happens to your bitcoin when you die.

Cryptocurrencies are still outside the official legislative field in many countries. And where they are not banned, there are no clear regulations on all aspects related to digital assets. One of them is the issue of crypto inheritance. To be more precise: what will happen to the cryptocurrency of a deceased person? The question of bitcoins after the death of their owner is largely up to him. The cryptocurrency does not have a centralized management authority that can automatically hand over assets to be inherited after death. The first way to solve this problem is to transfer their private keys to their own family members.

Hal Finney, one of the first supporters and developers of Bitcoin, bequeathed his coins to his children by simply giving them his keys. Approximately one year before his death in 2014, Finney left an important message:

“Those discussions about inheriting your bitcoins are of more than academic interest. My bitcoins are stored in our safe deposit box, and my son and daughter are tech savvy. I think they’re safe enough. I’m comfortable with my legacy.”

This practice of inheritance is simple, but it is not suitable for everyone. Not everyone has a person they can fully rely on, even if they are family members. So you can resort to a second way — go to the crypto exchanges to unlock the accounts of the deceased. For example, Coinbase, America’s largest crypto exchange, allows those who have lost loved ones to access a family member’s assets after they have submitted a number of documents, including a death certificate and a will. Coinbase users can also specify the recipient of the inheritance in their account. However, the procedure is not supported directly through the exchange, but by the use of legal services.

This method is suitable if the deceased kept his assets on a major trading platform. However, there are also certain risks and difficulties here. Firstly, the coins on the exchange depend on the exchange itself, and in case of a hack, they may disappear. Secondly, many crypto enthusiasts divide their wealth into several parts and store it on different wallets, exchanges or other platforms. That is to say, it may not be so easy to collect the entire amount.

The only third way left is to use specialised services. Companies like Safe Haven, Casa, and TrustVerse are working on their own solutions, which allow people to bequeath their crypto assets using blockchain and cryptography.

In particular, the Inheriti platform from Safe Haven gives people the opportunity to bequeath not only cryptocurrencies but also access to social networks like Facebook and Google+. According to company manager Giugardino Loggino, the platform does not store assets themselves but merely keeps encrypted information about them. Accordingly, the company’s employees do not even know what the keys are given to them for storage — a strong argument in favour of working with such a platform.

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