Recently Gerry Cotten died, a sad event like all of the deaths that have occurred. The thing that makes this a major media event is that he operated Quadriga, a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, a real storage for imaginary money. It was secure, as only he had the password. The $250 million stored there is still there, or so everyone assumes as no one has the key to open it and check. The imaginary money will probably be there long after the 115,000 users have also died.

The issue of Bitcoin and other imaginary currencies has already been discussed thoroughly in the papers and general media but what of the need for passwords.

The song ‘Down Home’ by Alabama includes the lyrics ‘When a man’s word and a handshake was all that was needed.’ There were no passwords then, and trust was the standard; but that approach is so far from the current approaches that it is unrecognizable now. Most people are honest and trustworthy, although not all are; so some form of security is now needed. But does it need to be that secure?

It’s a shame trust is gone, and now probably access to the $250 million too. Will there eventually be a time when fake news, social media and password are only words in a dictionary and not blights on our society?

Dennis Fitzgerald

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