There have been a lot of stories in the news about people throwing away fortunes in Bitcoin as part of the general hysteria around cryptocurrency but a recent incident in Russia where a plane lost tons of gold and silver shows that hard currency is just as likely to go missing.
Russian Plane Drops Payload of Gold
The story of the British man who threw away a hard drive with 7,500 Bitcoin on it in a landfill and then sought permission to comb through the 350,000 tons of rubbish has been in the world press since late 2017.
There is also the story of the Hypnotherapist in the US state of South Carolina who charges one Bitcoin plus %5 of recovered funds to put people under and regress their memories in order to recover forgotten passwords.
These stories often come under headlines like the craziest things people do to recover lost Bitcoin and are written in a way to highlight that it’s not just the people that are crazy but the idea of Bitcoin and digital currency in general.
This presumption leaves out the fact that people, institutions, and governments lose huge amounts of fiat, hard cash all of the time.
Just yesterday a Russian Cargo plane that had stopped to refuel on its way from a Siberian gold mine lost part of its payload of over 200 bars of Dore, a gold-silver mix.
The 3.5-ton weight of bars were scattered over a remote area that was immediately closed down so locals couldn’t make off with any of the precious metals. In the end, officials reported they have recovered all of the 172 of 200 bars that fell from the plane without giving any details of how.
US Military Turned to Electronic Payments
That may be just one isolated instance of a freak accident but there is the ongoing situation of US payments and cash hordes kept in Afganistan and Iraq during wartime activity gone missing.
Audits going back ten years continually show huge amounts of US dollars, usually as pallets of cash simply disappearing from ‘secure’ locations. In one case alone $6 billion went missing from an Iraqi bank.
The majority of this money was earmarked for salaries of Iraqi and Afghani service men and contractors working along the US forces as well as cash kept on hand to pay for equipment and supplies.
Eventually, the US government decided to end the problem of skimming and outright theft by paying electronically. Sending money directly to contractor and service men’s bank accounts.
So what is the safest way to store and move currency, an encrypted string of numbers or a pallet full of paper?