The dangers of living in a digital world

Austin and I have suffered a bit of a setback over the last few weeks. Some definitely not our fault, but some we have to take responsibility for – even if only through carelessness. We hope by sharing our story you can learn from our experience and avoid the same mistakes.

We have stayed in Panama for the majority of our time over the last 2 years and have spent a large amount of time and energy raising money for the dogs of Panama through our gofundme, facebook and website pages. We primarily try to arrange spay clinics, but also help out with medicine and food wherever we can. Over the last couple of years, we have constantly struggled with getting our money over to us. I am English so the exchange rates fluctuate (especially post-Brexit!) and my bank’s fees are extortionate. Austin is American so the currency is at least the same, but for such a forward thinking country in so many ways, America is sadly behind the times when it comes to ease of moving your money around. As such, we had been experimenting with different methods of keeping and accessing our money, including Bitcoins.

These crypto currencies seemed like the perfect solution for us. Online access and reasonable fees, plus Panama City has a BitCoin ATM so it was easy for us to setup an online wallet, load our account and start using immediately.  Unfortunately, our house got broken into and the phone that had the bitcoin wallet app and all the password data was stolen. As was our computer and our hard drive with the back up copies. We reported the theft to the police as soon as we could, but this happened a week ago and there are no leads. The chances of getting any of our stuff back is so small at this point, that we have basically given up hope of it happening.

As well as losing around $1,500 of stuff, we have also lost the access to our bitcoin, which had all of the funding for the neuter clinics and providing the local dogs with food and medicine. I don’t believe there’s anyway at all the people who took our stuff will ever try and access the app. More likely is that they’ll reset the phone and try and sell it on which will be a hard job in itself given it’s around 6 years old and battered. But it doesn’t matter – without the software and necessary key codes, we cannot access our coins and they are as good as gone. This was all money we had raised for the dogs which means we will have to start all over again.

So a warning for everyone out there – think about where and how you are backing up your access to your crypto wallets – we got robbed, but, while it’s unlikely, there are other situations where you could also lose the same stuff. Your house might burn down or get flooded and then all your technology is effectively lost. While your insurance might cover your items, I’m yet to see a policy that will cover you if you lose access to your BitCoin wallet!

If you want to try to help us recuperate our losses and help with the ever growing dog and cat population of the North Coast of Panama, please think about making a donation to us today. But even if not, please, please double back up your online wallets to cold storage, or to offsite locations!!

Heres a pic of one our dumbest, loveliest dogs looking dumb and lovely to cheer me up.

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