Bitcoins, NFTs, emails, photos… Inheriting digital heritage, how does it work?

Will anyone ever inherit Satoshi Nakamoto’s virtual fortune? Maybe no one! It completely disappeared in 2011, just two years after the creation of bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency. Enough time to accumulate a large amount of bitcoins, the value of which is estimated at over a billion dollars.

However. He left – no one knows if he is alive or dead and his name is a pseudonym – without leaving an access code for any heirs or trustees.

No one can recover this coin, which can be converted into cold hard cash, but for now it remains a buried treasure in the blockchain universe.

The access code is the key

Blockchain? Basically, it’s an incredibly secure cryptocurrency wallet. It is said to be untouchable! And it is to this day. Satoshi Nakamoto’s is the dream of the worldwide crypto community seeking to unravel the mystery and access the loot. Because this virtual money is a security of the bearer. Whoever has the code has the key to the “vault” and owns its contents.

It’s the same with NFTs, “non-fungible tokens”. These are files corresponding for example to digital, unique works of art, which can be sold and bought thanks to the same blockchain technology as cryptocurrencies.

All families are potential Satoshi Nakamotos

You don’t need to have the fortune of Satoshi Nakamoto for the greatest concern to be settled among the heirs. Because they too will need PINs and other access codes for phone, computer, bank accounts and dematerialized contracts to carry out the inheritance. It remains to find a way to bequeath these sesame seeds to the right recipient, but not necessarily during his lifetime.

In other words, the small notebook with all the details next to the computer is not the right solution, as it is accessible to everyone and complicates things in case of divorce, theft, family disputes. Hiding it somewhere might be worse. It may take time for the family to discover it and therefore slow the progression, or even block it, if it is hidden too well.

Define inheritors of identifiers

Who will be able to read the messages by getting the message code? Who will take care of closing the social media accounts or keeping them up and running? Who will have access to the online payment account, such as PayPal, in which there is money? Who will be responsible for keeping the photos stored on the computer or smartphone?

So many questions that tear families apart at the moment of death, when no one agrees. There is every interest to pay them off in the same way as the transfer of classic assets: houses, art pieces hanging in the salon, bank accounts, etc. You just have to remember to assign the codes to the people you choose. Okay, but how?

According to Maître Michel Kremer, notary in Puget-Ville, in the Var, “The best solution remains the authentic will, drawn up with the help of a notary. It will be registered in the central file of the provisions of the last wishes and will be accompanied by a special document containing all the elements that allow the transfer of digital inheritance” . .

And of course, access codes are essential. It is best, for example, to put them in the form of a USB key – provided it does not break – or a handwritten letter in a safe.

Another recommended solution: holographic will, “provided that it has also been drawn up by a notary to avoid errors that could render it obsolete”.

Why this separation from authentic will? To prevent the disclosure of the codes to all heirs, including those who are not interested, when the will in question is read. Nothing is simple in the dematerialized world, which reveals its flaws, complications, and kinks.

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