A Romanian bitcoin billionaire who died suddenly at the age of 41 has left behind more questions than answers – chief among them; where’s the money?
41-year-old Mircea Popescu, an outspoken figure and an early adopter of Bitcoin, left behind an estimated $2 billion in bitcoin after reportedly drowning off the coast of Costa Rica near Playa Hermosa, according to local news reports, which said that he was “swept away by the current and died on the spot.”
And while his death has since been confirmed by three women who were reportedly close to him, others have suggested he may have faked his own death. According to the Daily Mail, rumors are swirling that Popescu’s family doesn’t have access to his digital assets – which, as crypto analyst Alexander Marder of Crypto Briefing notes, could mean that tens of thousands of Bitcoins are ‘off the market.’
Other Bitcoin watchers have similarly suggested that the reported $2 billion in bitcoin could be lost forever.
“It looks like that with the deaths of Mircea Popescu and John McAfee a significant amount of $BTC might be lost forever. RIP,” tweeted Marder (though McAfee claimed to have been broke near the time of his death).
Popescu was known for being eccentric and outspoken – causing offended critics to dub him the ‘father of Bitcoin toxicity.’
“Bitcoin is fate. It operates completely outside of any human agency. For all you know about [bitcoin creator Satoshi] Nakamoto, bitcoin might as well have created itself,” he said in one post.
“Bitcoin can kill all your friends, and all the people you respect… It can poop in your drink and rape your pets… If lightning strikes where you sit, whether you feel a warm cosy sort of love or the most burning hatred imaginable is strictly irrelevant – electricity stays,” he said in another.
One of the technology’s earliest and most ambitious entrepreneurs, Popescu is known for starting MPEx, a self-styled “Bitcoin securities exchange.” Founded in 2012, the website was once an early breeding ground for early Bitcoin IPOs, a practice that earned him the ire of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, an agency whose power he took no shortage of joy in openly undermining.
From there, Popescu would gain notoriety for being among the first to combat scams in public, emerging as a vocal critic of Ripple (the company that launched XRP) as well as Bitcoin Savings & Trust, which was later revealed to have been a pyramid scheme. –Bitcoin Magazine
Read much more about Popescu here.