Bitcoin billionaire drowns while swimming, leaving $2 billion crypto fortune in limbo

Photo: Twitter, via Daily Mail
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Mircea Popescu, dubbed ‘the father of bitcoin toxicity’, has suddenly died, leaving behind a massive crypto fortune estimated to worth over $2 billion.

The sudden death of 41-year-old Romanian billionaire has left cryptocurrency experts speculating his crypto fortune could be lost forever.

Popescu drowned on Monday off the coast of Costa Rica near Playa Hermosa after going for a morning swim, according to local news reports.

The billionaire was reportedly “swept away by the current and died on the spot.”


There has so far been no word on who has access to Popescu’s digital assets, believed to be some of the largest in the world, fueling rumors that the fortune could be gone forever.

Bitcoin is stored on software called digital wallet and is encrypted. To access the bitcoin wallet address, one needs a password which only the owner knows, unless they share it with someone else.

There are rumors that Popescu’s family does not have access to his digital assets.

Alexander Marder, a research analyst for Crypto Briefing said on Twitter that without that access, the coins could be off the market.

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“It looks like that with the deaths of Mircea Popescu and John McAfee a significant amount of $BTC might be lost forever. RIP” he tweeted. BTC refers to Bitcoin.

Software giant McAffee was found dead in his jail cell near Barcelona in an apparent suicide last week. He was also believed to have a large fortune in the cryptocurrency.

Popescu’s death has since been confirmed by three women who were reportedly known to be close to him. But some people are still in shock, with questions over whether Popescu is actually dead.

His website, which he previously actively maintained, has not been updated since June 23, the day of his reported death.

Popescu, known to be  an early adopter of Bitcoin,  was a prolific blogger, though his use of hateful language undermined many of his technical arguments defending and advocating bitcoin and its technological underpinnings, the Independent reported.

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“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 wrote in one of his posts.

“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.”

In another of his essays, he outlined the roles he believed women were suited to in society.

One of them, he wrote, would be to eulogize men, Yahoo Finance reported.

Popescu, from Romania, was a polarizing figure in the cryptocurrency space, often expressing views online that critics regarded as sexist and racist. Photo: Daily Mail

Anthony Pompliano, founder of Pomp Investments and noted Bitcoin bull, said in a since-deleted tweet that the loss of Popescu’s holdings could benefit other current holders of the crypto.

“Mircea Popescu, a Bitcoin OG, has passed away. He likely owned quite a bit of bitcoin,” Pompliano said on June 27 in the since-deleted tweet. “We may never know how much or if they are lost forever, but reminds me [of what] Satoshi said: ‘Lost coins only make everyone else’s coins worth slightly more. Think of it as a donation to everyone.’”

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Many people in the crypto world have continued to mourn the death of Popescu, one of the earliest and largest holders of Bitcoin.

“Mircea will endure as one of bitcoin’s most vilified figures and inarguably one of its greatest philosophers,” Pete Rizzo, the former CoinDesk editor-in-chief tweeted.

Popescu, a controversial figure with “documented instances of sexism and bigotry,” according to, was estimated to hold at least tens of thousands of Bitcoins, with some estimating even larger holdings.

He started MPex, a ‘Bitcoin securities exchange’ in 2012 – one of the early venues for Bitcoin IPOs. The SEC investigated the outfit in 2014, according to Coindesk. It doesn’t appear anything came of the investigation.