There are times when you need to determine whether someone has, in their possession, some form of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Some of these reasons can be a loss of memory from someone; a decreased in who had passed away, acting on suspicion of a family member, or maybe just spying on someone.
This article will list all the possible signs and clues you can find and look out for to determine if someone has Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Here are the nine (9) ways you can find out;
- How to Find Out If One Has Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency in their possession?
- 1. Presence of Paper Wallet
- 2. Presence of Software Wallet
- 3. Presence of Hardware Wallet
- 4. Presence of Web Browsers' URLs
- 5. Presence of Wallet Address
- 6. Presence of Wallet Files
- 7. Presence of Credit Card Usage
- 8. Analysing Bank Transactions & Investment Portfolios
- 9. Presence of Crypto Groups, e.g. Telegram
How to Find Out If One Has Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency in their possession?
Here are the nine (9) ways to know if one is hiding or possessing any cryptocurrency.
1. Presence of Paper Wallet
A paper wallet is considered the most secure form of cryptocurrency storage. It is offline and is regarded as a cold storage wallet. It is printed on paper, and as long as you keep it in a safe and secure location, you can be assured of your crypto fund’s security.
So how do you spot & identify one?
All paper wallets have the same identifiers.
- The public wallet address (aka public key) is printed on one side, and the private wallet address (aka private key) is printed on the other side.
- Both sides have QR codes for easier scanning to avoid mistakes in keying the addresses as they are too long.
You can generate one paper wallet for free and test it out to get familiar with it here;
2. Presence of Software Wallet
You are looking for installed applications on the computer (programs) and mobile phone (apps) that are related to cryptocurrency in general.
This is a wide range of possible categories. Refer to the table below for the most common apps for each type.
|Software wallet||Exodus, Coinbase, Coinami, Trust wallet, Crypto.com wallet|
|Coin swapping service||Shapeshift, Changelly, Coinswitch, Flyp.me|
|Mining applications||CGMiner, BFGMiner, MingerGate, Cudo Miner|
|Price monitoring apps||CoinGecko, Coinranking, Crypto Market Cap|
|Crypto Portfolio tracking apps||Crypto Tracker, Delta Portfolio Tracker, Hodler Portfolio|
|Crypto news||CoinTelegraph, Decrypt, CryptoCrunch|
If you spot an app and are unsure what it is, always Google it and search it in the Playstore or AppStore to find out more information.
3. Presence of Hardware Wallet
Hardware crypto wallets are USB-looking devices, mostly with an LCD screen on their surface, so the user can set up the wallet and make transactions securely.
If you see one lying around, you might be in for a big deal. These cryptocurrency hardware wallets cost between USD 100 to USD 250, which are reasons to own them. The value of the cryptocurrencies stored inside is commonly higher in value than the price of the hardware wallet itself. So if you spot one, you can be sure of a certain high stored value inside.
To access them, you need the PIN code to access the device menu interface and, of course, the wallet private key if you need to perform transactions like withdrawal etc.
Here are the list of popular hardware crypto wallets that most people will get;
4. Presence of Web Browsers’ URLs
No matter how one tries to hide it, there must be some form of website visits to cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet services online. So with that, we need to find clues within the web browsers.
Nowadays, people use a range of different web browsers. Search all of them while focusing on bookmarks and recently visited (history) websites.
The web browsers can be Google Chrome, Brave, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Edge, etc. For websites visited, you can keep an eye on the common ones like Binance, Huobi, Coinbase, and others.
5. Presence of Wallet Address
You are looking for signs of written/printed/digitally recorded wallet addresses and mnemonic recovery seed words.
Bitcoin wallet addresses are between 26 to 35 alphanumeric characters long and begin with 1, 3 or bc2. In a specific numbering order, a mnemonic recovery seed phrase/word is between 12 to 25 words. Exactly how long it depends on the wallet that you are using.
The mnemonic recovery seed phrase is the backup key if the wallet’s private key is lost. It can be used to restore the wallet.
You can find these anywhere, depending on how the person’s preference in keeping his notes.
6. Presence of Wallet Files
When someone has a software crypto wallet installed or has previously run a blockchain node syncing from his computer, it will have specific wallet files installed alongside the application. These specific wallet files are;
|Wallet files residue (installing software wallet)||wallet.dat, peers.dat, debug.log, db.log, .lock files|
|Blockchain files residue (syncing blockchain node)||blk00000.dat, blk00001.dat, blk00002.dat and so on|
|Keyword search on the computer||“blocks”, “chainstate”, “blocks”|
Don’t forget to check their installed applications for the presence of cryptocurrency-related programs.
7. Presence of Credit Card Usage
Look at credit/debit card statements for signs of crypto purchase. This is either a paper statement or an e-statement via email or mobile app notifications.
8. Analysing Bank Transactions & Investment Portfolios
Look at the bank statement records for signs of deposits and cashing out; these are;
- Any bank deposits into crypto exchanges
- Any money received from crypto exchanges from withdrawal (cashing out)
- Inter-linking of bank accounts to crypto exchanges
Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) and Bitcoin Futures are gaining popularity over the years. These investment portfolios allow one to invest in cryptocurrency but yet not have to go through the problem of owning and maintaining the coin and its wallet. Banks offer these investment instruments, and you can spot them in the statements.
9. Presence of Crypto Groups, e.g. Telegram
If the person is using the Telegram chat app, look inside for the crypto-related Telegram groups. Crypto groups are usually large in numbers, typically over 50,000+ members. The favourite hangout place is Telegram since the app can accommodate a large number of members inside each group.
These are the few popular Telegram group chats relating to cryptocurrency news.