Planet Finance Goes Above & Beyond To Help An AQUA Holder Recover $400k In Lost Funds

On Sunday the 12th of September a long-time member of the main AQUA telegram group @big_harry reached out to the Planet Finance community through Arthur Curry. @big_harry informed us that his computer was completely wiped with no backup, meaning he had no access to his crypto funds. To make it even worse, he had lost his 12 word seed phrase for his metamask wallet and that he had only written down 62 of the 64 characters of his private keys. This meant he had no way to access his funds on Planet Finance which was now valued at over $400,000.

Wallet recovery services is not something we have experience in but if the information that @big_harry had given us was 100% accurate (meaning the 62 characters he did write down were correct), then it is a simple mathematical problem to find the solution. We take our community very seriously and Planet Finance wouldn’t be where it is today without you all, so we will always do what we can to go above and beyond for community.

So we took on the challenge…

@big_harry had no idea where the 2 missing characters were in the 64 character private key. So essentially the problem become trying to test over 1million different combinations (1,048,576 = (16*64)²) of the 2 missing characters in the 64 character string. Obviously doing this manually would have taken forever but using a custom built Python For Loop this was done in under an hour.

When the private key was found, we imported the wallet and noticed that he had the $400,000 worth of assets on Planet Finance. This meant that he had indeed written down the 62 characters correctly and that we had found the missing 2 characters and put them in the correct position.

We then reached out to @big_harry and asked him to make a new wallet (ensuring that he securely saved his seed phrase and private key this time) and we then sent the assets to his new wallet.

Once the funds had been returned we asked @big_harry to tell his side of the story so that we could share it with the community. As opposed to telling you how happy he was, here is the un-edited story written from @big_harry:

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So, here’s the backstory about how I lost $400,000USD in what I’m calling a series of very unfortunate events.

It was just your average day, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, my $AQUA was auto compounding as it had been for months now. I was one happy yield farmer. Understanding the potential this project held I invested $50,000 into Planet Finance upon launch in May this year. Watching my account accrue the rewards and grow since then has been pretty satisfying to watch. $AQUA is hands down the best investment I’ve ever made and given how it’s already performed, has the potential to be the best investment of my life.

Not long after investing in Planet Finance my partner purchased a new laptop. Given I was basically sitting on Blue Planet all day, claiming and reinvesting the $AQUA rewards (prior to the auto compound feature) we decided to dedicate the new laptop to yield farming and she would swap it over later. I was paranoid about hackers somehow getting their hands on the funds, so a fresh, untouched laptop seemed like a good idea. All was well.

All the important information (passwords, private keys) was stored in my newly purchased fire proof safe. So you’ll understand my surprise and then shock when I opened the safe to get the sheet of paper out with my private key on it, to add another one. I was managing 5 other accounts on the one metamask because what kind of person invests in such an epic project and doesn’t tell their family? With the sheet missing the accounts were compromised and I had to move all the funds. No problem.

By the time I had finished moving the 6 accounts it was 1.30am on Thursday when I wrote down my new private key. It turns out that I unknowingly only recorded 62 out of the 64 characters. I put the sheet of paper in the safe, without having my partner check over it (as we usually do) and it had completely slipped my mind to record the seed phrase again.

Life went on, $AQUA kept printing money for me.

Come Sunday afternoon, my partner decided it was time to transfer laptops — so she started the Migration of data and wiped the entire laptop in the process. At 9pm that night, I went into the safe to enter in the private key and check on the account. The private key didn’t work, my partner came and tried to enter it in as well, no luck — she then counted the characters and that’s when our World stopped spinning.

Pacing the hallway while fighting the urge to throw up we were both speechless. What can even be said in that situation? There was no yelling, no arguing, no crying, just pure devastation. To me, it was millions of dollars we had lost because I don’t intend on selling anytime soon and while the account was at $400,000 now it still feels like it’s just the beginning.

It’s a bit hard to explain the feeling that comes with losing $400,000 purely from human error and knowing it’s still there but inaccessible. It’s just money at the end of the day, you can always make more, you can’t buy happiness, you can’t buy good health and you can’t buy a good relationship — but it takes away all your future plans that you dream about when watching your account go up and up. It is life changing money.

After spending the night googling, I had a call with a computer whizz to try recover the old MetaMask (impossible), I called a few other local computer places to see if there was any chance of recovering what was wiped (also impossible). Distraught, it was here that I reached out to Arthur Curry and explained what had happened. In the meantime $AQUA had been going up and up, it was bittersweet to watch and painful to check the price.

Within 24 hours of talking to Arthur, I woke from a restless sleep to hope. For the first time since it happened, I was able to eat, the cold sweats and racing mind had slowed (only slightly) and the sinking feeling in my stomach was not quite so bad. Arthur told me there was a 50/50 chance the developers could help recover the funds. 50/50 because if I wrote any of the other 62 characters down wrong it was gone for good. Cue more cold sweats.

But here comes the issue with someone getting a hold of your private key — they can take everything. So finding someone you trust enough to handle it is paramount otherwise the money is as good as gone too.

Did I trust Arthur enough to hand over my private key? Well, his project hadn’t let me down so far and it was kind of my only shot. The fact that you can even talk to the founder of the project is one thing and for him to offer to help out while building the platform is another.

Once I handed over the private key I was told that within 24hours I should have an answer. To say the next 24hours were stressful is an understatement. I kept refreshing BSC Scan to see if there was any movement in the account.

After another restless sleep, I got in touch with Arthur and with a knotted stomach awaited the news. I was sent a screenshot of my account with the recovered money and the World started spinning again.

It still took the whole day and night for the feeling of wanting to throw up to pass and for my stomach to unknot itself. My partner still feels sick opening the laptop that she wiped and I still get sweaty checking my balance. It’s not every week you lose $400,000 and get it back but the sun is shining and birds are chirping yet again.

An Important Security Matter:

When it comes to holding crypto, there’s 4 things you need to do –

  1. Write down your seed phrase
  2. Write down your private key
  3. Store items 1&2 in a very secure place
  4. Never share your private keys or seed phrase with anyone!

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