James Delingpole James Delingpole

How the Rat sniffed out £15,000 down the back of my virtual sofa

Not being cursed with any of my genetic make-up, he possesses certain special qualities that I lack

It must be about 25 years since the Rat first made an appearance in The Spectator. He started out as my girlfriend’s six-year-old boy, then became my stepson and featured here quite often over the years because, being a scaly-tailed creature of evil, he was always good for some copy. This new year, with his agreement, I upgraded him to full son status. Let me explain why in a way that I hope you’ll find charming, rather than one that makes you want to throw up.

The first reason is purely mercenary. During Christmas, while over with his wife Chloe from Hong Kong, the Rat managed to find about £10,000 down the back of my virtual sofa, in the form of seven Bitcoin Cash that I thought I’d lost forever. Then he found another half a Bitcoin (BTC) which I also thought I’d lost, bringing the total free money found to well over £15,000.

How can I possibly have lost such large sums of money? Very easily, as any technologically illiterate cryptocurrency owner (we do exist) could tell you. The digital wallets where you keep your BTC and so on are not the most secure or stable places, especially if, as in my case, you got yours several years ago when Bitcoin weren’t so valuable, then more or less forgot about them and failed to upgrade.

Multibit, the wallet I stored my BTC in, was so old it was no longer supported. The people who’d invented it had given up and moved on. This wasn’t good news if you held BTC in it in September last year, because that was one of the moments when the crypto-currency ‘forked’. That is, the currency had a kind of scrip dividend and for every BTC you owned you were also allocated some of a new breakaway currency called Bitcoin Cash.

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