Between 10 and 20 million accounts on Facebook are owned by people who are dead, but no one can access their account and update it. And if you die with a PayPal account, or perhaps Bitcoin in a digital wallet, it’s possible no one will be able to collect your cash. In fact, up to 55 percent of digital assets are impossible to restore after death, according to a McAfee study.
To solve those kinds of problems, PasswordBox announced this morning that it has purchased Legacy Locker, the digital “safety deposit box” that helps you pass along ownership of your digital assets to loved ones and business partners after you die.
It’s an uncomfortable subject, but the fact is that more than four million Facebook users die every year.
“I’ve done lots of stuff on the Internet that has value, but if I died, my family and friends wouldn’t be able to access it,” Legacy Locker cofounder Jeremy Toeman told me. “Domains I owned would not be passed to my business partner … a sword that a dedicated World of Warcraft player has built up and might be worth $1,000 would be lost … or access to a Bitcoin account might be impossible.”
PasswordBox, which is currently a free service, already offered a “digital heir” solution beside its core function of remembering your passwords for you, but Legacy Locker brings more users and features. PasswordBox, which went live in June of this year with 450,000 beta users, recently took a $6 million funding round led by OMERS Ventures — and a number of Facebook executives — so it had plenty of cash on hand to make the deal happen.
The two services won’t exactly be integrated, however.
“Our original intent was to fully integrate the two services,” Toeman says. “But with privacy and security concerns, we decided to try not to migrate data — it’s encrypted — and instead, users will get lifetime free accounts at PasswordBox.”
PasswordBox encrypts the data it stores as well, allowing you to share, store, access, and use passwords securely on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, as well as offering a secure digital locker for key data, such as finances. Users can set up rules regarding what will happen with their secure data when they die.
“Digital death is a growing pain point that most of us don’t want to think about, yet we are storing more and more of our lives online each day,” PasswordBox CEO Dan Robichaud said in a statement. “This acquisition of Legacy Locker … cements our position as the most comprehensive digital management solution on the market.”
Terms of the deal were not released.
Legacy Locker was a part-time affair for Toeman, and while he’ll be serving as an advisor to PasswordBox, he’ll continue to focus on his day job: CEO of Dijit.