Mon Jan 18 2021
A heartbroken computer engineer is offering a local council a £50m cut to help him locate the 7,500 Bitcoins he accidently threw out
A computer engineer who accidentally dumped a hard drive with 7,500 Bitcoins on it into the trash has offered Newport Local Council a 25% share of the haul if they help him find it in their landfill site.
The IT engineer, James Howells, claims he chucked the hard drive with the Bitcoins on by mistake way back in 2013 during a clear out.
I had two identical hard drives and I threw out the wrong one. I have to laugh about it now.
After looking for it everywhere, Howells realised the only place it could be was buried in a landfill site in Newport, South Wales.
When he threw the drive out the Bitcoins would have been worth around £50,000… However, thanks to inflation and the surge of interest in cryptocurrency in recent years that value has now risen to around £28,000 per Bitcoin… or £210 million in total.
Howell was one of the UK’s first Bitcoin miners, starting back in 2009 when you were still able to mine using just a laptop, finding his first 7,500 crypto coins for almost nothing before accidently throwing the hard drive away in 2013.
Since then, he’s made repeated pleases to Newport City Council for help in recovering his treasure trove of a laptop, even going so far as to offer them a £50m cut should it be found.
He’s positive that the inner disk containing the Bitcoins will have been able to survive this long, intact enough for him to retrieve the valuable data within.
He also believes, with a bit of data science, the loot wouldn’t be that hard to find. As he knows when he threw it away and from where, that data could be cross referenced with council records of the landfill and refuse collections to create a grid reference search pattern for where to begin digging.
But… Despite the £50 million reward on offer, the council has repeatedly turned down his request claiming excavation of a landfill site could pose a serious environmental risk to the surrounding areas.
Newport City Council has been contacted a number of times since 2014 about the possibility of retrieving a piece of IT hardware said to contain Bitcoins. The Council has also told Mr Howells on a number of occasions that excavation is not possible under our licensing permit and excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area. We have, therefore, been clear that we cannot assist him in this matter.
Mon Jan 18 2021