James Howells, the owner of a scrapped 7,500 Bitcoin hard drive (BTC), has made a new case to excavate a landfill and possibly dispose of the device.
In 2013, Howells accidentally threw away a hard drive with 7,500 BTC while cleaning his house. The Bitcoin supply comes from Howell’s mining operations when it was still possible to use CPUs to run Bitcoin /
In November 2013, Bitcoin on the hard drive was already worth $ 6.5 million and Howell has been trying to recover it ever since.
Now, according to to Newport Daily Tabloid, the South Wales Argus, Holler has issued a new appeal for the right to excavate a landfill site in the city.
Following successive rejections by Newport City Council, Howells has upped the ante and offered 25% of the value of the lost Bitcoin as a COVID-19 emergency donation to the city. At Bitcoin’s current price, the hard drive holds nearly $ 290 million, meaning the city could earn about $ 72 million if the drive is successfully restored.
According to Howells, he only needs access to the landfill records to identify the exact grid location of the hard drive for a targeted search of the facility. The IT engineer also revealed that the search team would create an airtight seal to prevent the release of toxic landfill gases while digging.
Commenting on the ability to recover useful data from the hard drive, Howells noted:
“There is no guarantee for that [it still working] because of the environment it was in, but there are things that give me confidence. The outside of the case may be corroded. But the internal drive, where the data is stored, should have a good chance that it is still working. I think there will still be a chance. But the longer this takes, the less likely this is a possibility. “
However, Newport city council officials say the environmental risks associated with the dig are significant given the likelihood that the drill will not pay off. If the data cannot be recovered, city officials say the city should pay the bill.
Meanwhile, Howells says he is willing to put money in an escrow account to cover the digging costs.
Howells is one of many Bitcoin owners who have lost access to their funds over the years. In 2012, Campbell Simpson, also a former Gizmodo editor discarded a hard drive with 1400 BTC, now worth $ 53.6 million.
From lost private keys, to accidentally send BTC to burn addresses could be as much as 20% of the current circulating supply lost forever. Indeed, data from crypto analysis provider Chainalysis and on-chain aggregator Glassnode puts the number of Bitcoin lost between 3 million and 3.7 million “coins.”
Recently, a student was lucky recover the private keys to a wallet with 127 BTC worth $ 4.8 million.