A man accidentally threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins. He now offers his city 25% of the value of the bitcoins stored on the hard drive for permission to search the city’s landfill. His bitcoins are now worth nearly $ 300 million at the current price.
Looking for a hard drive with 7,500 bitcoins
James Howells, an IT engineer, accidentally threw away the hard drive of an old computer with 7,500 bitcoins. The coins, worth nearly $ 300 million at the current price, are now in a landfill in Newport, South Wales.
The 35-year-old explained that he threw away the hard drive containing his bitcoin private keys in the summer of 2013 when he was tidying his desk. After recognizing his mistake, he asked the council for permission to search the town’s landfill, but his requests have so far been denied. He admitted:
I had two identical hard drives and I threw out the wrong one.
The Newport resident is now offering his city council 25% of the bitcoin stored on the hard drive, worth about $ 72 million at the current price, in the form of a Covid Relief Fund for the residents of the city. “I get support from a hedge fund that is willing to set up the funds for the project. We like to put money in an escrow account, ”he noted.
“If I could access the data from the dumps, I could identify the week I threw the hard drive away,” he shared his plans. “I could identify the serial number of the bin it was in, and then I could determine where the reference system is located. We only want to search in one specific area. We want to use an inflatable structure to create an airtight seal around that area to prevent landfill gases from escaping. “
Despite years in the landfill, Howells said he is confident his bitcoins are recoverable, stating:
There is no guarantee that it will still work because of the environment it was in, but there are things that give me confidence.
“The outside of the case may be corroded. But on the internal drive, where the data is stored, there should be a good chance that it will still work, ”he explained. “I think there will still be an opportunity. But the longer this takes, the less likely this is a possibility. “
A Newport City Council spokeswoman confirmed that the city has “been contacted a number of times since 2014 regarding the possibility of retrieving a piece of IT hardware that is said to contain bitcoins.”
According to the spokeswoman for the city council:
The cost of digging up the landfill, storing and handling the waste can be as much as millions of pounds – with no guarantee that it will be found or that it is still in good working order.
“The council has also told Mr. Howells on a number of occasions that excavation is not possible under our permit permit and that excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area,” said the spokesman. “Even if we could agree to his request, it remains to be seen who would pay the costs if the hard drive was not found or damaged to such an extent that the data could not be recovered. It is therefore clear that we cannot help him in this matter. “
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