A man accidentally threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins. Now he is offering his city 25% of the value of the bitcoins stored on the hard drive in order to get permission to search the city’s landfill. His bitcoins are now worth nearly $ 300 million at current prices.
Looking for a hard drive with 7,500 bitcoins
James Howells, an IT engineer, mistakenly threw away the hard drive of an old computer containing 7,500 bitcoins. The coins, valued at nearly $ 300 million at current price, are now in a landfill in Newport, South Wales.
The 35-year-old stated that he threw away the hard drive with his private Bitcoin keys in the summer of 2013 when he was clearing his desk. After realizing his mistake, he asked the council for permission to search the city’s landfill, but his requests have so far been denied. He admitted:
I had two identical hard drives and threw out the wrong one.
The Newport resident is now offering his city council 25% of the Bitcoin stored on the hard drive, valued at around $ 72 million at the current price, in the form of a Covid Relief Fund for the city’s residents. “I have support from a hedge fund that is ready to raise funds for the project. We are happy to put money in an escrow account, ”he remarked.
“If I could access the landfill records, I could identify the week I threw the hard drive away,” he said of his plans. “I was able to identify the serial number of the slot it was in and then I could determine where the grid reference is. We only want to search in a specific area. We want to use an inflatable structure to create an airtight seal around this area to prevent landfill gases from escaping. “
Despite years in the landfill, Howells said he was confident that his bitcoins could be restored, stating:
There is no guarantee that it will still work based on the environment it is in, but there are things that give me confidence.
“The outer case may be rusted. However, the inner hard drive where the data is stored should have a good chance that it will still work, ”he said. “I think there will be another chance. But the longer this takes, the less likely it is. “
A spokeswoman for Newport City Council confirmed that the City Council “has been contacted several times since 2014 about the possibility of retrieving IT hardware that is said to contain bitcoins”.
According to the city council spokeswoman:
The cost of digging the landfill, storing and treating the waste could run into millions of pounds with no guarantees that it will be found or still work.
“The council has also informed Mr. Howells several times that excavations are not possible within the scope of our permit and that excavations themselves would have an enormous impact on the environment in the area,” the spokesman described. “Even if we could agree to his request, who would pay the bills if the hard drive was not found or damaged so badly that the data could not be recovered. We have therefore made it clear that we cannot help him on this matter. “
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