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Man Wants to Dig up Hard Drive with Bitcoin Worth $280 Million He Threw Away 8 Years Ago

Image for representation only

Image for representation only

James Howells from Newport Wales is urging local city authorities to grant him a permit to look for the device in a landfill site.

A man from the UK lost bitcoins worth 280 million dollars as he accidentally dumped it in the trash. The man is trying to find the hard drive with bitcoins he had thrown away by mistake. James Howells from Newport Wales is urging local city authorities to grant him a permit to look for the device in a landfill site.

In 2009, the IT engineer started mining the cryptocurrency and in 2013 he mistakenly discarded the hard drive while cleaning his home. When Howells trashed the drive it was worthless but has now become worth a fortune.

According to CNBC, the 35-year-old claimed that there were two similar-looking hard drives that he had. The one which had the cryptographic “private key” required to access and spend the bitcoins was scraped. Howells further added that he is optimistic to be able to use the bitcoins if he finds the device even after all these years. He thinks that the drive may be damaged externally but the platter inside would be still intact. He is confident that the drive can be rebuilt by the data recovery experts directly from the platter.

Howells said that he can regain access to the 7500 bitcoins he had if he will be able to procure the hard drive he let go eight years ago. To recover the device, he needs permission from the local council officials to hunt for the lost hardware in the garbage dump. If he is not given official permission, then searching would be considered trespassing which is a criminal offence.

A Newport City Council spokesperson said that they have been contacted about the missing device in the last eight years. The first time they were approached was many months after Hoewells realised that he lost the drive. The Council so far has not agreed to allow Howells to search in the landfill, citing funding and environmental concerns.

Howells told CNBC that his requests and pleas to the Council have been rejected. He said that without being given a chance to present their scheme and plan of action, he keeps getting a blunt NO from the officials.

He has proposed to donate 25% of the trail to a “Covid Relief Fund” for his hometown. If he manages to retrieve the drive after mining it, the donation he is willing to offer is worth around $70.8 million pounds. Howells also assured that he will sponsor the excavation project with the sanction of an unnamed hedge fund.

first published:January 19, 2021, 11:53 IST
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