Most people toss out dated data storage devices without regrets, but one Welshman is still looking forward to retrieving his inadvertently binned Bitcoin fortune from a junk yard.
This heart-breaking story started back in 2010, when James Howells from Newport, Wales, spilled a drink on his Dell laptop and dismantled it for parts. For the next three years, he kept its hard disk drive somewhere in a drawer, but one day he decided to get rid of it, having completely forgotten about some 7,500 Bitcoins he had stored there.
Even at that time, the value of one Bitcoin reached about 1,200 dollars, which means the whole amount was worth some $9 million. But over the years, its value had grown insanely, and now Howells’s “treasure,” buried several feet under piles of rubbish in the dump, is worth about $ 75 million.
In November 2013, realizing his mistake, Howell went to the landfill the size of a football field, where the disk has been lying ever since, but it turned out that he needs special permission from the local authorities to retrieve it, the man told TJournal, a Russian-based internet news outlet.
According to James, he can still see all the money at the bitcoin wallet address. However, the disk is encrypted, but he doesn’t have his private key to be able to access and spend the Bitcoins.
Authorities claim that the search procedure for Howells’s HHD will cost “millions of pounds.” In addition, they fear that he won’t be able to find the disk or to extract any data from it. But James hasn’t given up.
“I still hope to get the permission,” he said. But according to Howells, it’s not as simple as just digging a hole in the ground — to start the search, several garbage barriers, accumulated in the dump in four years, must be cleaned up. In addition, it should be done carefully, using special equipment and cleaning devices.
Howells added that he has been dealing with cryptocurrencies since 2009. Now, he almost doesn’t work, but deals with bitcoins and invests in other digital assets.