A resident of Newport is looking for help to find a hard drive with 7,500 bitcoins, which the Englishman threw in a landfill back in 2013.
January 18, 2021 | AtoZ Markets – A resident of the English city of Newport (Wales, UK), James Howells, who worked for a long time in one of the IT companies, claims that he threw an old hard drive where 7,500 bitcoins were stored in a landfill.
As Howells explains on the BBC, he mined bitcoins for four years, when cryptocurrencies were still in their infancy and cost very little. Howells threw away the hard drive between June and August 2013, believing he had already backed up the files he needed.
7,500 Bitcoins in a junkyard: an Englishman hopes for a miracle
Then James Howells considered bitcoins to be useless coins, since the price of an asset in 2013 was worth about $74, and by the end of the year, the cost of the cryptocurrency had risen to $ 700 apiece. According to Howells himself, he threw out the hard drive between July and August 2013.
The failed crypto millionaire hopes for a miracle and asks the Newport authorities to help find the lost hard drive. To do this, he proposes to dig a certain part of the landfill and find the device.
“You need to dig a specific area of the landfill based on the grid coordinate system and rebuild the hard drive, respecting all safety and environmental standards. The disk will then be provided to data recovery specialists who can rebuild the disk from scratch with new parts and try to recover the tiny piece of data that I need to access the bitcoins,” explained James Howells.
In return, the Englishman who has lost his bitcoins promises to distribute $ 70 million to the residents of the city and leave himself only 25% of the amount on the hard disk.
Howells offered to donate 25%, or £52.5 million ($71.7 million), to the city of Newport to distribute money to all local residents. That's roughly £175 ($239) per person for the entire city (316,000 residents). Unfortunately, the Newport authorities declined the proposal and did not want to further discuss this issue.
“The Council has repeatedly told Mr Howells that excavation is not possible under our license permit and that the excavation itself would have a huge impact on the environment in the surrounding area. It will cost millions of pounds to excavate the landfill, store and handle the waste - with no guarantees that they will find the disc or it will still be in working order,” explained a spokeswoman for the Newport City Council.
It looks like Howells has no chance to get back the lost bitcoins. Note that at the time of this writing, the cost of BTC is $36,180 and the total cost of bitcoins that were lost along with the hard drive exceeds $264 million.
Hodlers carelessly lose thousands of bitcoins
It is worth noting that Englishman James Howells is not alone in his misery. More recently, the former Ripple Labs employee Stefan Thomas had lost the keys to a Bitcoin wallet that holds 7,000 coins worth over $220 million. The password-protected, encrypted IronKey Flash is automatically locked after ten failed access attempts. Thomas has already used eight, he has only two attempts left, and if he does not remember the password, all data on the flash drive will be encrypted forever.
And in February 2020, a similar story with Howells happened to the Irish drug dealer Clifton Collins, who hid the private key code for a bitcoin wallet in an aluminum case for fishing rods. The owner of the house, which the criminal rented, took all his belongings to a landfill immediately after Collins' arrest. In the trash heap was access to a wallet that stores over $50 million euros in bitcoins.
In 2017, the founder of the sports blogging platform Barstool Sports, Dave Portnoy, lost $50,000 of bitcoins after losing the key to the hardware wallet that held the coins.
Recently, the NewYork Times calculated that about 20% of all currently existing bitcoins are stored on wallets, access to which is lost forever, exceeds $140 billion.
Wallet Recovery Services, a firm that helps recover lost digital keys, said it receives 70 requests a day from users trying to access their digital wallets - three times the number it was a month ago.
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