A resident of the British city of Newport, James Howells, asks for permission to excavate at a landfill to find a hard drive with a wallet with 7,500 BTC, lost more than seven years ago.
English IT specialist James Howells was mining on PC back in 2010, and then forgot about his past passion for cryptocurrency for a long time. In the summer of 2013, Howells accidentally threw away a hard drive while cleaning the house, and a few months later he found out that this “trash” was worth several million dollars. The searches were unsuccessful. These bitcoins are now worth almost $ 300 million.
In recent years, Howells has repeatedly called on the Newport administration to allow him to conduct large-scale excavations for a fee, but each time he was refused. Recently, the unfortunate miner approached the local authorities again, offering them $ 72 million (approximately 25% of the value of the “hoard”) as a donation to the fight against COVID-19, if he can restore the wallet. Howells said he only needs access to the landfill records to determine the exact location of the hard drive. The search team will create an airtight seal to prevent the release of poisonous gas from the decomposition of waste during excavations.
“Given the environment the hard drive has been in all this time, there is no guarantee that it will work. The outer casing is most likely rusted. But there is a possibility that the medium itself, on which the data is stored, could have survived. I still have hope. But the longer the disk is in the landfill, the less chances, ”said the owner of the lost bitcoins.
However, the city authorities are not ready to meet Howells halfway. City government officials believe that the excavation will not bring any results, and there may be serious environmental risks. In addition, if the data for bitcoins cannot be restored, then the costs associated with the excavation will be covered from the city budget. Howells is willing to deposit his own money into an escrow account with the City of Newport to help cover the costs.
The story of James Howels is one of the most famous precedents for the irrecoverable loss of a large amount of BTC, but there are others. For example, cryptocurrency critic Peter Schiff was unable to recover his crypto assets because he did not save the wallet password and did not write down the seed phrase. And developer Stefan Thomas has only two attempts left to get the private key from the address with 7002 BTC. Of course, there are also lucky ones. Recently, a Reddit user was able to regain access to 127 BTC that had been stored in his wallet since 2011.