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Man Whose Bitcoin Fortune Is 'Lost In Landfill' Says It's Now Worth £275M

Man Whose Bitcoin Fortune Is 'Lost In Landfill' Says It's Now Worth £275M

James Howells threw away the hard-drive in 2013, and now wants to conduct a high-tech search for his lost cryptocurrency

Tom Wood

Tom Wood

An IT worker who lost a hard-drive full of Bitcoin claims that it is now worth £275 million, and that he wants to conduct a huge-scale search for the lost cryptocurrency at a landfill site in Wales.

35-year-old James Howells has offered Newport Council £55 million to let him search the 200-metre area of the tip with high-tech equipment, but they aren't interested.

Howells says that he accidentally chucked the hard-drive whilst clearing out an office back in 2013, and it's proven an expensive mistake now that Bitcoin has skyrocketed in recent times.

He claims that his search plan has been backed up by a wealthy hedge fund, who will pay for the costs, as well as the specialists and technology involved in the search, provided they take the majority of the money if it is recovered.

Even though he's offered a huge amount to the council, Howells claims they won't listen.

The rubbish tip in question.
Wales News Service

He told The Sun: "Since I made the offer in January the value of bitcoin has gone up and down - if we were to recover the hard drive today it would be worth £275 million.

"This would be a proper search - not just somebody going in with a bucket and spade.

"We have a system with multiple conveyer-belts, X-ray scanning devices and an AI scanning device that would be trained to recognise items that are a similar size and density to the hard drive."

"This would be a delicate search because we wouldn't want to damage the hard drive in the process - you can't just use a claw grabber.

"We've spoken to excavation experts and proper engineers to make sure it was all being done correctly as well as in a way that was safe for the environment.

"For the past four or five months I've also been talking to some of the best data recovery experts in the world to make sure we can get it off the hard drive."

In order to conduct the search, Howells says they'll need a scanning device worth £500,000, and a pollution extractor that could cost £100,000.

Still, it would seem the council has no interest.

Howells explained: "If they would listen to me and hear me out they would know there's no risk to the council,

"All I want is to put my case to the decision makers and if they still say no then so be it but they won't even do that.

"In January I offered them £55 million but at the moment they are saying 'no' no matter how much money is involved."

Howells says Newport City Council won't listen to him.
Wales News Service

A spokesperson for Newport City Council said: "Newport City Council has been contacted a number of times since 2014 about the possibility of retrieving a piece of IT hardware said to contain Bitcoins.

"The first time was several months after Mr Howells first realised the hardware was missing.

"The cost of digging up the landfill, storing and treating the waste could run into millions of pounds - without any guarantee of either finding it or it still being in working order.

"The council has also told Mr Howells on a number of occasions that excavation is not possible under our licencing permit and excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area.

"Even if we were able to agree to his request, there is the question of who would meet the cost if the hard drive was not found or was damaged to such an extent that the data could not be recovered.

"We have, therefore, been clear that we cannot assist him in this matter."

Featured Image Credit: Wales News Service

Topics: Bitcoin, UK News, Money, Interesting, Cryptocurrency, Weird, Wales