The rising price of a highly volatile digital currency ‘Bitcoin’ since the start of 2017 has been the cause of cheer among investors who bought bitcoin a year ago or before. But here is the story of an unfortunate investor who accidentally lost his hard drive containing thousands of Bitcoins which could now be worth around £75 million.
James Howells, an IT worker from Newport, had been mining cryptocurrency on his laptop since 2009. He mined 7,500 bitcoins by solving the complex mathematical problems, which he saved in a wallet file on his computer hard drive.
“After I had stopped mining, the laptop I had used was broken into parts and sold on eBay. However, I kept the hard drive in a drawer at home knowing it contained my Bitcoin private keys, so that if Bitcoin did become valuable one day I would still have the coins I had mined,” he told the Telegraph.
In 2013, he threw his hard drive, forgetting that it contained the cryptocurrency which was worth ‘a few hundred thousand pounds’ at the time.
“In mid-2013 during a clear-out, the hard drive – then worth a few hundred thousand pounds – was mistakenly thrown out and put into a general waste bin at my local landfill site, after which it was buried on site,” he told Telegraph in an interview recently.
After three months he threw his hard drive, he came to know that the cryptocurrency value has taken a surge. Then he realized the coins he had ‘mined’ were on the drive he had thrown away. The bitcoin value broke through $1,200, making the missing hard drive worth around $9 million. Soon, after discovering his mistake, he began a frantic search through his computer files and other drives for a backup. But, there isn’t one. So he went to the landfill site in south Wales.
Since he got rid of the device, the value of the currency has surged by more than 1,000%. A recent boom in the value of the virtual currency has seen its value rocket to over £8,000 per unit.
Howells now wants to dig the landfill site to recover the thrown away hard drive. He is now seeking permission from Newport city council to look for his missing treasure in the landfill site where he believes it is buried.
Despite the council saying that it is almost impossible to find his hard drive buried below thousands of tonnes of garbage on a landfill site, James believes he can pinpoint the drive’s location by estimating its depth based on the date it was thrown away. Howells is offering the council a 10% cut of the total value of the bitcoins in exchange for permission and says he has enough investor cash to take on the project at no cost to them.
Poor James Howells could have been incredibly rich if he hadn’t made an accidental mistake.