Under mountains of rubbish, tons of waste from the city of Newport, Wales, UK, could be a hard drive with 7,500 BTC waiting to be rescued.
Your owner, James howells, a 35-year-old computer scientist, offered about 55 million pounds (USD 76.3 million) to city authorities in January 2021, to let him search a 200-square-meter area at the local garbage dump.
Now, Howells told The Sun newspaper that he is planning a 12-month search on the ground, using X-ray devices and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
What’s more, has formed a team of engineers, environmentalists and experts in data recovery around the world that, according to Howells, will be financed by a “super rich” investment fund, which could pay for the search in exchange for a slice of the bitcoins in question, if they were found.
This will be a tricky search, because we don’t want to damage the hard drive in the process, so you can’t just use a mechanical claw. We have spoken with excavation experts and engineers to make sure everything has been done the right way, as well as that it is safe for the environment. For the last 4 or 5 months we have been talking to data recovery experts around the world to make sure we can extract the bitcoins from the hard drive.
James Howell, Computer Scientist.
In this sense, he indicated that the device to scan the land costs more than USD 690,000, while a debris extractor, to avoid environmental damage, USD 140,000. The 7,500 BTC, which Howells lost in 2013, is worth today USD 253.6 million, according to the cryptocurrency price calculator from CriptoNoticias.
Even though Howell now has the resources to rescue this large amount of bitcoin, the computer scientist regrets that the authorities do not accept the proposal.
Since I made the offer to the local council in January, the price of bitcoin has gone up and down. If we got the hard drive back today, it would be worth £ 275 million, “he told The Sun.
Authorities fear environmental consequences and economic losses
Last January, when news about Howell’s search reached outlets such as CNN and the BBC, an unidentified spokesman for the city’s mayor said there was nothing he could do about the lost bitcoins.
The Newport City Council has been contacted numerous times since 2014, about the possibility of recalling a hardware unit containing bitcoins. The first time, it was a few months after Mr. Howells noticed the loss of hardware. The cost of excavating the land, storing and treating the waste, could run into the millions of pounds, with no guarantees that we will get it or that it is still working.
Newport City Council.
They also noted that even with the will to recover the bitcoins, they doubt who will cover the costs of the operation if the hard drive is not available or if it is damaged. “Therefore, we cannot assist you in this matter,” they said.
Howell has been in his search for more than half the years of the history of Bitcoin, since this technology was deployed in 2009. Thus, these bitcoins become part of the thousands that are lost or are irrecoverable.
Although Howell has the will and the resources to undertake the search, it is apparently highly unlikely that so many years later such a 7,500 BTC hard drive will be found again. We wish you luck!