Briton James Howells offered more than $ 70 million to the City Council of Newport (Wales) for permission to excavate a landfill where he accidentally discarded a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins (BTC). According to this Monday (18), the amount lost would be equivalent to R $ 1.4 billion.
Between June and August 2013, Howells mistakenly threw the HDD in which he stored his digital coins in the trash. The IT expert had mined bitcoin four years earlier, shortly after his birth in 2009. At the time, cryptocurrency was not worth much, but recent historical highs have led Welsh to realize his loss and then try the impossible to recover his fortune.
Newport denies digging request to find bitcoins
The Welshman is convinced that his bitcoins ended up in a specific section of a landfill in Newport. So he went to the City Council to request permission to excavate the demarcated area in search of his lost hard drive more than 7 years ago. As an incentive, Howells offered to pay a quarter of the amount, if successful, to all local residents.
“I offered to donate 25%, or £ 52.5 million ($ 71.7 million), to be distributed to everyone in Newport if I find and recover the bitcoins,” Howells told CNN. The city in question has 316 thousand inhabitants, resulting in a prize of US $ 239 for each resident.
However, there are countless uncertainties in the Howells plan. After 7 years, the probability of finding the hard disk that holds your bitcoins is already very low. Even in a scenario where the Welshman is successful in recovering the HDD, it is still unlikely to be recoverable. That said, Newport City Council rejected the offer and did not even agree to discuss the issue in person.
Brit devises plan to recover cryptocurrencies
Howells only missed his hard drive when the price of bitcoin reached $ 9 million. “As soon as I saw the landfill, I thought I wouldn’t have a chance. The covered area is huge, ”he said. However, the continued appreciation of cryptography encouraged him to devise a better strategy.
“The plan would be to excavate a specific area of the landfill based on the local plant, and recover the hard drive while meeting all environmental and safety standards,” Howells told CNN. “The unit would then be presented to data recovery specialists who can rebuild it from scratch with new parts and try to recover the little data I need to access bitcoins.”
The Welshman would allocate 25% of the recovered amount to all Newport residents, while 50% would go to individuals and institutions that would sponsor the venture. With that, Howells would only pocket a quarter of the total prize.
The Welsh town hall responded to the CNN who has been contacted several times about the possibility of recovering a piece of hardware that supposedly would store bitcoins. The local authority further clarified that it did not deliberately refuse Howells’ offer, but that it does not have the legal freedom to permit such an excavation.
“The Chamber has told Mr. Howells on several occasions that excavation is not possible under our licensing agreement and that the excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area,” said the municipal body. Newport officials also point out that a transaction like this could cost millions of pounds without any guarantee that the bitcoin amount will actually be recovered.
With information: CNN