How far will you go to recover $ 280 million? This is the question of 35-year-old James Howells, an IT engineer from Wales. Eight years ago, he accidentally threw a hard drive with $ 280 million bitcoins on it. How did this happen? And, perhaps even more importantly, how are we suddenly hearing people making such predictions? Okay, bitcoin may have been on a tear lately, but it wasn’t long before many people didn’t believe that bitcoin would ever be too much. With Howells, it was a case of mistaken identity – he had two laptop hard drives that were exactly the same. One had a private key to access his bitcoin on it and the other did not. He accidentally threw a bitcoin key at her. Now, nearly a decade later, he is still trying to convince authorities in his city to let him search for a landfill site that he believes is a hard drive.
Howell believes that although the exterior of the hard drive is likely to rust and ruin, its internal grooves cannot be defended. The rejected hard drive contains 7,500 bitcoins, which would be worth more than $ 280 million today. The way cryptocurrency is structured, the only way to recover its bitcoins is to find the hard drive it threw at it in 2013. To dive into a landfill in search of a hard drive, hovels require permission from their local city council. The landfill is not open to the public and trespass would be a criminal offense.
To make it more attractive to the city council, he offers to donate 25% of his bitcoins to his city to establish a Kovid relief fund when he is able to find the hard drive. He has also committed to finding an excavation project to find it, reportedly thanks to the support of hedge funds. So far, however, the city council is not interested in allowing Howell to search for a hard drive. The council cited environmental and funding concerns to deny Howells’ request. This disappoints Howell, who does not even have a chance to present his plan and to tell that he is well funded to go on this mission.
Howells argued the city council several times. For the first time after just a few months, he realized for the first time that he had left the wrong hard drive. The city council has told Howell that he has refused her request for several reasons – the biggest being that the excavation will have a huge environmental impact on the area. The council cited costs as well as issues of storage and treatment of waste. The city council believes the total cost could run into the millions – Howells has no guarantee that the hard drive is discovered or, if it does, still operate.
Bitcoin prices have skyrocketed in the last few months. The cryptocurrency recently hit a high of $ 42,000 per coin. As of this writing, the price of bitcoin is $ 35,200 per coin. Without a “key” on that lost hard drive, there is no way for Howells to reach their slash of bitcoin. Cryptocurrency operates on a decentralized network and there is no way to retrieve lost passwords as it does with traditional banks and financial companies such as PayPal and Venmo.