A man is offering a Welsh council £7.4 million to dig in its tip for his lost Bitcoin - KDTV6 CYPTO NEWS

Monday, December 4, 2017

A man is offering a Welsh council £7.4 million to dig in its tip for his lost Bitcoin

James Howells

The owner of a laptop containing $100 million worth of Bitcoin lost in a Newport dump is battling the council for his right to dig for it.

Four years ago, Welsh IT worker James Howells says he accidentally threw away a hard drive full of Bitcoin which he believes is now worth more than $100 million (around £74 million).

He’s been fighting Newport city council ever since for a permit to look for the computer, which contains over 7,500 units of the cryptocurrency and is buried below thousands of tonnes of rubbish on a landfill site.

A spokesperson for the council said James has been told “on several occasions” he will not be given a permit despite his offer of a 10% cut.

The 32-year-old says the council has repeatedly “stonewalled” him even though he claims to have several investors lined up to fund the dig.

He added: “How can they leave $100 million in the ground when making cuts to services left right and centre?

“My investors have even offered to put a sum of money into a bank ‘bond’ just in case we mess it up, the council can access this money to fix it properly themselves.

“I’ve also told them i would adhere to all safety standards when digging and also put the site back to its original condition when finished.

“They are not interested in helping at all because the people in charge have never given me the chance to explain the details and the exact situation to them.”

He also claims the council has “no good reason” to stop him digging for the hard drive - despite council claims any operation could cost millions of pounds and pose serious risks to the environment.

James began “mining” Bitcoin - a complex process - on his laptop in 2009. It was even worth “a few hundred thousand pounds” when he accidentally threw it out in 2013 during a clear out.

However, a recent boom in the value of the virtual currency has seen its value rocket to over £8,000 per unit.

James believes he can pinpoint the laptop’s location by estimating its depth based on the date it was thrown away.

He is offering the council a 10% cut in exchange for permission and says he has enough investor cash to take on the project at no cost to them.

He also rubbished claims by the council claims the hard drive would have sustained “significant” corrosion and would likely be useless.

He said: “Here I am offering them a 10% cut for doing zero work at zero risk to them. It just doesn’t make sense

“I would love to know which hard drive data experts they consulted, because I'm pretty sure the council have nobody who is qualified in data recovery on their team.

“They are under the impression I want to dig the whole landfill site when this isn’t the case.

“I want to try and pinpoint the location and depth) of the drive based on the dates it was thrown out.

“This would help narrow down the search area considerably and would not impact on-going operations in any way.

“I have investors who are lined up willing to take all the risk even to the point of putting money in a ‘bond’ scheme so the council are covered financially if we mess it up.

“It can be done, and it could be done safely, they just don’t want too.

“I guarantee you that in five - ten years when the hard drive is valued at $1/2 billion dollars plus they wont be getting a penny when they come begging at my door.”

A spokesperson for Newport City Council said: “Newport City Council has been contacted in the past about the possibility of retrieving a piece of IT hardware said to contain Bitcoins.

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

“The council has told the individual concerned on several occasions that excavation is not possible under our licencing permit, added to the fact excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area.

“The landfill section of HWRC (Household Waste Recycling Centre) is not accessible to the public as it is a permitted facility with conditions that include security and prevention of illegal access to the facility regulated by NRW (National Resources Wales), therefore any potential treasure hunters could not access the site and would be committing a criminal offence.

“The landfill contains around 350,000 tonnes of waste with an annual input of 50,000 tonnes.

“It is likely that the hardware would have suffered significant Galvanic corrosion due to the presence of landfill leachates and gasses.”



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