The incredible story of James Howells who wants to recover his 8000 bitcoins buried underground

In 2013, this Welshman claims to have mistakenly thrown a hard drive containing the private key of 8000 bitcoins into the landfill of his municipality. He now he has a plan from a science fiction script to get him back.

Ten years later, he still doesn’t give up. James Howells, a 36-year-old Welshman from the city of Newport, wants to recover his 8,000 bitcoins lost in 2013 at all costs.

He claims to have at that moment two hard drives, one empty, the other containing the private key of his 8000 bitcoins extracted in 2009. Bad luck: the one containing this famous private key was inadvertently thrown into the landfill of his municipality. The current value of its cryptocurrencies exceeds $ 170 million.

An 11 million dollar plan

For years, this Welshman has faced Newport City Council’s refusal to dig into the landfill to recover his hard drive, for cost and environmental reasons. Almost a decade later, having seen the price of bitcoin skyrocket over the period despite the recent cryptocurrency crashes, he still doesn’t despair.

The latter mentioned a plan in Business Insider, which appears to come out of a science fiction scenario. With two possible scenarios: one, which consists of excavating over 110,000 tons of waste for three years at a cost of 11 million dollars (two Swiss investors would have agreed to finance this plan, if validated by the city council), the other would cost 6 millions of dollars and would take 18 months.

To achieve this, James Howells intends to surround himself with 8 specialized experts: from sorting assisted by artificial intelligence, through the excavation of landfills to waste management. Among the experts there would also be “an adviser who worked for a company that recovered data from the black box of the crashed Columbia space shuttle”. Robot dogs would also be part of the operation, which will be filmed 24 hours a day. James Howells firmly believes in his plan, estimating that if the “platter” of his hard drive is not damaged, there is up to a 90% chance of recovering his data.

“His proposals present a significant ecological risk”

“After the excavation, the garbage would be cleaned up and recycled as much as possible, Howells said. The rest would be buried again,” Howells told Business Insider. This doesn’t seem to be enough for the city council.

“His proposals present a significant ecological risk, which we cannot accept and which the terms of our permit prevent us from considering,” a councilor told the media.

If the famous hard drive were to be found, James Howells explained that he would keep 30% of the assets, that a third would go to the recovery team, 30% to investors and the rest to local causes.

James Howells seems to want to bring the trial to a close. If the municipality refuses, he says he is ready to attack the local authority, believing that his actions constitute an “illegal embargo” on the hard disk.

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