This man's lost bitcoin are now worth $75m – and under 200,000 tonnes of garbage

Mr Cracker

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What does it feel like to lose $75,000,000 in bitcoin? https://twitter.com/howelzy tries not to let it get to him. And strictly speaking, he knows where his coins are — they're under 200,000 tonnes of garbage at a landfill in Newport, South Wales. Back in 2009, Howells set an old laptop to mining bitcoin – back before you needed specialised hardware – eventually totting up 7,500 coins. He later broke up the Dell M1710 into parts to sell on eBay, but kept the hard drive tucked away in a drawer in case bitcoin ever did take off. Four years later, he'd forgotten about his horde, and during a clean out, the hard drive was accidentally binned, presumably landing in Newport landfill.

At that time, his bitcoin stash was https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/27/hard-drive-bitcoin-landfill-site. Thanks to the digital currency's value skyrocketing from between $300 and $1,000 in 2013 to more than $10,000 this week, his pile is now worth $75 million.

Why isn't he frantically digging through refuse? For that matter, why aren't you? The council won't allow it – it's dangerous and difficult. "I haven’t actually tried to search for the hard drive yet as I haven’t been given permission to look despite having financial backing in place and engaging the local council a number of times," Howells tells me via email. "Digging up a landfill is not as easy as just digging a hole in the ground." It would require diggers, plenty of specialist help, and, Howells says, be the first such excavation that wasn't related to a criminal investigation in the UK – though such an effort has been done in the US to https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/landfill-excavation-unearths-years-of-crushed-atari-treasure/.

A spokesperson for Newport City Council said it has been "contacted in the past about the possibility of retrieving a piece of IT hardware said to contain bitcoins". But the costs of digging up the landfill, and storing and treating the waste, would run into the millions and cause a "huge environmental impact on the surrounding area". And there's no guarantee the drive would be found or still work.

The landfill contains around 350,000 tonnes of waste, with 50,000 added annually, the spokesperson said. "It is likely that the hardware would have suffered significant galvanic corrosion due to the presence of landfill leachates and gases," they added.

Millions in costs, dangerous conditions, no promise of a reward... but what a reward if found. Newport City Council has faced budgetary concerns this year – the head of the council has http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-41557214 – and Howells believes bitcoin will eventually be worth so much they will have no choice but to let him search. "And obviously they would get a nice percentage as a gift or donation."

If this all makes you want to hop a train to Newport with a shovel in hand, be warned that aside from being dangerous, the landfill is not open to the public and "any potential treasure hunters" would be committing a criminal offence, the council spokesperson noted. And the effort required to search for the drive means you're sure to be noticed.

Howells still has the public address, so he can check that his coins haven't moved; if you do find the hard drive, note that the data is encrypted, so you'll need his help either way. "If they ever moved I would know," he says. "It's a little like looking at your bank account containing millions of dollars but not being able to spend it." If you doubt his good humour about the whole story, he follows that statement with a "lol".

Source: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/bitcoin-lost-newport-landfill

FYI - I added some tags on the thread for fun.
 

SamLewis

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Does he say what the address with 7500 coins is?
 

Zwielicht

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One man's trash is another man's treasure.
 

WilhelmScream

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One man's trash is another man's treasure.

ee47c6fdd52ec29571c830833c5b9481.ppng
 

Pinktoe

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Typical sheep shagging Welshman....

As a welsh man, I prefer hearing this to the "where is that?" I hear every time some one asks me where I'm from, while living in America

 
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Adonno

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Too bad he would be millionaire today
 

MisterF

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As a welsh man, I prefer hearing this to the "where is that?" I hear every time some one asks me where I'm from, while living in America

Got to admit been to the old Arms Park and also the New stadium to watch rugby a few tims and have had some great times down there.
 
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