UK IT professional who threw 74 mn in digital currency, now offers 10% to local council to help recover it from landfill

07 December 2017

A UK IT professional who claims to have thrown 74 million of digital currency is offering a 10 per cent to the local council to help him find it.

Welshman James Howell was among the earliest adopters of bitcoin and had amassed 7,500 bitcoins back in February 2009 when they were worth less than $1.

But he accidentally threw away his hard drive in a cleanup in 2013 and is now desperately appealing to the local council to give him access to a landfill in Newport to recover the digital wallet.

He told Wales Online that the council had rejected his request to dig up the local site despite offering them a 10 per cent cut, worth 7.4 million.

"How can they leave $100m in the ground when making cuts to services left right and centre?" he added.

"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. Here I am offering them a 10 per cent cut for doing zero work at zero risk to them...It just doesn't make sense."

Howell, who has lined up a team of investors to support his bid, believes that it is possible to pinpoint the location of the hard drive in the landfill based on the basis of the date that it was thrown away. But he has not been able to cut ice with the council.

''After I had stopped mining, the laptop I had used was broken into parts and sold on eBay. However, I kept the hard drive in a drawer at home knowing it contained my Bitcoin private keys, so that if Bitcoin did become valuable one day I would still have the coins I had mined,'' he told The Telegraph.

''In mid-2013 during a clear-out, the hard drive then worth a few hundred thousand pounds was mistakenly thrown out and put into a general waste bin at my local landfill site, after which it was buried on site.''

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