James Howells is offering authorities in Newport, United Kingdom, about $72 million for the excavation of the city's landfill, where his hard drive was found with 7,500 BTC, South Wales Argus reported.
The engineer claims to have thrown the device in 2013 into a trash can, which was assigned a serial number and an appropriate place on the landfill. Howells noted that If he got access to the landfill records, he could pinpoint the exact location of the hard drive.
A spokeswoman for Newport City Council said it was not the first such request. The position of the municipality is that excavation is impossible for legal, economic, and environmental reasons. However, in a new inquiry, Howells said he had received support from a hedge fund that was willing to pay for the search for lost Bitcoins. Howells said the outer hull could have rusted, but the disk on which the data is stored has to work. The engineer pledged to donate 25% of the $286.5 million in Bitcoins if the municipality grants permission to search for it.
James Howells has long been known in the Bitcoin world, as in 2013 he literally threw away 7,500 BTC, today these coins are worth almost $90 million.
His story is this: in 2009, he started mining Bitcoins on his computer, then they could not be exchanged for dollars, and BTC no one took as a form of payment. At that time, Bitcoin mining was quite simple and inexpensive, as well as a reward that cost almost nothing.
In total, Howells managed to accumulate 7500 BTC, because then the reward for each unit mined was 50 BTC, while there was no need to share the profit with the pool. When mining became more expensive, Howells stopped mining and sold parts of the computer he used to mine coins on eBay. However, it retained a hard drive that contained private keys to addresses containing BTC.
But the problem is that in 2013, perhaps forgetting what was on it, he threw away a hard drive, losing access to public addresses with coins. Its BTC still exists in the Bitcoin blockchain, but no one can use them, like James Howells himself. The miner's mistake was that he did not keep private keys in a secure place, but only on a hard drive. Eventually, these lines of text can be written down on paper and stored in a safe.