A British man has been searching for a lost hard drive with 8,000 bitcoins since 2013

A British man James Howells can safely claim to be the loser of the year and at the same time the most persistent person. And all because of the sad story related to the lost bitcoins.

What happened?

In 2013, James accidentally threw away a hard drive containing 8,000 bitcoins. It ended up in the local Howells landfill in Newport, Wales. Today, those bitcoins are worth a fortune - about $176 million. So it's no surprise that the man isn't letting up and continues to persist in his search for the hard drive.

 Mr Howells says that he had 7,500 bitcoins which, at today's prices, would be worth more than $280 million. He claims he had two identical hard drives and mistakenly threw away the one which has the cryptographic "private key" he needs to access his bitcoin, reports CNBC.

He is confident that he can recover the bitcoin even after all these years - but so far the Newport City Council has refused to let him search the landfill site he believes contains his hard drive.


"There is a good chance the platter inside the drive is still intact," Mr Howells told CNBC. "Data recovery experts could then rebuild the drive or read the data directly from the platter."

The 35-year-old has even offered to donate 25% of the bitcoins - worth around $70.8 million - to the city, but so far to no avail.

The Newport City Council has rejected repeated requests from Mr Howells to let him look through the garbage dump which could contain the hard drive he threw out eight years ago. 

"The council has told Mr Howells on a number of occasions that excavation is not possible under our licencing permit and excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area," a council spokesperson said.

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


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