Throws away hard drive bitcoins

throws away hard drive bitcoins

JAKARTA - A man from England named James Howell accidentally threw away a hard drive containing Bitcoin. Reportedly, the hard drive could be. James Howells, an IT worker, threw out the hard drive carrying 7, bitcoins by mistake. He had accumulated the currency between June and. A British man who threw away a hard drive containing bitcoins worth $ million has started searching his local landfill in an attempt to. EXPRESS UK CRYPTOCURRENCIES DEFY BREXIT

This could be a plain hard drive or a purpose-built drive. This is usually the safest way to store your crypto keys, i. A hot wallet, by contrast, is stored in an app or other software. Cold wallets are safer, but only if you keep the physical device safe.

Keep it and your internet connection secure. And never share your private key with anyone. Tap or click here for more on protecting your crypto. Buying and selling crypto? The IRS wants to know. Cryptocurrency tip: One method to lower your investment risk. Don't want to lose your dough to crypto? Check out my new eBook, "Cryptocurrency Skip to Content. Your daily dose of tech smarts Learn the tech tips and tricks only the pros know.

Email address Sign me up. Learn the tech tips and tricks only the pros know. Email address Subscribe No, thanks. I'm already a digital expert. When James was cleaning out his office in , he threw away the hard drive. According to Metro, the year-old IT worker claims that he had two identical hard drives and he threw out the wrong one. He jokes that he is not the only one who has ever thrown out the wrong stuff, but it normally doesn't cost individuals millions.

He also said that there is going to be a day when the files on that system are worth more than a billion pounds. He believes that even after all this time, the hard disc will still be in good enough operating shape to retrieve the bitcoin files.

James Howells says that there is a chance to find the disc but the longer the time it takes in the search process, the less likely it will be to find it. James proposed to donate the money to a council COVID relief fund in order to assist the city's distressed families, back in January.

Howells has made several requests to the Newport City Council to allow him to search the waste dump for the hard drive that he disposed off eight years ago but the council rejected his request, according to CNBC. Newport Council stated that they were unable to help him.

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Casey, Director of CIA, Recent Comments. Quantum Quirk. Stone wave. E-mails sent to Sott. Donate once - or every month! Click here to learn how you can help. He then extracted the hard drive and put it in the desk drawer. According to the BBC article, the Oslo man had bought the apartment partly by selling a thousand bitcoins, which were then worth about a hundred and seventy thousand dollars.

Panicked, he checked his desk drawer. In it, he found the empty hard drive—not the one with the bitcoin folder. Bitcoin was first proposed in October, , by Satoshi Nakamoto —a pseudonym, for one person or perhaps several. No central bank or organization would control bitcoin, a purely digital currency. The total amount of money minted would be capped at twenty-one million coins and could not be changed.

Digital currencies had been proposed before, but none had truly taken off: they either had flaws in their technical design or did not find enough early adopters. Nakamoto framed his proposal, with its focus on decentralization and the limit on the total amount of bitcoin, as a shrewd response to the financial crisis of Nakamoto declared that bitcoin could correct this flaw. He was already skeptical of power and those who had it. Many of the first people who actually used bitcoin as money embraced the concept for a different reason: cryptocurrency transactions were untraceable.

If someone paid you in bitcoin, you could evade taxes. Governments shut out of the global banking system could use bitcoin to buy weapons on the black market. Illicit activity likely helped bitcoin appreciate in value, but Howells was a libertarian, not a mobster. He liked that the Bitcoin system was borderless and incorporeal, as the rest of his online life was.

He had been on the Internet every day since his early teens. During the nineties, when Wales had a brief tech boom, his mother had worked in a computer-chip factory, and she now worked in a betting shop. An appetite for a volatile cybercurrency was in his blood. Bitcoin is also easy to lose. Conventional money comes full of safeguards: paper currency is distinctively colored and has a unique feel; centuries of design have gone into folding wallets and zippered purses.

And once your money is deposited in a bank you have a record of what you own. If you lose your statement, the bank will send you another. Forget your online password and you can reset it. The sixty-four-character private key for your bitcoin looks like any other computer rune and is nearly impossible to memorize.

It can also be difficult to remember where you have stored the key. On Reddit, one user, writing in , complained that he had lost ten thousand bitcoins because his mother had thrown out his old laptop. Another early crypto user was irritated by a clicking sound on his hard drive and unthinkingly tossed it out. It contained a file with access to fourteen hundred bitcoins, which he had bought for twenty-five dollars.

From the start, users debated whether it was a feature or a bug of the system that bitcoin was so easy to lose. In a post to an online forum, a newbie named virtualcoin complained that bitcoin seemed risky. Nakamoto himself dropped out of sight in , and he has apparently not claimed his own bitcoin, which is now worth an estimated sixty billion dollars. Howells remembers thinking it was a good thing that there was no way to access your bitcoin without a private key, because it meant that no one could seize your bitcoin, either.

As he saw it, any compromise in this principle would have rendered bitcoin pointless, because that would allow the government and the banks to penetrate, and ultimately dominate, the system. Same as I now think of myself. He wanted to go to the dump, but he was embarrassed—and afraid that nobody would believe his story. So for about a month he told no one, and watched helplessly as the bitcoin market soared, and with it the value of his lost holdings.

She was shocked to learn of the potential windfall, and encouraged him to go to the dump to see if anything could be done. How could he possibly sift through it all? But then the manager gave him some cheering news. Dumps were not filled randomly—like computers, they had an architecture.

Newport had organized its dump into different cells: asbestos was deposited in one location, general household trash in another. It would not be impossible to pinpoint the area where the hard drive was buried, then disinter it. Howells went home and examined the dump on Google Maps. The object is findable. However, Legrand needs only a shovel to start digging.

To some, the ease with which the coins had come to Howells seemed like a fantasy or a story from an already distant past: Nakamoto had designed bitcoin mining so that it required more and more computer power as the number of unmined coins decreased. Today, according to a Times report , it would require an American home with average electricity consumption at least thirteen years to mine a single bitcoin.

Others were eager to lend a hand in recovering his drive. At first, Newport officials said that if they found the drive they would of course give it back, but later they adopted a more hard-line stance. How could Howells be sure that the hard drive had been placed in the landfill?

In any case, they cautioned, the drive was likely unusable: it would have been destroyed en route to its noxious burial place. And, besides, the environmental risk of a retrieval would be too great. Howells studied the technology behind hard drives and came to believe that the city officials were wrong.

Although the covering of the drive was metal, the disk inside was glass. He conceded that the hard drive would have been subjected to some compacting when it was layered in with soil and other trash. He was certain that, as long as that part of the disk was undamaged, he could recover his fortune. As Howells tried to ready a plan to present to officials in Newport, the value of the cryptocurrency kept rising. More and more garbage piled on top of the hard drive, and the private key for his bitcoin sank deeper and deeper.

By the beginning of , Howells had more than a hundred million dollars buried in the Newport dump. He kept pleading his case to city officials. He thought of suing Newport, but such moves, commonplace in America, are rare in the United Kingdom. As a systems engineer, he knew how to organize a project, and through the years he assembled an increasingly sophisticated strategy for finding the hard drive.

He met with potential investors, and eventually made arrangements with two European businessmen who agreed to support a recovery operation. Howells would get only about a third of the proceeds. He had hoped for a much higher sum; the money was his, after all. He became increasingly convinced that this was a realistic path. The city did not accept his offer. He had thought that he was striking a blow for the little guy by mining bitcoin; now it was clear that, in Newport at least, little guys still had no power.

She listened politely to his proposal to recover the bitcoin, at no cost to the city, but was not persuaded. Howells, there is absolutely zero appetite for this project to go ahead within Newport City Council. Months of silence followed. Earlier this fall, I went to see Howells in Newport. We had been talking and texting for nearly a year, mostly on the messaging app Telegram.

He had been by turns evasive and defensive, often coming across as an unyielding cyber libertarian. Tech shaped his world view. On October 21st, the day I arrived in Newport, the value of a bitcoin had just hit a new peak: nearly sixty-seven thousand dollars. Howells met me by the train station, wearing jeans and a crisp sweatshirt from Lonsdale. He drives a twenty-year-old BMW convertible that he bought before his bitcoin days.

He is small and fit, with a skin-fade haircut and a light-brown half beard. The over-all effect was of concision and capability. Moments after we sat down in a coffee shop, he pulled out his phone and showed me an app that he uses to track his holdings. We had Welsh pancakes, and he paid with cash. As we drove across the River Usk, he mentioned that, in , while the city was building a new arts center along its banks, workers had dug up a fifteenth-century Iberian sailing ship.

The next day, we visited the local antiquities museum, where he showed me a cooking pot, likely belonging to a Roman soldier, that had been buried in a nearby field. From the shattered remains trickled a trail of coins. Howells compared them to his buried hard drive, then corrected himself: the coins were not like bitcoin at all. Sometimes, he explained, messengers and go-betweens had clipped off a bit of precious metal to repay themselves for the trouble of handling transactions.

The percentage of silver in Roman coins kept declining, setting off runaway inflation. The widespread use of bitcoin, he assured me, would prevent a similar economic collapse. We went to the dump. It was a bucolic site between an estuary and docks where, many years ago, ships had been loaded with Welsh coal. Derricks stood idle. Newport felt rickety: faded signs on small businesses, empty land where factories had once stood.

As he drove, Howells mused on why the local officials had refused to allow him to dig up his hoard. He theorized that the dump had not been following environmental regulations, and that unearthing a section of landfill could embarrass the city and make it vulnerable to lawsuits.

He drove to the area where he had estimated that his hard drive would likely be.

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The dad-of-two reckons the hard drive would still be in good enough working order to retrieve the Bitcoin files - even after seven years. James has offered to give the council's 25 per cent reward to a Covid relief fund to help struggling families in Newport. He claims he has received financial backing from a hedge fund to pay for the search so the council is not out of pocket.

But Newport Council insisted it was unable to help due to licencing rules and said there was no guarantee the hard drive was in the landfill. A spokeswoman said: "Newport City Council has been contacted a number of times since about the possibility of retrieving a piece of IT hardware said to contain Bitcoins. We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at tips the-sun. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.

Jump directly to the content. Sign in. All Football. News Adam Bennett. Now, the Newport, Wales, local has offered his city council a vast sum of money if it allows him to excavate a landfill site where he believes the hard drive has been disposed of. Howells had mined the bitcoins over four years when cryptocurrencies were still in their infancy and worth very little. Howells recalled throwing the hard drive away between June and August , believing he'd already backed up the files he needed from it.

After visiting the landfill, Howells told the BBC he thought he had "no chance" of retrieving his hard drive. But he now has a new plan to find it. He added that if the plan were successful, about a quarter of the fortune would go to the city of Newport, roughly half would go to investors who funded the retrieval, and the rest would go to him. In a statement to CNN, however, a Newport City Council spokeswoman said the city was not allowed to excavate the site.

Howells on a number of occasions that excavation is not possible under our licensing permit and excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area," she said. Wallet Recovery Services, a firm that helps recover lost digital keys, told The Times that it received 70 requests a day from users trying to access their digital wallets — a number that is three times what it was a month ago.

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