As early as in 2013 James Howells got on the news with the story about his lost hard drive. Howells was one of the first miners, who had received 7500 BTC in 2009 with the help of his laptop when the cryptocurrency had still been available and cost almost nothing.
As The Guardian reports, James mined Bitcoin on the Dell laptop during a week and stopped to do that because of his girlfriend who complained of too hot computer and too much noise from it. In 2010, he accidentally spilled lemonade on his laptop, and afterward took it to pieces. He had been keeping the hard drive where the Bitcoins had been stored in the drawer during three years until one day it was thrown away.
Getting rid of the old IT equipment, Howells didn’t remember about the money on the hard drive, so he just threw it away. Later on, he said “You know that feeling when you throw something out, and something in your head says “it’s a bad idea.” I had that feeling.” When he understood what he’d done, he started to look for backups, accidental copies, something that could give him access to money. But he found nothing.
When James had thrown his money away, 7500 BTC had cost more than 600 thousand dollars, and when his story appeared in the news headlines – more than 5 million. Howells had done everything to return his money:
I talked to one of the guys working there, explained the situation. And he took me in his truck to the disposal site where they worked. The landfill was the size of the football field, and he told me that something disposed of 3-4 months ago should be looked for on the depth of 3-4 feet.
He also mentioned that the police, when looking for something on the landfill, used the team of 15 people in addition to excavators and personal protective equipment. He could not finance such operation by himself, so he pushed the matter aside and created a wallet for donations.
The 2017th is running to an end, and Bitcoin costs more than $9700, approaching 10 000. The hard drive with 7500 BTC now costs around 72 million dollars. Theoretically, they can still be there waiting for someone to find them.
At the same time, a spokesman of Newport emphasized that treasure hunters would not be allowed to the disposal site, and if the hard drive were found, it would be returned. Howells stated:
At the moment, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over this situation. And why am I not there with a shovel? I think I’ve just lost faith in the possibility of finding it ever.
At the same time, Howells still insists that he has always believed that Bitcoin is a future of money. According to his words, it will grow further since this is the next step of the Internet evolution. Also, he added: “When I found out about it for the first time, I understood everything. At that time, everything already was. Google, Facebook – they had already been the leaders of the market in their spheres. The only thing that lacked was Internet-money.”