Market Musings

A Hard Drive with $300M in Bitcoin is in Landfill, But Politicians Are Refusing to Help

Published on:
January 14, 2021

Newport City Council is being offered $75 million in BTC for permission to find the hard drive, but it is refusing to help.

A Hard Drive with $300M in Bitcoin is in Landfill, But Politicians Are Refusing to Help

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It’s been seven years since James Howells threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 BTC.


After making repeated attempts to get his local council to help him track it down, the 35-year-old has now beefed up his offer — and is willing to give local officials a 25% cut of the crypto haul if it allows experts to trawl the landfill site.


Overall, the BTC stored on the hard drive is worth about $300 million at the time of writing — meaning Newport City Council in Wales would stand to gain $75 million if it was recovered. Howells has suggested that this money could go into a fund for COVID-19 relief.


Speaking to the South Wales Argus, the IT programmer said: 

“We only want to search in one specific area. We want to employ an inflatable structure to create an airtight seal around that area to stop landfill gases escaping.”

Unfortunately, Howells’ bold plan isn’t without risks. There’s a possibility that the hard drive will have been damaged, meaning that the Bitcoin stored within will be irretrievable. Nonetheless, he believes there’s a “good chance” that it will still work. He added:

“The longer this drags on though, it’s less likely to be a possibility.”

Sadly, Newport City Council appears to be having none of it — and local politicians have repeatedly rebuffed Howells’ request before. A spokeswoman told the newspaper:

“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 … excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area. We have, therefore, been clear that we cannot assist him in this matter.”

On Wednesday, we told you the sorry story of the man who has just two password guesses left before Bitcoin worth $240 million is lost forever.


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