Despite the fact he's willing to split the loot with the council running the landfill, it's refusing to budge — and based on what one spokesperson said, it seems it wants him to stop trying.
A man who accidentally threw away a hard drive containing 8,000 BTC has unveiled his latest plan to get the crypto back: Robot dogs.
James Howells has had a torrid time of it since his exceptionally costly error back in 2013 — not least because the stash would be worth a whopping $185 million at the time of writing.
The Welshman's convinced that the exceedingly valuable disk ended up at a landfill site in Newport, but despite multiple pleas, local officials have refused to help him retrieve it.
They cost about $75,000 each, and they'd be tasked with scouring the site using integrated CCTV cameras, as well as scanning the ground for the coveted prize.
Overall, it's estimated that Howells' idea would cost an eye-watering $11 million, and he's secured funding from venture capitalists to bring the proposal to life.
Yet despite the fact he's willing to split the loot with Newport Council, it's refusing to budge — and based on what one spokesperson said, it seems it wants him to stop trying.
Warning that there is no single idea that would convince the council to change its mind, the official added:
"His proposals pose significant ecological risk, which we cannot accept and indeed are prevented from considering by the terms of our permit."
Why Won't Newport Help?
Howells' story ends up making its way into the press every couple of years — and each time, the crypto enthusiast has come up with another radical idea to regain his fortune.
But back in 2021, Newport Council said the cost of digging up the landfill, and dealing with the waste, could end up reaching millions of pounds — with no guarantee that the hard drive would be found, let alone work.
There are also fears that the excavation would have a "huge environmental impact on the surrounding area."
Howells disputes the notion that the hard drive would never be found, and claims he's been given a serial number that would direct excavators to the precise location where it resides.
Estimates have long suggested that about four million Bitcoin has been lost forever — primarily because early adopters are no longer able to access their wallets.
Last year, one man revealed that he's forgotten the password to a hard drive that contains 7,000 BTC — currently worth over $162 million.
Cryptographers have been unable to help Stefan Thomas retrieve this life-changing sum of money — and at the time, he had just two guesses left before his private keys would be encrypted forever.