James Howells of Newport, Wales, involved with Bitcoin since 2009, accidentally trashed a hard drive containing his mining transactions.
The year is 2013. James Howells from Newport, Wales is reading the news when it suddenly clicks. He rushes to a drawer in his apartment, pulls the handle, and finds: nothing. Instead of the 8000 Bitcoin key, he is holding the empty hard drive that he really wanted to get rid of.
He had accidentally thrown it in the trash, instead of the hard drive, which he had found. His fortune is now buried under a pile of trash. He told BTC-ECHO how Howells hopes to find the record again.
“That Thing is Pretty Loud”
The Welsh was one of the first people to come into contact with digital gold.
“When I first got involved with Bitcoin, it was just an experiment,” Howells recalls speaking to BTC-ECHO, describing how easy it was to mine BTC back then.
Most of the time he left his laptop on overnight and mined new coins while he slept, so to speak. “Most nights I received 200 coins, 300 coins, 500 coins for a day,” said the IT engineer. He continues laughing: “One day they gave me 1,200 coins. And it was because I fell asleep.
So Howells kept digging for a few weeks until his partner hints at Howell’s gaming laptop fan as a bit noisy due to mining.
“Bitcoin was nothing important at the time.” And with that, Howells put the metaphorical spike and dirty work clothes on his conscience: he stopped mining bitcoin.
The Moment of Truth
In 2010, Howells bought a new computer, this time a Mac. However, at the time, the Bitcoin protocol still doesn’t work on Apple devices. So, during the data transfer from your old laptop to the new machine, it omits your bitcoin data because it is incompatible. As a techie, it’s easy for him to take apart his old laptop and sell the individual parts except for the RAM and the hard drive with the bitcoin it hides.
The Welshman begins cleaning in 2013. “There were two hard drives in the drawer that looked almost identical,” recalls Howells. One of them contains all your personal data: photos, music, and the private key of your bitcoin. The other hard drive is new, never been used. He is in a hurry and grabs one of the hard drives. “Unfortunately, I threw the wrong one in the trash,” Howells told BTC-ECHO.
About three years later, the mother of all cryptocurrencies experienced a huge boost.
Howells considers driving to the dump in Newport to speak with the operators there. He is worried about being called crazy. However, he dares and asks if it is possible to search through the garbage. The operators explain that you need permission from the actual owner, in this case, the Newport City Council.
By Audy Castaneda