Man Who Threw Away Hard Drive With £230 Million Of Bitcoin Offers Millions To Find It

by : Julia Banim on : 14 Jan 2021 16:45
Man Who Threw Away Hard Drive With £230 Million Of Bitcoin Offers Millions To Find ItWales News Service

A man who threw away a hard drive containing £230 million-worth of Bitcoin is now offering to share his wealth with residents if he is permitted to search a landfill site in Wales.

35-year-old IT worker James Howells, from Newport, has claimed he unintentionally threw away 7,500 units of the cryptocurrency in 2013.


Back then, the value of the Bitcoin was within the hundreds of thousands of pounds mark, but has since soared to well over £200 million. Howells has reportedly spent the last eight years asking permission from Newport City Council to search its landfill site for the dumped hard drive.

James HowellsWales News Service

He has also made various offers to share a portion of the cash with the local authority, if he is able to get hold of his long-lost hard drive.

According to Howells, he has been able to obtain the support of a hedge fund that could finance his excavation plans. However, he has so far been unable to get permission from the council.


Howells told Wales Online:

I have got an international hedge fund who are willing to put up anywhere between £2.5m to £3.5m to do a professional search operation of the landfill.

Basically, to do the job properly to all environmental standards because at the end of the day even though that is a lot of money it’s still worth it.

I have got to give up a large percentage to the investors, which I accept, the risk to reward ratio. But I accept that because all the risk is on them if anything, there’s hardly any risk with Newport City Council.

James HowellsWales News Service

Howells continued:


As part of the project plan, we plan to put a large sum of money into an Escrow which the local council will be able to access if we were to mess up.

That would all be written into contract so it covers the local authority, so they are not out of pocket in any way. If you look at their response they haven’t taken this into consideration at all.

It just seems like a continuation of excuses not to engage with me, wishing it would just go away. But it’s not going to go away because the valuation of Bitcoin is only going to go one way over time.

He then went on to claim that ‘in five to ten years’ the hard drive will be worth ‘a billion pounds’, with the value rising astronomically once again.

A Newport City Council spokesperson has said the council had ‘been clear that we cannot assist him in this matter’, stating:

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.

The council has also told Mr Howells on a number of occasions that excavation is not possible under our licencing permit and excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area.

Even if we were able to agree to his request, there is the question of who would meet the cost if the hard drive was not found or was damaged to such an extent that the data could not be recovered.


Whether or not these reasons will deter Howells from his quest for Bitcoin treasure remains to be seen.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Technology, Bitcoin


Wales Online
  1. Wales Online

    Man who binned Bitcoin worth £230m wants to dig it up and share it with people in Newport