James Howells dumped a hard drive containing 8,000 bitcoins almost ten years ago. Now he finally wants to find it in a dump - if you let him. The operation is said to cost 10 million pounds, the equivalent of almost 12 million euros: Briton James Howells finally wants to find his hard drive with 8,000 Bitcoin, which he accidentally disposed of in 2013. Howells has suspected the plate for years at a rubbish tip in Newport, south Wales.
8,000 Bitcoin would be worth over 180 million euros at the current rate. Accordingly, Howells is not skimping on his hard drive salvage plan. The cost of the salvage operation is said to be covered by a hedge fund, the Guardian reports.
Howells plans to use a team of environmental and data recovery experts and unspecified AI calculations to find his hard drive. A robotic arm is supposed to filter the garbage, with the help of artificial intelligence. The pre-sorted waste should then be searched by hand.
The hard drive may be buried under thousands of tons of garbage
Shortly after Howells noticed that his hard drive had been lost, several tons of new garbage was already dumped in the area where the computer scientist suspected the drive to be. Over the past few years, so much new rubbish has probably been added that a purely manual search would be very time-consuming.
According to Howells, his current plan is for the search to take nine to 12 months. Boston Dynamics robotic dogs are to secure the area being searched. However, it is completely unclear whether Howells will actually find his hard drive in the end.
There is also a not insignificant problem: the city of Newport does not want to allow Howells the operation at this point in time - despite assurances that the search would be accompanied by environmental experts and that Howells would like to support the city financially after a successful find.
The city of Newport wants no search
City officials don't even want to meet with Howells, according to the Guardian. "We have obligations to operate the dump," a city official said. "Part of that is assessing the environmental risks to the dump and the area around it. Mr. Howell's proposal poses a significant environmental risk that we cannot accept."