James Howells is not a happy man at the moment. James Howells is the name of the man who lost a hard drive with the key to more than USD 50 million in Bitcoin. Having gotten into mining in 2009, early enough to make a fortune, he accidentally threw away the hard drive holding thousands of Bitcoins.
“I mined more than 7,500 coins over one week’s time in 2009; there were just six of us doing it at the time, and it was like the early days of a gold rush,” the IT worker turned crypto investor told New York Post. “Four years later, I had two hard drives in a desk drawer. One was empty and the other contained my Bitcoin private keys. I meant to throw away the empty drive — and I accidentally threw away the one with the Bitcoin information.”
He’s not the only one with such bad luck: Atlanta-based software developer Syl Turner mined two Bitcoins in 2010 and forgot about it. When the price started rising from November on, he found that old computer in the attic, but also found that he had overwritten his private key.
Meanwhile, Howells is still struggling to get his coins back. He’s even offered the town of Newport 10% of the Bitcoins’ value if they’ll let him excavate the landfill. So far, they’ve denied his requests. Still, he considers his coins to be perfectly safe there: “Nobody else can get in there and take my hard drive,” he said. “It’s like having [millions] in the bank, but you cannot get into the bank account.”