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02nd Aug 2022

Man hunting missing hard drive containing £150m of Bitcoin comes up with high-tech plan to recover it

Kieran Galpin

He wants to turn Newport into a crypto-hub

After years of rejected appeals, a man from Newport has dreamt up a plan to recover a lost hard drive containing a bitcoin fortune totalling £150m.

Almost a decade ago, James Howells accidentally binned a memory stick containing cryptocurrency worth millions. Despite petitioning his local council to allow him to dig for the treasure, Howells’ was told the massive dig operation posed a great risk to the local environment.

Taking their concerns on board, Howells has since put together a crack team to aid in his mission.


“Digging up a landfill is a huge operation in itself,” the 37-year-old IT Engineer told the BBC. “The funding has been secured. We’ve brought on an AI specialist. Their technology can easily be retrained to search for a hard drive.”

He added: “We’ve also got an environmental team on board. We’ve basically got a well-rounded team of various experts, with various expertise, which, when we all come together, are capable of completing this task to a very high standard.”

Howells has pledged 10 per cent of his find to turn Newport into a cryptocurrency hotspot, complete with crypto terminals in every shop.

“We’ve got a whole list of incentives, of good cases we’d like to do for the community,” he explained. “One of the things we’d like to do on the actual landfill site, once we’ve cleaned it up and recovered that land is put a power generation facility, maybe a couple of wind turbines.”


He then hopes the power can be used to create a community-owned bitcoin mining facility, as usual methods are awful for the environment.

However despite the grand plan, Newport Council is not budging and they have said it’s simply too dangerous.

They said: “We have statutory duties which we must carry out in managing the landfill site.

“Part of this is managing the ecological risk to the site and the wider area.

“Mr. Howells’ proposals pose significant ecological risk which we cannot accept, and indeed are prevented from considering by the terms of our permit.”

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