A MAN who has $140 million worth of Bitcoin stored on a computer he accidentally threw away is offering the council 10 per cent of his fortune if they allow him onto the site to hunt for it.
James Howells, 32, from Wales, invested heavily in Bitcoin, dubbed “digital gold,” long before it was widely known, The Sun reports.
But four years ago he threw out an old computer on whose hard drive were the ownership codes of his 7500 Bitcoin stash, worth around $920,000 at the time. Today James estimates that his portfolio is now worth $141,856,477.
However he cannot access it, as the hard drive was dumped in a landfill in Newport, Wales, when he threw away his computer by accident.
The IT worker has pleaded with the council several times to allow him to dig for the hard drive, but they has said no on “several occasions”, according to Wales Online.
But now is a bid to convince them, he is offering the council a 10 per cent cut which would be worth $14.2 million.
He said: “How can they leave $100 million (USD) in the ground when making cuts to services left right and centre? My investors have even offered to put a sum of money into a bank ‘bond’ just in case we mess it up, the council can access this money to fix it properly themselves.”
“I’ve also told them I would adhere to all safety standards when digging and also put the site back to its original condition when finished. They are not interested in helping at all because the people in charge have never given me the chance to explain the details and the exact situation to them.”
A spokesman for Newport City Council said: “Newport City Council has been contacted in the past about the possibility of retrieving a piece of IT hardware said to contain Bitcoins.
“However, the cost of digging up the landfill, storing and treating the waste could run into millions of pounds — without any guarantee of either finding the hardware or it still being in working order.
“The council has told the individual concerned on several occasions that excavation is not possible under our licencing permit, added to the fact excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area.
“The landfill section of HWRC (Household Waste Recycling Centre) is not accessible to the public as it is a permitted facility with conditions that include security and prevention of illegal access to the facility regulated by NRW (National Resources Wales), therefore any potential treasure hunters could not access the site and would be committing a criminal offence.
“The landfill contains around 350,000 tonnes of waste with an annual input of 50,000 tonnes.
“It is likely that the hardware would have suffered significant Galvanic corrosion due to the presence of landfill leachates and gasses.”