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Bitcoins

There is unlucky and then there is..............................(although you wonder about these bitcoins)


A Newport man has been searching a landfill site in south Wales hoping to find a computer hard drive he threw away which is now worth over £4m.

James Howells's hard drive contains 7,500 bitcoins - which is a virtual form of currency for use online.

It had sat in a drawer for years and he had forgotten it contained the bitcoins, which he obtained in 2009 for almost nothing, when he threw it out.

But this week, a single bitcoin's value hit $1,000 (£613) for the first time.

It means Mr Howells's collection is now worth $7.5m (£4.6m).

A few years ago Mr Howells, who works in IT, had dismantled his computer after spilling a drink on it.

"I stored a couple of parts away like the hard drive, and the rest of the bits and pieces which were still working I sold for spares," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"I kept the hard drive in a drawer in my office for three years without a second thought - totally forgot about bitcoin all together. I had been distracted by family life and moving house.

Bitcoin is often referred to as a new kind of currency.

But it may be best to think of its units being virtual tokens rather than physical coins or notes.

However, like all currencies its value is determined by how much people are willing to exchange it for.

There are currently about 11 million bitcoins in existence.

To receive a bitcoin a user must have a bitcoin address - a string of 27-34 letters and numbers - which acts as a kind of virtual postbox to and from which the bitcoins are sent.

Since there is no registry of these addresses, people can use them to protect their anonymity when making a transaction.

These addresses are in turn stored in bitcoin wallets which are used to manage savings.

They operate like privately run bank accounts - with the proviso that if the data is lost, so are the bitcoins owned.

"Fast forward to 2013 which is when I had a clearout of my old IT equipment - I hadn't used this drive for over three years, I believed I'd taken everything off it... so it got thrown in the bin."

Mr Howells later realised what was left on the hard drive.

He added: "I had been hearing a few stories of a chap from Norway who had bought a number of coins for a very low price and had sold them for a high price and that's when I got back into checking the price and seeing what I'd done.

"When I found out what the price was, the penny dropped and I realised the coins I have 'mined' were on the drive I had thrown away.

"There was not a lot I could do."

Mr Howells checked all of his back up files but could not locate the coins so went to the landfill site in south Wales.

"When I went to the tip the manager took me up to the current landfill site and when I saw it - it's about the size of a football field - my first thought was 'no chance'," he said.

"The manager explained that things that were sent to landfill three or four months ago could be three to five feet deep.

"He confirmed my worst fears when he said that.

"He did mention that when people were investigating for evidence, they turn up with 15 to 20 people in full protective gear with diggers and dogs as well.

"The truth is I haven't got the funds or ability to make that happen at the moment without a definite pay cheque at the end of it."

World's first
In a letter to the US Senate committee, the FBI said that it recognised virtual currencies offered "legitimate financial services" but added they could be "exploited by malicious actors".

In October, the world's first bitcoin ATM opened in Vancouver, Canada. The machine allows users to exchange bitcoins for cash and vice-versa.

The virtual currency has also been quickly adopted in China, where one exchange - BTC China - is said to be the most active globally.

Bitcoin's use in China has been attributed to it being an effective way of reliably getting money out of the country.

Various bitcoin exchanges have been set up around the world, with MTGox - one of the virtual currency's major exchanges - being the most prominent.

Mr Howells added: "I still believe in bitcoin. I believe its value is going to go much, much higher and it's still in its early days.

"As soon as access to bitcoin is opened up to the general public I think a lot more people will be using it, hence the price will increase further."

Comments

  • Saw Bitcoins available at around £3 2 years ago, thought they'd never catch on....kinda regretting that decision now.
  • Saw Bitcoins available at around £3 2 years ago, thought they'd never catch on....kinda regretting that decision now.

    It's crazy, my mate bought 4 then, now he's got 4 grand for next to nothing. Don't think he's cashed them though. I have a feeling they're going to explode. It was only a matter of time until we has a universal form of money on the internet. Won't be long until we'll have bitcoin millionaires and billionaires.
  • Lots of bitcoin millionaires already.

    Without sounding like two sheds, I've made a few quid on litecoins.

    Risky investment but the potential returns are huge.
  • Was thinking today that if only I hadn't sold all my Apple shares in 1999, I'd be a multi millionaire now. Why on earth did I push the "sell" button !
  • I made that last bit up ... if only eh?
  • Saw Bitcoins available at around £3 2 years ago, thought they'd never catch on....kinda regretting that decision now.
    It's crazy, my mate bought 4 then, now he's got 4 grand for next to nothing. Don't think he's cashed them though. I have a feeling they're going to explode. It was only a matter of time until we has a universal form of money on the internet. Won't be long until we'll have bitcoin millionaires and billionaires.
    the fuck didn't i buy some here. Idiot.
  • Nine years later ...  those bit coins mentioned in the opening post are now worth 175 million dollars.

    James Howells is fighting to secure permission from Newport’s city council to dig up the landfill and find the hard drive using a high-tech multimillion-dollar plan.

    If Howells wins over the city council, his audacious plan would be bankrolled by a pair of Swiss and German venture capitalists, Hanspeter Jaberg and Karl Wendeborn. The duo stands to make more than $50 million if the bitcoins are successfully recovered. 

    “It’s obviously a needle in the haystack, and it’s a very, very high-risk investment,” Jaberg told Insider. 

    In addition to paying off his investors, Howells would reportedly keep about 30% of the Bitcoin, give 30% to workers who helped recover it and give about $60 in bitcoin to each resident of Newport.

    https://nypost.com/2022/07/25/man-who-threw-out-175m-in-bitcoin-wants-robot-dogs-to-help-dig-it-up/

    Meanwhile retired council tip worker Dai Evans continues to jet between his New York loft apartment and his luxury Swiss Chalet in Verbier.  He said, "Life was very good to me at the tip, haven't even touched the pension pot yet " 
    If he's allowed the access and eventually finds it and it works that's an incredible story.

    But realistically trying to find something that was binned a decade ago is going to take months/years. Plus of course even if they do find it, it might be damaged.

    How sick would you be though, knowing you chucked away 175m?!!
  • This guy pops up all the time in news articles (wife is from Newport so we took an interest), the answer from the council is always, quite simply, "No" and sadly for this guy, I don't think that will change any time soon!

    What an amazing story though. It would mentally consume any person. 
  • Has anyone on CL done well out of Bitcoins?
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  • He needs to find it when Bitcoins roofed 
  • Has anyone on CL done well out of Bitcoins?
    i now work for a web3 company. The pay is significantly more than i was earning as a freelancer. So.. yes? I think @cafcpolo has made some bank from altcoins. 
  • Has anyone on CL done well out of Bitcoins?
    i now work for a web3 company. The pay is significantly more than i was earning as a freelancer. So.. yes? I think @cafcpolo has made some bank from altcoins. 
    Aye, all altcoins for me. Do have some bitcoin but that's just sat there and will be for another 10 years.

    Took out original investment and a small profit out a while back. Now just playing the waiting game in hope of some much bigger money. Probably around 600% up on original investment as it stands.
  • edited August 2
    Really would like Terra to bounce back now. :'(

    So chaps what are the big tips?
  • Dazzler21 said:
    Really would like Terra to bounce back now. :'(

    So chaps what are the big tips?
    I'd wait it out for now personally. However, I'm liking XCAD and EGLD at current prices, the latter may drop further over the next 6 months.
  • Dazzler21 said:
    Really would like Terra to bounce back now. :'(

    So chaps what are the big tips?
    terra is long dead. RIP
  • Dazzler21 said:
    Really would like Terra to bounce back now. :'(

    So chaps what are the big tips?
    terra is long dead. RIP
    Yeah I'll never drop it, though it has shown a minor step towards recovery. I have 50,000 of the buggers! 
  • The bloke in Newport wants to find something that doesn’t exist, probably driven by greed.
    Saudi money is based on oil, Chinese money is based on the effort of their manufacturing workforce.
    Cryptocurrency is supposedly based on mathematical stuff.
    Really it is based on gullibility and hope and faith.
    As a free gift to all lifers I give you this non fungicide token:

    1+2=3
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