Enter the terms man throws away bitcoin wish to search for. 10,000 on Wednesday, many in the cryptocurrency community celebrated the milestone. But for one man in Wales, bitcoin’s boom has a taken on a very different significance.
The hard drive now sits buried beneath trash in a landfill site near his home in Newport, Wales. 108 million at the time of writing, if other cryptocurrencies on the hard drive are also taken into account. I always knew this was going to happen. In my opinion, bitcoin hasn’t had its Facebook moment yet. Imagine the price when it does.
Howells first mined the bitcoins—a process of using computing power to confirm bitcoin transactions on bitcoin’s public ledger, the blockchain, in order to generate new units of the currency—on a Dell laptop in February 2009. The following year, he disassembled the computer into parts and stored the hard drive in a drawer at his home. It remained there until 2013, when he mistakenly threw it into a general waste bin at his local landfill site. More than four years of trash have since been dumped on top of the hard drive, meaning any salvage operation would be both costly and time-consuming. Despite making several requests to the local council, Howells has yet to be granted permission to look for the missing treasure. As long as the price continues to rise, which due to the math involved I think it will, then my chances become greater and greater, because at some point the local council must give me a shot at searching because it will be valued so high. 78 million bitcoins have been lost since the cryptocurrency was created in 2009.