James Howells, a 38-year-old engineer from Newport, Wales, has sued the Newport City Council in a last-ditch effort to retrieve 8,000 Bitcoins that he unintentionally lost in 2013. Howells is now requesting the council’s help in finding the misplaced money worth millions of pounds and has long fascinated and frustrated the cryptocurrency community.
Howells unintentionally lost a hard disk containing the private keys to his Bitcoin holdings almost ten years ago. The hard disk was relatively inexpensive, and Bitcoin was yet to be as well known as it is today. However, as Bitcoin’s value increased over time, the information on the abandoned hard drive became more precious and is now thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds.
Motivated by the possibility of getting back his lost money, Mr. Howells has filed a legal complaint against the Newport City Council, requesting that they allow him access to the landfill where he thinks the hard drive is hidden. Howells claims that he wants the council to search for the discarded hard drive by September 18, 2023.
A spokesman for the Newport City Council said that Mr. Howells had gotten in touch with them frequently starting in 2013 to ask for help retrieving the hard drive. The council has delayed taking action until now due to worries about the environmental effects of excavating the dump site and probable legal and logistical difficulties.
Howells Organizes 16-Man Team; Council Gives Reasons For Non-Approval
Howells has assembled a 16-person team with knowledge of landfill excavation and cryptocurrency recovery. This group will collaborate with any support the Newport City Council is prepared to offer. Howells thinks there is a chance to locate the hard drive and get access to his stolen Bitcoins with the council’s help.
Mr. Howells has complained bitterly about the council’s refusal, cursing that he doesn’t “understand why they have refused to discuss the matter while there is $500 million buried beneath the ground.” Howells also went ahead to call the local council’s response “idiotic.”
One of the analysts, Anna Kharitonova from Crypto.News said that the verdict in this lawsuit may establish a standard for how regional law enforcement agencies approach situations involving lost or stolen bitcoins. Important considerations are also raised regarding the role of local governments in helping people retrieve their digital assets.
The Newport City Council spokesman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told journalists that the council has officially informed Mr. Howells more than once that an excavation won’t be possible at the current environmental approval. The spokesman also added that adverse environmental factors could pose a huge challenge to the entire process. Meanwhile, Mr. Howells is demanding a $558 million compensation from the council. Nu
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