Eight years ago, a UK programmer tried desperately to retrieve his hard drive that contained a password for a digital wallet. A company who helped NASA retrieve data from the exploded space shuttle is currently in contact with him.
James Howells of South Wales was a bitcoin miner at a time when cryptocurrency cost little and was only known in small tech circles. He managed to accumulate some 7,500 bitcoins – now worth more than $350 million.
The secret cryptographic key that granted access to Bitcoins was stored on a hard disk. It was then accidentally thrown in the Docksway dump site, near Newport, Wales. This man believed that his device, which was from an old computer, contained only rubbish.
After realizing his error, he tried digging through the garbage tip but failed. He estimates that the hard drive covers a space of 200 meters squared. The trash is at a depth of 15 metres. Howells even offered to pay a quarter to the council responsible for the area. Howells set up a fund for bitcoin recovery to help him in his search for dirty treasure.
According to British media, a data recovery company that NASA has previously employed is eager to assist Howells. Ontrack from Minneapolis was able to retrieve the hard drive of the Columbia spacecraft’s crashed Columbia in 2003, even though it had been found several months later.
“They were able to recover from a shuttle that exploded and they don’t seem to think that being at a landfill will be a problem,”This week, Howells spoke to The Sun.
The council is concerned that the excavation may prove costly and will not grant the permission of the man to go into the landfill. “have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area.”
Numerous empirical analyses of blockchain transactions have shown that bitcoin hoarders who had accumulated billions in bitcoins over time lost their records forever. Chainalysis, an analysis firm that analyzes blockchain transactions found that bitcoin wallet passwords with between 2.78 million to 3.79 million bitcoins are unlikely to be recovered.