Ever accidentally lose a dollar? Then you count what’s in your war chest, realise it’s a dollar short, and kick yourself for being careless? Well, a British IT worker knows what that feels like — except times 7.5 million.
James Howells did a really smart thing back in 2009 and started mining Bitcoin before anybody had ever heard of it. He managed to stockpile 7500 of the magic cryptocurrency before his girlfriend made him stop. (Evidently, she thought it “was getting too noisy.”) Based on today’s exchange rate of about $US1000 per Bitcoin, that stash is worth $US7.5 million.
Then, earlier this year, Howells did a really stupid thing and threw away the hard drive that contained the key he needed to access the small fortune he’d saved up. Actually, he did two stupid things. First, he spilled lemonade on his mining machine and sold it for scrap, which is why he took the hard drive out in the first place. Then he threw it in the trash. His $US7.5 million now rests under about four feet of mud and trash at the local landfill.
For all intents and purposes, the money is gone. Howells can’t afford to spend the money it would take to mobilise a team to dig through the landfill, and, even if he did, he probably wouldn’t find the hard drive anyway. “I’m at the point where it’s either laugh about it or cry about it,” Howells told The Guardian. “Why aren’t I out there with a shovel now? I think I’m just resigned to never being able to find it.” Consider it a buried sacrifice to the cryptocurrency gods. [Guardian]
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