An unlucky British man is regretting discarding an old laptop hard drive after realizing it contained over $7.5m worth of Bitcoins. James Howells, from South Wales, originally mined his 7,500 coins in 2009, when Bitcoins were worth a fraction of their current value.
After complaints from his girlfriend about the noise and heat coming from the laptop, Howells stopped mining new Bitcoins, and quickly forgot about the hoard after spilling lemonade over his Dell XPS N1710 in 2010.
The laptop was dismantled for parts and Howells discovered the old hard drive in summer this year, promptly throwing it away. He realized his mistake last week. “I’ve searched high and low,” he told the Guardian. “I’ve tried to retrieve files from all of my USB sticks, from all of my hard drives. I’ve tried everything just in case I had a backup file, or had copied it by accident. And … nothing.”
In an attempt to recover the drive, Howells has visited the local landfill site. “I had a word with one of the guys down there, explained the situation. And he actually took me out in his truck to where the landfill site is. He said something from three or four months ago would be about three or four feet down.”
Despite missing out on the fruits of his investment, Howells is mostly philosophical about the affair. “I’m at the point where it’s either laugh about it or cry about it,” he said. “Why aren’t I out there with a shovel now? I think I’m just resigned to never being able to find it. It’s my mistake throwing the hard drive out, at the end of the day.”
Imagine tossing out a duffle bag without realizing it had $7.5 million in cash stuffed in it. Except the duffle bag is your hard drive and your money is actually locked up in a highly volatile online currency that has to be “mined” with an expensive computer built expressly for that purpose and withdrawable only through an convoluted process involving a plane ticket to Toronto and Google Maps directions to a Bitcoin ATM with a daily $3k withdrawal limit.
With bitcoins worth a cool $1,000 per, it’s no wonder this guy is kicking himself.