James Howells, a Bitcoin enthusiast who lost 7,500 bitcoins (BTC) at a landfill in South Wales, is preparing to file a lawsuit against the city council there for obstructing his efforts to locate the hard drive that went missing in 2013. After 10 hard years of conflict with Newport City Council, this former IT specialist, now 38, organized a 16-person team to help recover the disk, which is now worth $194 million.

Howells’ Legal Team Gives Newport City Council New Demands

According to a Telegraph article, James Howells is preparing to file a lawsuit against the South Wales city council after it refused to give his team permission to find a hard drive he believes is buried beneath the waste. A hard disk containing 7,500 of Howells’ bitcoins, which are now worth $194 million according to today’s BTC exchange rates, accidentally ended up in a landfill a number of years ago.

The legal team for Howells requests digging rights by September 18 in a letter sent to the Newport City Council on September 4. Howells is adamantly pursuing a legal review of the council’s decision to deny him access to the landfill. Howells said to Madeleine Ross of the Telegraph:

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After ten years of trying everything I know how to do, they still refused to cooperate, so now we must take legal action. Whatever the thing may be—bitcoin, gold, or diamonds—it is stupid not to even bring it up in discussion.

Howells and the city have been at odds for a long time. He first presented them with an alluring offer in January 2021: 25% of the BTC’s worth in exchange for their permission to dig up the hard drive. But that suggestion was ignored.

While the Odds of Recovery Are Slim, Recouping a 2013 Hard Drive Is Not Entirely out of the Realm of Possibility

The best-case scenario for a hard disk sitting in a landfill for ten years depends on a number of fortunate circumstances. First, if the hard drive was lucky enough to be enclosed in a cover or sealed bag when thrown away, limiting exposure to the corrosive elements of the landfill,

The device may have also retained some of its functionality if it fell into a location with little moisture and chemical seepage and wasn’t exposed to high pressures or temperatures. The recovery of the hard drive’s data is still difficult, even if it was found in quite good physical shape. Modern data recovery labs have state-of-the-art methodologies and tools thanks to technological advances since 2013.

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In the event that hardware components begin to degrade, professionals may still be able to carefully replace or repair them, increasing the likelihood that the stored data can be successfully recovered. Although the odds are long, it’s not completely impossible if all the right circumstances and skills come together.


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