Man throws bitcoin hard drive into landfill worth $7.2mn

wales-garbage.siA computer programmer from South Wales has accidentally thrown a digital wallet with 7,500 bitcoins into landfill. Now the hard drive worth $7.2million is buried four feet down.

“You know when you put something in the bin, and in your head, say to yourself ‘that’s a bad idea’? I really did have that,” James Howells, who has literary thrown out a fortune in bitcoins, told the Guardian.

This summer he was clearing up his desk and discovered the hard drive from a long-broken Dell laptop. He thought it was rubbish and threw the drive into the Docksway landfill site near Newport, Wales.

Only last Friday he realized that the drive contained nearly 7,500 bitcoins, worth around $6.75 million. Recently, bitcoins saw a slight rise and now the current price of the digital wallet would be $7.2 million.

Howells ‘mined’ the bitcoins back in 2009, when the currency cost almost nothing and was known only in narrow tech circles. At that time, it was rather easy to generate digital currency by computing it. Now the same operation requires high-cost computing power.

He had been running the program on his laptop for a week but then stopped after his girlfriend complained about the laptop being “too noisy” as it was actually performing the programs needed to create new bitcoins.

In 2010, Howells’ Dell broke after he accidentally poured lemonade on it. The dismantled parts were thrown away or sold. But he still kept the hard drive for three years until this summer clean-up which cost him a fortune. In fact, Howells hadn’t paid much attention to the bitcoin rate.

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