Bloke who threw out £149m bitcoin fortune wants robot dogs to search landfill

A bitcoin millionaire is attempting to find a hard drive containing around £149 million of cryptocurrency in a landfill – using robot dogs.

James Howells, 36, made headlines when he accidentally chucked out his precious hard drive in 2013 while clearing out an office.

And he has been searching for it ever since.

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Last year, he reached out to Ontrack – a data company that once helped NASA – to help him find the cryptocurrency after he tossed the equipment out in Newport, Wales back in 2013.

The company were previously hired by NASA to recover an important hard drive from the Columbia space shuttle after it plunged to Earth in 2003.

And despite the hard drive being located in a dried-up lake bed six months after the crash, the Minneapolis company were able to recover 99% of the data.

Ontrack believed there was an 80% to 90% chance James’ huge Bitcoin fortune can be recovered – if the hard drive wasn’t cracked.

But council bosses have so far refused James permission to search the rubbish tip for the missing computer parts – despite him offering them a quarter of any fortune found.

And now he is pleading with them to allow him to use robot dogs powered by AI to find the precious drive.

He said: “This is the most professional operation we've put together, and we've got all the best people involved.”

However, Newport Council will not budge once again on allowing James access.

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A spokesman said: "The cost of digging up the landfill, storing and treating the waste could run into millions of pounds – without any guarantee of either finding it or it still being in working order.

“Even if we were able to agree to his request, there is the question of who would meet the cost if the hard drive was not found or was damaged to such an extent that the data could not be recovered.

“We have, therefore, been clear that we cannot assist him in this matter.”

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