Bitcoin blues: Welsh IT worker accidentally threw away laptop containing $100m crypto-currency stash

 
Oliver Gill
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Landfill Sites In The South Are In Danger Of Running Out Of Space
The unlucky Welshman thinks his Bitcoin codes are buried in a South Wales landfill site (Source: Getty)

One unfortunate Brit may be watching bitcoin's charge towards the $12,000 barrier with a sinking feeling after throwing out a laptop with an estimated $100m (£74m) of the crypto-currency locked in it.

Welsh IT worker James Howells was an early bitcoin investor. But four years ago he threw out his old computer that had the ownership codes to 7,500 bitcoins.

Howells' mistake was costly enough at the time, with him losing around $700,000. But with the surge in bitcoin, the value he now estimates his stake would be worth around $100m.

The 32-year-old said he first started mining bitcoin on his Dell laptop in February 2009.

Read more: Bitcoin swings to a fresh record high nearing $12,000

"After I had stopped mining, the laptop I had used was broken into parts and sold on eBay," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"However, I kept the hard drive in a drawer at home knowing it contained my bitcoin private keys, so that if bitcoin did become valuable one day I would still have the coins I had mined.

In mid-2013 during a clear-out, the hard drive - then worth a few hundred thousand pounds - was mistakenly thrown out and put into a general waste bin at my local landfill site, after which it was buried on site.

Howells said he thinks the computer may be located in the Docks Way landfill site in Newport, South Wales.

Read more: Bitcoin faces tighter UK regulation under money laundering plans

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