James Howells, a Brit who in 2013 mistakenly threw away a hard drive containing about 7,500 bitcoins, has reportedly begun looking into ways robots and humans could work together to retrieve his cryptocurrency from a local dump.

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According to Business Insider Sunday, Howells broken an $11 million idea to find and recover a lost hard drive that could be surrounded by an estimated 110,000 tons of trash. The proposal, backed by several venture capitalists, called for humans, robot dogs and other machines to collect and sort garbage from a landfill for three years until the lost bitcoin (BTC) is found. will cost $6 million and take 18 months.

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Many crypto users know Howells’ actions as a telling story about the importance of keeping track of their coins, whether by securely storing private keys or a physical hardware wallet. A Brit threw away a BTC hard drive in 2013 thinking it was empty, only to realize a few months later that he could potentially lose millions of dollars of cryptocurrency.

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Newport City Council, the government body responsible for overseeing operations at a landfill allegedly containing a lost BTC hard drive, has reportedly rejected Howells’ previous attempts to recover the device. A report from January 2021, when the price of BTC was over $30,000, said that it had offered the city up to 25% of the value of the lost BTC as a donation due to rising costs due to the pandemic, but has still not been able to search.

“There is nothing that Mr. Howells could present to us. [for approval]”His proposals represent a significant environmental risk that we cannot accept and indeed cannot consider under the terms of our permit.”

At the time of publication, 7500 BTC was worth approximately $163 million amid volatility in the cryptocurrency market. Howells’ plan, if approved and successfully implemented, will reportedly allow him to keep roughly 30% of bitcoin, while the remainder will go to the recovery team, investors, and Newport’s 150,000 residents – roughly $60 each for members of the latter group.

“If we can get the coins back, I made a promise to the people of Newport to literally give people the Newport cryptocurrency directly.” said Howells in an interview with journalist Richard Hammond. “I could spend the rest of my life working during the day and never get close to anything of value that’s on that hard drive.”

James Howells presents his plan to find his hard drive with 7500 BTC. Source: What’s next?

Howells planned to speak to the council in the coming weeks. If the participants reject the plan, the bitcoiner reportedly said he could use a legal avenue to force the dump to be searched, claiming that the cryptocurrency on his hard drive was under an illegal embargo.

A lost bitcoin may be a “donation”, but does it interfere with acceptance?

Some experts have made a name for themselves in the cryptosphere by finding millions of dollars worth of lost or forgotten coins. In August 2021, the KeychainX wallet recovery service reported that it had gained access to a six-year-old wallet containing 10 million Dogecoin (DOGE), worth approximately $3 million at the time. Joe Grand, a computer engineer and hardware cracker, also recovered more than $2 million from a Trezor One hardware wallet in January.