In 2013, James Howells, a 36-year-old, unintentionally threw away his hard drive that stored 8,000 bitcoins now worth $180 million.
It has been almost ten years since Howells started fighting with Newport’s city council to obtain permission to dig for his hard drive, and he has refused to give up on his quest to lay his hands on the digital wealth once again. He hopes to persuade the council with a new $11m deal to search up to 110,000 tons of garbage.
James Howells has two plans depending on how much garbage he would be allowed to search. The most extensive option would involve scouring 100,000 metric tons in three years at $11 million. The more expensive option would cost $6 million and take 18 months.
Howells has assembled a team of eight experts, including specialists in AI-powered sorting, landfill excavation, waste management, and data extraction.
According to his plan, machines would dig up the garbage, and the AI algorithm trained to spot hard drives would sort out resembling objects. In addition, two Boston Dynamics robot dogs would patrol the site at night to fish out potential treasure hunters.
At the end of the search, all garbage would be cleaned and recycled as much as possible. The rest would be reburied.
“We do not want to damage the environment in any way; if anything, we want to leave everything in a better condition,” Howells told BI journalist.