Graphical representation of Bitcoin on a computer motherboard.

Newport Council refuse potential share of Bitcoin fortune

Newport City Council have refused another request to excavate one of their landfill sites in order to potentially retrieve £200m worth of Bitcoin from a hard drive, despite the owner of the alleged fortune offering to donate 25% of the fortune to the Council if it’s found.

James Howells, 35, accidentally sent his hard drive containing the Bitcoin to landfill back in 2013. Since then, the Council have repeatedly refused to comply with Howells requests citing economic and environmental reasons.

A spokeswoman for the Council said:

“Newport City Council has been contacted a number of times since 2014 about the possibility of retrieving a piece of IT hardware said to contain bitcoins.

“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.

“The council has also told Mr Howells on a number of occasions that excavation is not possible under our licensing permit and excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area. We have, therefore, been clear that we cannot assist him in this matter.”

Mr Howells claims that the project to get back the hard drive is being financed by a hedge fund company, with a good chance of success due to how the Council dealt with waste at the time that the hard drive was thrown away.

James Howells said:

“The way the landfill operated in 2013 was when a general waste bin was full, it was given a serial number, it was dragged off to the open pit and it was buried. It was also given a grid reference number.

“So if I could access the landfill records I could identify the week that I threw the hard drive away, I could identify the serial number of the bin that it was in, and then I could identify where the grid reference is located.”

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