Man Throws Away $7.2 Million Bitcoin Stash, Now Buried In Landfill

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Man Throws Away $7.2 Million Bitcoin Stash, Now Buried In Landfill

image

It's four foot down under a mountain of crap. He's never seeing that hard drive again.

Have you ever had that moment when you're about to do something, and there's something in the back of your mind screaming "no! NO! DON'T!' Welshman James Howells had a moment just like that back in July, when he decided to throw out an old hard drive he no longer needed. Later he wondered, was that the hard drive that had my digital Bitcoin wallet key? The one with 7,500 Bitcoins I mined back in 2009, when it was easy to do and they weren't worth much? It was. Guess where it is now? Gone forever, that's where it is now.

Theoretically it could be recovered from the landfill where it ended up. It's about 3 or 4 feet down, in a space as big as a football field, under a layer of every single other thing people threw in the garbage since July. "Even for the police to find something, they need a team of 15 guys, two diggers, and all the personal protection equipment," says Howells. "So for me to fund that, it's not possible without the guarantee of money at the end."

Bitcoins are currently worth something in the region of $971 per coin. Howell's hoard would be about $7,282,500, give or take a couple of zeroes. The hard drive contained the encrypted private key needed to access his wallet and spend the Bitcoins, and he didn't keep a backup.

"I've searched high and low," he says. "I've tried to retrieve files from all of my USB sticks, from all of my hard drives. I've tried everything just in case I had a backup file, or had copied it by accident. And ... nothing."

He's resigned to not getting his Bitcoins back. Before you set off, shovel in hand, his local council has already said it isn't letting treasure hunters crawl all over its garbage. If it was easily retrieved, that would be different, but four foot down somewhere in a space the size of a football field is nobody's definition of easy. Besides, there's no guarantee the drive is readable, after the hard treatment it must have had.

Easy come, easy go. Let this be a lesson to us all: back up. Back up as if you life, or your fortune, depended on it.

Source: Guardian

Permalink

Well, I suppose now mining for bitcoins could require actual mining.

I think today's lesson would be: Always be careful when money is involved. Either that or "don't waste". The latter certainly holds a certain eco-protection ring to it too.

On a side note, who throws away a hard drive without making sure all the sensitive stuff is copied to another drive? Maybe I am just obsessive but I always end up copying way too much from my old drives whenever I change them.

Who throws away a hard drive? As much space as you have, you will always need more.

And even if you do throw one away, who throws it away without a full format?

At first I thought he was an idiot for binning $7.2 mil but then I realised he's a moron for not wiping his HDD before binning it. Or better yet, placing a nail and a hammer through it.

To who ever finds it, don't give it back.

I'll bet he feels like a massive dolt right about now.

SourMilk:
To who ever finds it, don't give it back.

Mechanical HDD's aren't exactly sturdy, I doubt it's still operational after all that time on the dump.

thiosk:
Well, I suppose now mining for bitcoins could require actual mining.

LOL. I feel bad for the guy. He'll be hearing jokes like this for awhile.

Aren't "bitcoins" just another word for "credits"?

Cid SilverWing:
Aren't "bitcoins" just another word for "credits"?

The thing is, once you lose access to your bitcoins, they are forever lost. No one will ever be able to claim them. They're gone for good.

Nuxxy:
Who throws away a hard drive? As much space as you have, you will always need more.

And even if you do throw one away, who throws it away without a full format?

Also, who puts electronics in with the house trash?

Aaaaand this is why the bitcoin will never catch on. Seriously though, throwing away a hard drive, no full format, and in house trash? The man's a fool.

This hurts my soul. The draining feeling of even potentially ruining something like that makes me anxious.

As if bitcoins hadn't been proven to be a stupid enough idea already. Still, who chucks a hard drive without checking what's on it first? I replaced my hard drive four years ago when it started showing signs of failure, and guess what? It's still sitting in my closet in case I suddenly remember something that I never copied from it, or deleted and changed my mind about. I'm not chucking it until it's completely unusable or I have enough space to back up its entire contents; I've thrown out too many things in my life that I've later regretted not saving.

Isn't this essentially like opening your wallet and dumping all your money in a furnace?

Steve the Pocket:
As if bitcoins hadn't been proven to be a stupid enough idea already.

Exactly. I find it very hard to feel sorry for this guy when what he lost was an imaginary pile of autism kroner. It cost him nothing besides some CPU cycles and some electricity to generate them in the first place, and the only reason they are "worth" that much is raw, blind speculation. Even if they were recoverable, would he be able to find enough buyers to convert all of them into a currency that is backed by something more tangible than the word of a bunch shady libertarian internet people? Remember kids, a currency's market value is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it, which in bitcoin's case has proven to be wildly variable and prone to crashes.

"They're gonna kill that poor hard drive, man!"

Ah well, you know what they say...

More excuses for people to spread Bitcoin propaganda. Other than the Bitcoin Mining code being snuck into competitive play this stuff isn't game related. So why is a Gaming Website hocking this kind of story? To sucker more people in. Bitbulbs 2.0 mania is getting out of hand.

All this is Tulip Mania and this article is no different then the spam people send out to get more people into whatever pyramid scam that has suckered them.

What's going to happen is this latest Surge is going to Crash some time in December.
The next surge will happen 3 months later followed by a crash.
The next 1 month later followed by a crash.
Then a week later so the Crash won't look as much as a crash but leveling out.
Then a day later.
Then a min later
Then an infinite number of surges on that single day causing a Finite-Time Singularity.
Then Tulip Bulb 2.0 crash and burn.

Enjoy the ensuing depression.

Grab a shovel boys. We are going treasure digging!

Next week's headline!

James Howells commits suicide - neighbours mourn loss of 'drooling idiot'.

McGuinty1:

Steve the Pocket:
As if bitcoins hadn't been proven to be a stupid enough idea already.

Exactly. I find it very hard to feel sorry for this guy when what he lost was an imaginary pile of autism kroner. It cost him nothing besides some CPU cycles and some electricity to generate them in the first place, and the only reason they are "worth" that much is raw, blind speculation. Even if they were recoverable, would he be able to find enough buyers to convert all of them into a currency that is backed by something more tangible than the word of a bunch shady libertarian internet people? Remember kids, a currency's market value is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it, which in bitcoin's case has proven to be wildly variable and prone to crashes.

Plus the only things my friends use them on are cocaine and firearms. Probably not the best combo ever...

*sniff*Sniff*

Smells like a bogus story to me. For starters who removes a HD from a PC without copying the contents to a new harddrive... who does that? Even My granny knows enough to not do that. This reeks of a planted story; a pr stunt. Noticewhile they never mention where the landfil is and the specifics of the where and when, they are very big on point out how much his virtual money was supposedly worth, assuming someone were to actually pay real world dollars for it.

Snazzy PR move Bitcoin, but not very plausible.

SourMilk:
At first I thought he was an idiot for binning $7.2 mil but then I realised he's a moron for not wiping his HDD before binning it. Or better yet, placing a nail and a hammer through it.

Thank you for saying this so that I didn't have to. A fool and his (virtual) money are soon parted.

This is one of those things that finally makes me feel old. Like my grandmother fifteen years or so ago when I tried to explain the internet to her.

Bitcoins. I still don't really get it.

Chaosritter:

SourMilk:
To who ever finds it, don't give it back.

Mechanical HDD's aren't exactly sturdy, I doubt it's still operational after all that time on the dump.

Irrelevant.

Data recovery systems are so advanced today that there's chance you can recover data from a partial piece of the platter. A major dent would be a piss easy job.

The Rogue Wolf:

SourMilk:
At first I thought he was an idiot for binning $7.2 mil but then I realised he's a moron for not wiping his HDD before binning it. Or better yet, placing a nail and a hammer through it.

Thank you for saying this so that I didn't have to. A fool and his (virtual) money are soon parted.

It's digital money.

BigTuk:
virtual money

Snazzy PR move Bitcoin, but not very plausible.

Digital money. If it's fake show it's fake. Until then you're as bad or worse because at least this comes from a somewhat legitimate news source.

Adam Jensen:

Cid SilverWing:
Aren't "bitcoins" just another word for "credits"?

The thing is, once you lose access to your bitcoins, they are forever lost. No one will ever be able to claim them. They're gone for good.

Essentially yes, but it should be noted that it is trivial to create a Brainwallet (make it good!) or just print a paper wallet QR code. All you need to claim your coins is the private key to match the public key which owns the coins, and an updated blockchain (20 gigs?). You don't even need the blockchain if you use a web based wallet where the Bitcoin daemon runs remotely.

medv4380:
More excuses for people to spread Bitcoin propaganda. Other than the Bitcoin Mining code being snuck into competitive play this stuff isn't game related. So why is a Gaming Website hocking this kind of story? To sucker more people in. Bitbulbs 2.0 mania is getting out of hand.

All this is Tulip Mania and this article is no different then the spam people send out to get more people into whatever pyramid scam that has suckered them.

What's going to happen is this latest Surge is going to Crash some time in December.
The next surge will happen 3 months later followed by a crash.
The next 1 month later followed by a crash.
Then a week later so the Crash won't look as much as a crash but leveling out.
Then a day later.
Then a min later
Then an infinite number of surges on that single day causing a Finite-Time Singularity.
Then Tulip Bulb 2.0 crash and burn.

Enjoy the ensuing depression.

I'm guessing you got burned at some point by not being smart with your money. Day trading accounts for maybe 30% of the movement of cryptocoins. Truth is, more crypto is used as a currency than fiat currencies now. Most fiat exists in the form of debt (more than half of it actually). Similarly, less than 5% of crypto is estimated to be used for illegal purposes these days. That's actually lower than the % of US dollars used for illegal things.

Crypto are not stocks, they are currency, more so than most purported currencies.

McGuinty1:

Steve the Pocket:
As if bitcoins hadn't been proven to be a stupid enough idea already.

Exactly. I find it very hard to feel sorry for this guy when what he lost was an imaginary pile of autism kroner. It cost him nothing besides some CPU cycles and some electricity to generate them in the first place, and the only reason they are "worth" that much is raw, blind speculation. Even if they were recoverable, would he be able to find enough buyers to convert all of them into a currency that is backed by something more tangible than the word of a bunch shady libertarian internet people? Remember kids, a currency's market value is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it, which in bitcoin's case has proven to be wildly variable and prone to crashes.

Good job missing every facet of the cryptocurrency invention. Cryptocurrencies are highly experimental. They're less than 4 years old at this point, younger than that if you figure hardly anyone knew what the hell Bitcoins were in 2009.

Your libertarian point doesn't exactly pan out when so many of the cryptocurrency supporters are leftists, in Europe and Japan extremely left actually.

As fewer and fewer people treat cryptocurrencies as stocks the prices stabilize.

Don't be mad that your fiats are always inflating. At least with Bitcoin I have a miniscule CHANCE at an increase in value.

Who the hell throws away hard drives?
And even then, what moron you need to be to throw electronics into regular garbage bin.

Also im sure there will be more than 15 policemen digging for it now once the news have spread. after all there are hundreds of homeless peopel donig it already to begin with.

medv4380:
More excuses for people to spread Bitcoin propaganda. Other than the Bitcoin Mining code being snuck into competitive play this stuff isn't game related. So why is a Gaming Website hocking this kind of story? To sucker more people in. Bitbulbs 2.0 mania is getting out of hand.

All this is Tulip Mania and this article is no different then the spam people send out to get more people into whatever pyramid scam that has suckered them.

What's going to happen is this latest Surge is going to Crash some time in December.
The next surge will happen 3 months later followed by a crash.
The next 1 month later followed by a crash.
Then a week later so the Crash won't look as much as a crash but leveling out.
Then a day later.
Then a min later
Then an infinite number of surges on that single day causing a Finite-Time Singularity.
Then Tulip Bulb 2.0 crash and burn.

Enjoy the ensuing depression.

id be careful with such predictions. We said the same about bitcoins 2 years ago. we said the same about gold 2 years before it crashed. yet people seems to be more gullible than ever now.
Also i kinda regret hopnig for a crash and not buying those bitcoins back in 2011, i could have turned my savings into 5x higher amount now. oh well.

Chaosritter:

SourMilk:
To who ever finds it, don't give it back.

Mechanical HDD's aren't exactly sturdy, I doubt it's still operational after all that time on the dump.

doesnt need to be operational, only needs to be possible to extract the data from the disc tape.

McGuinty1:
It cost him nothing besides some CPU cycles and some electricity to generate them in the first place, and the only reason they are "worth" that much is raw, blind speculation. Even if they were recoverable, would he be able to find enough buyers to convert all of them into a currency that is backed by something more tangible than the word of a bunch shady libertarian internet people? Remember kids, a currency's market value is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it, which in bitcoin's case has proven to be wildly variable and prone to crashes.

Maybe we shouldnt pay for computers either because all it takes is some assembly tie and electricity right?
We have no currencies backed in something nowadays. Gold standart is dead. and for good reason. Its just that people trust government promises of liquidity more than internet mining conference promises. but both of those are still grounded on promises only.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Plus the only things my friends use them on are cocaine and firearms. Probably not the best combo ever...

The whole point of bitcoin is unregulated, untraceable currency. Yes it can be used for shady things, though research ahs sohwn that surprisingly that is not used for it more than actual cash.

AgentNein:
This is one of those things that finally makes me feel old. Like my grandmother fifteen years or so ago when I tried to explain the internet to her.

Bitcoins. I still don't really get it.

its not hard. you do calcualtions (password cracking?) on your GPU (lets face it, GPU does much more than CPU now, and AMD ones are much more applicable for bitcoin algorythms) and you get paid for it. Except that instead of regular money you get paid bitcoins, which you can cash in in certain sites or pay for services. Sort of like any other currency, except this one is unregulated and highly unstable.

Caramel Frappe:
I feel bad for the guy, that everyone's getting on him and calling the dude an 'idiot'. We all make mistakes.

We all make mistakes, but throwing a hdd into a regular bin without checking whats inside or wiping it? no, we dont.

Caramel Frappe:

How would he know that a hard drive would be worth more money then whatever the average bear could afford in his/her life?

By looking whats inside the hard drive?

Sheesh it hurts me bad enough not getting into bitcoins when it started because it sounded so massively idiotic and unregulated I laughed at it and carried on with my day. This poor guy though, if I was him I'd be... in a pretty bad way. That'll haunt you forever.

juchmis:

The Rogue Wolf:

SourMilk:
At first I thought he was an idiot for binning $7.2 mil but then I realised he's a moron for not wiping his HDD before binning it. Or better yet, placing a nail and a hammer through it.

Thank you for saying this so that I didn't have to. A fool and his (virtual) money are soon parted.

It's digital money.

BigTuk:
virtual money

Snazzy PR move Bitcoin, but not very plausible.

Digital money. If it's fake show it's fake. Until then you're as bad or worse because at least this comes from a somewhat legitimate news source.

That's not how proof works sonny. What this reliable news source has essentially put out is a story about a man who threw out a HD that may or may not have ever existed, that contained data that he may or maynot have ever had, with a value that can be best described as nebulous.

That's not unlike the 'I have a girl friend, honest, she's in canada and we've totally had sex.'

Oh sure you can never disprove the existence of the girl friend, but you know the guy's talking out his ass. Let's compare his reaction. If someone threw out something that actually had a $1mil+ value... fuck he'd be digging through that landfill by hand..most sane people would. A million can buy you all the tetanus and rabies shots you'll ever need.

But he seems rather 'Meh' about it. And then there's the points I mentioned before... who removes a HD from their PC without copying data over, also who tells a story like that to the media. 'I'm such an idiot, let me tell you about this stupid thing I did. Now I can't offer any proof since the HD is buried, and I don't have the receipt to prove I ever had it, but it totally had information worth a million dollars that I never bothered to back up."

More likely Bitcoin paid the man to fabricate the unprovable story just to get some press coverage.

And respectable new sources have published crap and misinformation before just because it'd make a good headline and sell papers or get clicks.

Strazdas:
And even then, what moron you need to be to throw electronics into regular garbage bin.

Uh, like 90% of all Americans, at least. We can't even be assed to recycle our pop bottles, let alone our biohazardous electronics.

Strazdas:
its not hard. you do calcualtions (password cracking?) on your GPU (lets face it, GPU does much more than CPU now, and AMD ones are much more applicable for bitcoin algorythms) and you get paid for it. Except that instead of regular money you get paid bitcoins, which you can cash in in certain sites or pay for services. Sort of like any other currency, except this one is unregulated and highly unstable.

So basically you make this money by being part of a hackers' botnet? As if this weren't shady enough already.

I'm always amused when bitcoin supporters throw around the statement that less bitcoin is used in illicit transactions than actual money. Could this perhaps be that bitcoin is nowhere near as prevalent as real money? Or is it simply the fact that most drug lords and international arms dealers wont accept bitcoin? Also trying to change bitcoin into something you could actually spend is where you could get caught easily (especially if we are talking about the revenue of a large criminal enterprise) so the sheer overall uselessness of the currency itself protects it from being used illicitly.

its hidden somewhere deep in the Grand Line.

thus the age of hardware pirates started...

Caramel Frappe:
I feel bad for the guy, that everyone's getting on him and calling the dude an 'idiot'. We all make mistakes.

How would he know that a hard drive would be worth more money then whatever the average bear could afford in his/her life? I've deleted/thrown away things I later regretted in doing so. It was the fact that I felt it no longer had importance, but life came around and showed me to keep everything in a safe place... even if it seems like a waste of time or space.

Still, hope he gets something out of this. Feeling the regret of losing seven million has got to be a major, major trip of anxiety, guilt, and so much more. Couldn't imagine being in that man's shoes right now.

and now imagine the goverment persecuting him for false income statements and Tax evasion...
image

BigTuk:

That's not how proof works sonny.

Um, yes it is.

Randomly suggesting conspiracies for plausible stories is how crazy works.

The immense and so obvious that it's difficult to be kind about it difference between this and "girlfriend in Canada" is that losing $7M doesn't in any way come across as an attempt to be cool.

Steve the Pocket:

Strazdas:
And even then, what moron you need to be to throw electronics into regular garbage bin.

Uh, like 90% of all Americans, at least. We can't even be assed to recycle our pop bottles, let alone our biohazardous electronics.

Strazdas:
its not hard. you do calcualtions (password cracking?) on your GPU (lets face it, GPU does much more than CPU now, and AMD ones are much more applicable for bitcoin algorythms) and you get paid for it. Except that instead of regular money you get paid bitcoins, which you can cash in in certain sites or pay for services. Sort of like any other currency, except this one is unregulated and highly unstable.

So basically you make this money by being part of a hackers' botnet? As if this weren't shady enough already.

Very sad then, our recycling containers are always full (its hard to use them because so so many people do that emptying them twice a week isnt fast enough) and we got containers (like shipping containers) for electronics, and if its soemthing heavier all you need is to call and they will pick it up for free and some even pay (admitedly very small) fee based on weight. Thats because recycling is a very profitable business.

Well not necessarely that shady. password cracking was just a guess as we dont actually know what the calculations are used for. However we can assume there isnt much of a choice where a single block of calculation is so hard that it would take machines specifically designed for this half a month to crack. Also the gradual difficulty increase with password security increase in the world is a correlation (not causation, but possible theory). For all we know we could be curing cancer with the mining too, but thats doubtful.
The currency itself is not really that shady at all. Its actually quite open, just unregulated and untracable.

Nuxxy:
Who throws away a hard drive? As much space as you have, you will always need more.

And even if you do throw one away, who throws it away without a full format?

The same type of retarded fuckwit who throws away toxic materials into general rubbish containers.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here