Man who threw BRL 1 billion worth of Bitcoin in the trash wants to sue city

The history of James Howells is one of the most remembered and saddest in the universe of cryptocurrencies. In 2013, the Brit accidentally threw 8,000 bitcoins in the trash and has been trying to recover that fortune, now valued at over R$1 billion, ever since.

His wallet was on a computer hard drive (HD), with no other backup, and ended up in a landfill in Newsport, a small town in the UK, after the investor cleaned out his office.

His most recent plan included an investment of BRL 60 million and even robot dogs from Boston Dynamics. However, the city council never gave him permission to excavate the site in search of its treasure.

The Brit wants to sue the city council

Unsuccessful in the talks, James Howells’ legal team sent out an open letter last Monday (4), demanding Newsport City Council allow the investor to excavate the landfill site later this month. The information was published by De Telegraaf on Friday (8).

Another point mentioned in the report is that Howells is also seeking legal damages of USD 557 million (R$ 2.77 billion). The sum would equal the value of your bitcoins during the cryptocurrency’s biggest peak of $69,000 per unit.

“I tried everything I could for 10 years, but they wouldn’t cooperate, so now we have to go the legal way.”

“There’s $500 million buried and they’re not even willing to have a serious conversation about it.”Howells told the Telegraph. “It doesn’t matter what that item is, whether it’s Bitcoin, gold, diamonds, don’t even talk, it’s stupid.”

Elsewhere, Howells points out that the city council will have to spend about $20,000 an hour on the lawsuit to avoid digging a hole. “How can you explain this to Newport taxpayers in the current climate?”he added, while criticizing the city’s fiscal situation.

Howells’ various plans to get his bitcoins back

In July 2021, shortly after Bitcoin hit $64,000 in May, James Howells came up with a new plan to get his wallet back. The strategy would involve passing all of the site’s debris through x-ray until it finds the hard drive.

Without approval from the Council, the Briton became frustrated again, but he did not give up. In 2022, even with Bitcoin’s demise, he presented a new plan, involving robot dogs from Boston Dynamics and a pledge to donate roughly a portion of his bitcoins to all Newsport residents. His proposal was again rejected.

Another point to consider is the state of the hard drive (HD) on which the bitcoin wallet resides. It’s been 10 years already and it’s quite possible that the hardware has become so damaged that the wallet is no longer accessible.

The address, containing more than 8,000 bitcoins (R$1 billion), can be seen in any block explorer. According to records, his fortune was made between February and April 2009, when Bitcoin had no monetary value.

Address of James Howell's wallet containing the 8,000 bitcoins that ended up in the trash.  Source: Blockchair.
Address of James Howell’s wallet containing the 8,000 bitcoins that ended up in the trash. Source: Blockchair.

Source: Live Coins