James Howells from Newport in southern Wales threw away two hard drives the size of an iphone that had been hidden in a drawer since 2013. According to Mr. Howells, one of the drives contained $8000 bitcoins which would now be worth about $181 million.
Mr. Howells wants to organize a local high-tech treasure hunt for his buried bitcoin.
Howells, 36, is hoping local authorities will let him stage a high-tech treasure hunt for the buried bitcoins. His problem is that he can't get into the dump.
The city council in Newport has denied Mr. Howell’s request to dig in the dump for his hard drive. The city council’s reasons for denying the request is that it would be (1) expensive and (2) environmentally damaging.
But $181 million dollars is a lot of money to let stay in the dump and he is unwilling to let the city council’s constant no stop him. So Mr. Howell has obtained venture capital backing to search almost 110,000 tons of garbage. And Mr. Howell plans to present the city council with his new proposal so that he can recover his hard drive.
Digging through 110,000 tons of nasty garbage seems undoable, but Mr. Howell thinks it can be done using human sorters, robot dogs, and artificial intelligence powered machines that are trained to search for the hard drives on conveyer belt.
Mr. Howell is sure with venture capital backing, the city council will let him search the dump so he has created two search scenarios depending on how much of the landfill the council allows him to search.
The most extensive scenario would involve searching 100,000 metric tons of garbage at a cost of $11 million and that would take three years. The least extensive scenario search would cost $6 million and take less than 2 years.
This loss of Bitcoin has made searching for Bitcoin in the trash as a possible business model.
Mr. Howell has organized a charette of experts specialized in AI-powered sorting, landfill excavation, waste management, and data extraction, including an advisor who was responsible for recovering the data from the black box of the Columbia space shuttle.
These experts are contracted and would get paid bonuses when the bitcoin is successfully retrieved.
AI machines would dig through the garbage and humans along with a machine from a company called Max-AI, will sift through the garbage. Max-AI looks like a scanner set over a conveyor belt.
Nefarious people may always crash a well thought out a plan so Mr. Howells has included security costs into his plan because he fears people may attempt to dig up the hard drive for themselves.
Mr. Howell has also included 24-hour CCTV cameras as well as two robotic "Spot" dogs from Boston Dynamics into his budget. The Spot dogs would double in function as mobile CCTV patrols at night and sweep the area for hard drives by day.
Mr. Howell has been practicing his presentation to the city council. Mr. Howell’s team had a meeting in May at the Celtic Manor Resort to practice his pitch to the Newport city council. This meeting was filed by Richard Hammond who plans to release a YouTube documentary about Mr. Howells and his lost bitcoin hard drive.
After Mr. Howells complete the excavation, the garbage would be recycled and reburied. Mr. Howells said, "we do not want to damage the environment in any way, and if anything, we want to leave everything in a better condition."
The two venture capitalists, Hanspeter Jaberg and Karl Wendeborn, who are are based, respectively, in Switzerland and Germany, promised to provide $11 million to fund Mr. Howell’s project once Mr. Howell wins city council approval. But they understand the investment risk is high.
If Mr. Howells retrieves the hard drive and is able to get the bitcoin off them, he would keep 30% of the value —worth over $54 million and a third would go to his team, 30% to his investors, and the rest would go for local causes and to Newport residents.
If Mr. Howells don’t win city council approval, he may have to take the city council to court. His claim in court would be that the city council’s refusal to let him excavate acts as an “illegal embargo” on the hard drive.
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La Shon Y. Fleming Bruce a/k/a SHONSPEAKS is a blogger, certified brain health specialist, speaker, and lead creator of https://shonspeaks.org. I am also a lawyer and managing member of The Fleming-Bruce Law Firm, P.L.L.C. If you want to check out more of my writings that may not be released on this site, go over to my website at https://shonspeaks.org
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