Man Searches Through Landfill for Hard Drive with $7.5 Million in Bitcoins That He Threw Away in 2009

James Howell’s old hard drive was gathering dust in a drawer when he decided to throw it out in 2009. He didn’t even think twice about the 7,500 Bitcoins that were saved on  the hard drive- he had got them for almost nothing and couldn’t imagine that the digital currency would take off.

But when the value of an individual Bitcoin topped $1000 for the first time earlier this week, Howell realized his hard drive was worth $7.5 million, and decided to go to the landfill to see if he could locate it.

The manager there told him things thrown away a few months ago would probably be under a layer of five to six feet of trash, and suggested Howell get a large-scale search team like the ones used by police searching for investigation (Howell said he doesn’t have the money for that right now).

Bitcoin’s value has increased by 400% in less than a month. Bitcoin is not backed by any physical assets and isn’t run by any person or group. Rather, its value depends wholly on how much people are willing to exchange for them. The “coins” are encrypted, allowing users total anonymity when making transactions.

Value of Bitcoin Last 12 Months (click to enlarge)


Earlier this month, Congress held a hearing on virtual currencies (Bitcoin is by far the largest). Although some officials are concerned about the widespread use of Bitcoins for illegal activity, such as purchases on the online narcotics supermarket Silk Road, but Jinyoung Lee Englund, spokeswoman for the Bitcoin Foundation in Washington, says,

“It isn’t just the bitcoin community saying that bitcoin is used for good things and there’s a lot of great potential. We have members of Congress and government agencies who all agree.”

Read the full story about James Howell here.

For more on Bitcoin’s $1000 milestone, check out this link.


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