A Newport resident who accidentally disposed of a hard drive containing 8,000 Bitcoin (BTC) is looking to file a lawsuit against the city’s local council for refusing to accept his request to dig up a landfill site for the lost crypto treasure.
The investor has been trying to get his Bitcoin excavated for a decade, but local authorities believe this venture will harm the environment.
Legal Measures to Retrieve Lost Bitcoin Stash
James Howells has resorted to going the legal route to get his lost Bitcoin after the Newport City Council refused several attempts for the investor to access the landfill site, according to The Telegraph.
Howells expressed frustration at the city council’s supposed unwillingness to have a conversation, stating that the local authority did not seem interested in settling the matter without legal action. An open letter sent to the city council on Sept. 4 details Howells’ demand to allow him to begin the excavation process by Sept. 18.
“I’ve tried everything I can for 10 years, they didn’t want to play ball, so now we have to go down the legal route. There’s $500m sitting in the ground and they won’t even have a serious conversation about it. It doesn’t matter what that item is, whether it is Bitcoin, gold, or diamonds, to not even have the conversation is idiotic.”
In 2013, the 38-Newport resident accidentally threw away a hard drive containing 8,000 BTC, which was mined in 2009 when he was carrying out a cleanup activity. Since the costly mistake, Howells has been making efforts to dig up his lost Bitcoin treasure, purportedly buried dip in a landfill site.
However, the Newport City Council denied his requests, stating that the excavation move could harm the environment. In 2022, Howells proposed an $11 million search to the local authority that could take an estimated three years to complete.
The budget was going to cover things such as artificial intelligence (AI) machinery, robot dogs, and human labor. The Bitcoin owner also promised to give 60% of the recovered BTC to people who would help in his excavation mission and distribute $60 worth of Bitcoin to every Newport resident while keeping 30% of the lot for himself.
Newport City Council Unyielding to Howells’ Request
Howells’ stash was worth over $550 million in November 2021 when Bitcoin’s price hit an all-time high of almost $70,000. Presently, the crypto treasure is valued at approximately $205 million.
But the lawsuit will sue for damages worth $557 million (£446 million), matching the value of the lost Bitcoin at the asset’s peak price, with Howells threatening to bankrupt the city council with the legal action. In addition, Howells is requesting a judicial review of the council’s decision to prevent him from accessing the landfill site for the past 10 years.
Meanwhile, Newport authorities continued to maintain their stance a decade after the incident, with a spokesperson stating that an excavation was impossible under the city council’s environmental permit.
“Our position has not changed. We will be offering no further comments on this issue as it takes up valuable officer time which could be spent on delivering services for the residents of Newport.”