A rather unlucky man who threw away his hard drive with $180 million in Bitcoins now wants to use a pair of $75,000 robot dogs to retrieve it from a massive landfill


A UK man who accidentally threw away a hard drive with 8,000 bitcoins in it has come up with a new master plan that involves robot dogs and artificial intelligence to retrieve the lost treasure. It was in 2013 when James Howells, from the city of Newport in southern Wales, mistakenly threw away the drive containing thousands of bitcoins he had mined over the period of four years. Despite the fact that bitcoin’s price has significantly dropped over the last few months due to the recent crypto crash, the bitcoins stored in the lost hard drive are still worth roughly $175 million. In a recent interview with Business Insider, Howell gave details of his high-tech, multi-million plan to search for the hard disk in a landfill.

Image – James Howells

The Brit claims that the hard drive must have ended up at the local landfill in Newport and is currently trying hard to secure permission from the local city council to dig up the whole place to search for the lost fortune. Searching for a tiny hard disk in a massive landfill is a lot more difficult and complicated than searching for a needle in a haystack. The $11 million business plan to recover the treasure includes two robotic “spot” dogs from Boston Dynamics. You might remember these robot dogs from viral social media videos in which these machines can be seen pulling off crazy stunts. The American robotics company that’s currently owned by Hyundai started commercially selling the Spot robot dog to anyone willing to shell out $74,500.

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Image – Boston Dynamics

Spot might look like a robot toy but it’s an exceptionally capable machine that’s capable of carrying out a multitude of functions and activities. It has already been used to scan construction projects and even enforce social distancing in Singapore parks. Last year, the French Army was also seen testing the robot dog by Boston Dynamics during its military drills. The two robo-dogs would be used both for security as mobile CCTV cameras and also scan the ground of the landfill. The Brit said he plans to name the robot dogs “Satoshi” and “Hal.” Satoshi Nakamoto is the presumed pseudonym used by the person or group of people who developed bitcoin, while Hal Finney was the first-ever recipient of a bitcoin transaction.

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Spread across an area the size of a football stadium, finding a hard drive would be a near impossible even for an advanced robotic dog.

Howells told Business Insider that the plan was devised with the help of expert advisors and would be funded by two venture capitalists who would stand to make more than $50 million if the bitcoins are successfully recovered. Furthermore, Howells plans to keep about 30% of the recovered Bitcoin, award 30% to those who helped find the hard disk, and give roughly $60 in bitcoin to each resident of Newport. While the residents of the city would be rooting for Howells to find the drive, the city council is yet not convinced.

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Written By
Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.