A Welsh IT worker has reportedly made the biggest mistake of his life by accidentally throwing away a hard-drive which contained £4.1 million worth of Bitcoins.
The value of Bitcoin has been on a surge as of late, recently reaching $1000, making a number of early adopters of the digital crypto-currency very rich indeed at least on paper. However, alongside the dramatic fluctuations in price, the other main concern for those using Bitcoin is the fragility of ownership.
Welsh IT worker James Howell was taking precautions with keeping his Bitcoins on a non-internet-connected hard-drive, after he “mined” around £500,000 worth of the currency in 2009, when it was still relatively easy to do so without specialist hardware. However, forgetting that he had stored his Bitcoins on the drive, he threw it away in a summer clear out, losing himself around £4.1 million at the current market rate.
The hard-drive with the Bitcoins is now at a Welsh landfill under an estimated four feet of rubbish, likely to never be seen again. Whoops.
The high value of Bitcoins and their anonymous nature means that any internet-connected wallets are targets for hackers looking for quick and easy money. This month has seen two major Bitcoin hacks at BIPS and Inputs.io, with the offenders making off with millions of pounds-worth of Bitcoins, with the victims left with little recourse or information with which police could investigate.
Photograph by Zach Copley