Howells hopes local authorities will allow him to organize a search for the lost bitcoins. For nearly a decade, the Newport City Council has denied his requests to dig up the hard drive, saying it was expensive and bad for the environment.
Howells' $11 million project involves cleaning up more than 100,000 tons of trash over three years. A scaled-down version of the project would cost $6 million and take a year and a half. Hard drive searches are expected to be conducted by sorters, robot dogs from Boston Dynamics, and a Max-AI scanner with artificial intelligence trained to look for hard drives on a conveyor belt.
Howells' plans also include recycling and repurposing sorted garbage. Once the project is complete, he plans to build a solar or wind power plant on top of the landfill.
Howells said if he can find the hard drive and recover the data, he will keep about 30 percent of what's there. About a third will go to pay the team, 30% to investors, and the rest will be spent on local needs, including paying £50 in bitcoin to each of Newport's 150,000 residents.
If Howells fails to win the support of the city council, the last resort in seeking the loss would be to sue the authorities for what amounts to an "illegal embargo" on the hard drive, according to the report.
On July 21, a major NFT collector with the pseudonym Franklinisbored lost about $150,000 over a mock bid for a domain he himself registered from the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). He created the domain name with a spare account and then placed a bet to buy the domain with 100 ETH from his primary address.
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