NASA experts are looking for a hard drive with 7500 Bitcoin
NASA experts are looking for a hard drive with 7500 Bitcoin

NASA experts are looking for a hard drive with 7500 Bitcoin

By Stefania Stimolo - 16 Dec 2021

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James Howells is desperate to find his hard drive containing 7500 Bitcoin, which was thrown in the bin in 2013, and has decided to turn to NASA

Howells’ last resort: NASA to recover his $366 million hard drive

The story of James Howells, 36 years old from Wales, has a certain tragic ring to it if one considers that in 2013, he literally threw his hard drive containing 7500 Bitcoin, now worth 366 million dollars, in the bin. 

Eight years later, Howells seems to have been unable to find a solution to recover his hard drive that had been thrown into the Newport landfill, and he has turned to experts at NASA

According to reports, the company Howells is in contact with is Ontrack, which was hired by NASA.

In the past, Ontrack has reportedly found another hard drive in a dried-up lake and was able to recover 99 per cent of the data. 

NASA hard disk Bitcoin
James Howells lost a hard drive containing BTC mined in 2009

Ontrack: some hope for Howells

Nasa’s Ontrack seems to have become Howells’ new, slim chance of recovering his 7500 BTC fortune.

To this end, here is how Howells, who is also tormented by the rise in the price of Bitcoin experienced in 2021, tells his side of the story:

“I’ve spoken to data recovery experts who have worked with NASA on the Columbia space shuttle disaster. They were able to recover from a shuttle that exploded and they don’t seem to think that being at a landfill will be a problem. The current valuation is £342million but around a week ago it was at its peak of £420million. That’s a lot of Bitcoin just sat there in the ground and I have no doubt whatsoever that in the next year it’s going to be worth, £550million, £600million, or even £700million. It could be the case that the hard drive is worth a billion dollars and failing to act on it will be incompetence on behalf of the council. It’s not a problem that’s going to go away”.

James Howells: Bitcoin private keys on a hard drive

James Howells has become famous in the Bitcoin world for his incredible story, which is not yet solved. The 7500 BTC was mined since 2009, using his computer, at a time when the revenue was quite ridiculous, as BTC did not have a high fiat value. 

It had been easy for the 36-year-old from Wales to collect that amount, as back then the reward for each mined block was 50 BTC and it wasn’t even necessary to share efforts and profits with a pool, as it is today. 

In 2013, the hard drive where the private keys of the addresses on which he held his collected Bitcoin were stored was thrown in the trash

Since then, given that the private keys are unrecoverable once lost, Howells knows that his BTC exist on the Bitcoin blockchain, but no one will be able to use them. 


Stefania Stimolo

Graduated in Marketing and Communication, Stefania is an explorer of innovative opportunities. She started out as a Sales Assistant for e-commerce, and in 2016 she began to develop a passion for the digital world, initially in the Network Marketing sector, where she discovered and became passionate about the ideals behind Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, which lead her to work as a copywriter and translator for ICO projects and blogs, and organize introductory courses.

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