A report says that a man who accidentally threw a hard disk containing 8000 bitcoins wants to use robot dogs and artificial intelligence to help him dig into a landfill to recover his lost fortune.
James Howells, from Newport, South Wales, accidentally got rid of a drive the size of an iPhone in 2013. The bitcoin stored on it is now worth about $175 million.
Now, Howells is fighting for permission from Newport City Council to dig up the landfill and find the hard drive using a high-tech, multi-million dollar plan, Insider reports.
Howell’s master plan reportedly includes spending $11 million to dig up the landfill and sort out 110,000 pounds of trash. Both humans and AI-powered machines trained to recognize a hard drive sort trash in a process expected to take three years.
Meanwhile, a duo of Boston Dynamics’ robot dogs will sort trash during the day and patrol to prey on treasure hunters at night, according to the report.
If Howells manages to find the hard drive, there is still a good chance that it will be impossible to recover the bitcoins because the drive is corrupted. However, he has recruited a data mining team that includes a consultant who helped recover data from the space shuttle Columbia’s black box after it crashed, according to the report.
If Howells wins the city council, his daring plan will be financed by two Swiss and German venture capitalists, Hanspeter Gaberg and Karl Windeborn. The duo is expected to earn over $50 million if the bitcoins are successfully redeemed.
“It’s clearly a needle in the haystack, and it’s a very, very risky investment,” Jaber told Insider.
In addition to repaying his investors, Howells is said to keep about 30% of Bitcoin, give 30% to workers who helped retrieve it and give about $60 worth of Bitcoin to every Newport resident.
But the city council told Insider that it disagrees with Howells’ plan, saying landfill digging poses “significant environmental risks.”
However, Howells still moved forward, telling Insider he had met his local Member of Parliament and is considering legal arguments.
“We don’t want to harm the environment in any way,” he said. “If anything, we want to leave everything in better shape.”