A 32-year old IT specialist named James Howells capitalized on the growth of Bitcoin, gaining more than 7,500 BTC on Bitcoin back in 2009, during times when the cryptocurrency was below $1. However, Howells recently told New York Post that he had lost more than $60 million of that money and was never been able to retrieve it.
So, what happened?
It all began in 2009, when Howells started mining Bitcoin and used a basic GPU mining equipment to mine more than 7,500 in a single week. In 2013, when the Bitcoin price crossed the $100 mark, he started to search for his thumb drive which he used to store the private keys to the 7,500 BTC he had mined.
However, instead of throwing the empty thumb drive, he threw away the thumb drive with his private keys. As he told New York Post:
“I mined more than 7,500 coins over one week’s time in 2009; there were just six of us doing it at the time, and it was like the early days of a gold rush. Four years later, I had two hard drives in a desk drawer. One was empty, and the other contained my bitcoin private keys. I meant to throw away the empty drive — and I accidentally threw away the one with the bitcoin information,”
After realizing that he threw away millions of dollars, Howells admitted that he felt physically sick. He stated:
“I looked up the price, did the calculation . . . and thought, ‘S – – t. [My investment is] worth around $2 [million] or $3 million.’ A few months later it was worth $9.9 million. I was annoyed, pissed off, sick. I spoke to the people at the landfill and told them that I threw away a hard drive worth $10 million. They looked at me stupidly.”
There are millions of Bitcoin that have been permanently lost from their immutable blockchain network because of cases like this. However, Howells’ case is one of the most unique ones and one of the biggest mistakes in the world.
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