Robot dogs on Bitcoin hunt: Miner starts hard drive search

A UK IT worker has 2013 a 7.500 Bitcoin loaded hard drive discarded. Two robotic dogs are now said to be helping with the search

British IT worker James Howells from Newport, Wales, made the headlines in January last year . Already in the year 2009, when Bitcoin was still worth little, it had 7.500 Bitcoin mined. Howells then in the year 2013 of two identical hard drives mistakenly identified the one with the ” private key ” dumped on the junk he needs to access this bitcoin. At that time he offered the city of Newport in vain 61 million US dollars for their excavation at the landfill in question. He currently has a new plan to get his hard drive and bitcoins after all. Two robotic dogs are supposed to help dig up the landfill while 90.000 Seeing through tons of junk. This was reported by Business Insider.

IT employee James Howells was looking for his hard drive in vain when Bitcoin rose in value exponentially. Currently, at the current BTC rate of about 64 .500,64 US Dollars, the equivalent to almost 160 million US dollars. At that time he came to the bitter realization that he had thrown away the hard drive with the private key, along with a broken laptop, old keyboards and mice. Howells shows gallows humor:

“I had two identical hard drives and threw out the wrong one. I know I’m not the only person who has ever thrown out the wrong thing. But it doesn’t usually cost people over 160 million pounds. I have to laugh about it now because what else can I do?”

Private key lost – chance of fortune decreases

The private key is an essential security factor when dealing with Bitcoin & Co. It validates the sending and receiving of cryptocurrencies and is necessary to protect against access by unauthorized persons.

Right from the start Howells contacted Newport City Council last year. He asked permission to dig at a specific section of the landfill where he thought his hard drive ended up. In return, he offered to pay the council a quarter of the current bitcoin value, which he said could be distributed to local residents. At the time, he told CNN:

“I offered to 25% or 52,5 million pounds (71, $7 million) to the City of Newport to distribute to all residents of Newport distribute in case I should find and retrieve the bitcoins. This would be for the entire city (316.000 inhabitants) approximately 175 GBP (200 USD) per person. Approximately 39% would be for investors who raised the capital to finance the project. I have the rest 24 %.

Unfortunately, the City Council declined the offer. He didn’t even have a personal discussion with me on the matter. Without hearing our plan of action or without being able to demonstrate our mitigation of their environmental concerns, the answer was a resounding no every time.”

New plan to guarantee success: robot dogs help

Currently he hopes 39-year-old Howells that the local authorities approve his new plan and approve his planned high-tech treasure hunt for the buried bitcoins using two robotic dogs. He believes it’s possible through a combination of human sorters, the robotic dogs, and an artificial intelligence-powered machine trained to search for hard drives on a conveyor belt.

According to Businessinsider, his Plan two versions. Both are based on how much area the City Council allows him to search from the landfill.

After according to his own estimates, the most extensive option would take three years and the cleaning about 90 .000 tons of garbage at a price of include millions of US dollars. A scaled down version would cost $6 million and 18 take months.

To implement his plan, he assembled a team of eight experts. These specialists specialize in areas such as AI-assisted sorting, landfill excavation, waste management and data extraction. Also included is a consultant who works for a company that recovered data from the black box on the crashed Columbia space shuttle.

The plan calls for machines to dig up the garbage first. In a pop-up facility near the landfill, human sorters will then go through it in a next step together with the construction of an Oregon company called Max-AI. The device looks like a scanner that is placed over a conveyor belt. As Max-AI’s Remi Le Grand told BusinessInsider, the company would train AI algorithms to recognize hard drives that look similar to Howells’. A mechanical arm would then select any objects that might be considered.

Boston Dynamics’ two robotic dogs, robotic “Spot”, are said to walk at night, equipped with 24-hour surveillance cameras, as mobile surveillance patrols act. During the day, they’re supposed to search the area for anything that looks like Howell’s hard drive. After the excavation, the garbage would be cleaned and recycled as much as possible. The rest would be reburied. Howells assures:

“We don’t want to harm the environment under any circumstances. If anything, we want to leave everything in better condition.”

Looking for a needle in a haystack?

Hanspeter Jaberg and Karl Wendeborn, two venture capitalists based in Switzerland and Germany respectively 11 Millions of dollars in project funding ready should Howells receive council approval. Jaberg emphasized:

“It’s obviously a needle in a haystack and a very, very risky investment.”

In the event that Howells gets possession of the bitcoins as a result of his plan, he has already thought about dividing the assets made. Accordingly, he would be approximately 36 Keep % of that, worth slightly more than 39 Million US dollars at current value. A third would go to the cleanup team, 20 % to the investors and the rest for local causes, including the donation of 52 £ or about 52 $ at the current value in Bitcoin to each of the 160. Newport residents, BusinessInsider reported.

If the council doesn’t approve Howells, he plans to take the local authority to court. He wants to argue that their actions constitute a “illegal embargo” on the hard drive. He further elaborated:

“I’ve hesitated in the past to go down this path because I don’t cause problems wanted to. I wanted to work with Newport City Council.”

Hope dies last and bets on robot dogs

Howells stated he has never been granted an in-person meeting with the city council. He said he had a

in May 2013 minute zoom meeting. Looking to the future, he is confident that his new business plan would finally help him make a breakthrough. Otherwise he tries “not to think too much about what his share of the money would allow him if the hard drive was ever found workingrde. Otherwise you just drive yourself crazy.”

According to Howells there is even a 71- until 90 -percent chance that the data can be recovered if found, as long as the disk is not damaged. It is well known that hope dies last. Here she is obviously relying on robot dogs.

The city council also made a statement to BusinessInsider, although without knowing the details of the plan so far. Only time will tell what he ultimately decides:

“There is nothing Mr Howells can put before us , which would lead the Council to agree. His proposals pose a significant ecological risk that we cannot accept.”


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