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Lost hard drive leads to £4m Bitcoin treasure hunt

Lost hard drive leads to £4m Bitcoin treasure hunt

A satelite image of the recycling centre where the hard drive is buried.

A hard drive containing £4.1million worth of Bitcoins is buried somewhere beneath feet of mud at a recycling plant in Wales, it has been revealed.

The drive was discarded by its original owner some months ago, along with the Dell laptop it came from. He had collected the Bitcoins when the virtual currency was worth very little and they were easy to mine. Now each Bitcoin is worth over £600, making his 7,500 Bitcoins worth in excess of £4million.

The story of the missing fortune first came to light when a user called Sue-dough-nim posted on Reddit describing how a friend had told him about the loss while chatting on an IRC (internet relay chat) channel.

After the original post, Sue-dough-nim posted an update telling how the original owner had gone to the recycling centre to ask about retrieving the drive.

"He went to the "recycling centre" and they showed him around. The hard drive, if it was there, would be buried under around 4 feet of mud and waste, in an area the size of a soccer field. The cost of closing the centre, hiring diggers, and searching for it would be too high, and then the chances of finding it are still not excellent."

"Also usually only police are allowed to search the site for evidence and such. But, under the circumstances, a deal can probably be made with the council." he added.

For those that fancy giving it a go, the Centre is in Newport, South Wales at co-ordinates 51° 33.858', -2° 59.863'.

17 Comments

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bawjaws 27th November 2013, 16:45 Quote
Your link points to the wrong article - much as I'm interested in ebuyer's "12 days of Christmas" competition, it's not quite what I was looking for... :D
Meanmotion 27th November 2013, 16:54 Quote
cheers, fixed.
Fordy 27th November 2013, 17:13 Quote
I read it on reddit, from a guy who know's a guy, or at least knew his online personality for a few minutes.

It's definitely legit.
erratum1 27th November 2013, 17:19 Quote
I watched a documentary about a serial killer where they dug up a place like this to find a dead body and found it but a hard drive, pfff.

£4 million lost ..silly man.
Cheapskate 27th November 2013, 17:24 Quote
I'm more intrigued about something called a "recycling center" putting laptops in the ground. Do they intend to grow new one?
jon 27th November 2013, 17:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheapskate
I'm more intrigued about something called a "recycling center" putting laptops in the ground. Do they intend to grow new one?

Indeed. And given the odds of finding said laptop, I'm assuming it's not the only one they buried ...

Gonna be a hell of a crop full of spindle platters coming up in the spring ...
SchizoFrog 27th November 2013, 18:41 Quote
So Bitcoins are locally stored? I've never looked in to it before but surely that would make it fairly easy to copy and replicate?
DriftCarl 27th November 2013, 19:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
So Bitcoins are locally stored? I've never looked in to it before but surely that would make it fairly easy to copy and replicate?

If you had the wallet and backed it up you could then put it on another machine, I believe that would then make the old one invalid once the chain had been updated?(im no expert though).
But without access to the bitcoin wallet as far as I know there is no way to get it back, its lost currency forever.

I got on the bandwagon a few years ago and started mining, back then it was considered quite difficult and I managed to get 8 bitcoins, sold them at about £15 each and made a nice little profit, just before the price went down to about $2 each.

Obviously I wished I kept them till now and kept mining more constantly, could have paid off the mortgage by now, but hindsight it a wonderful thing :p
Bogomip 27th November 2013, 19:58 Quote
Heh, tried mining on my computer a few days ago and it worked out I would be getting one bitcoin per few years... prob not worth it :P
julianmartin 27th November 2013, 20:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogomip
Heh, tried mining on my computer a few days ago and it worked out I would be getting one bitcoin per few years... prob not worth it :P

WHo knows? This is what everyone is saying, gave up because they weren't worth enough to start with, then got a bit hard for what you get, now a bit coin is worth a thousand dollars. If the growth carries on, one bitcoin could be worth ten grand in two years. Won't you wish you did it then?!
Bogomip 27th November 2013, 21:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by julianmartin
WHo knows? This is what everyone is saying, gave up because they weren't worth enough to start with, then got a bit hard for what you get, now a bit coin is worth a thousand dollars. If the growth carries on, one bitcoin could be worth ten grand in two years. Won't you wish you did it then?!

You do make a point, but at the same time do I really want to spend several years of computer working hard gambling on that? If I were to do it I would buy a rig that can bitcoin mine on its lonesome :)
DriftCarl 27th November 2013, 22:40 Quote
well it all changed when some company started building asci computer miners. Specialised hardware built for mining, far superior to any set of graphics cards or normal servers.
They cost 15k when they first came out. This was when bitcoins were about $10, you would expect to get your money back in about 6 months mining, assuming the bitcoins stayed at around $10.
I guess those who forked out 15k for those rigs are laughing now. most likely millionairs.
cgp2000 27th November 2013, 23:02 Quote
Surely he wiped the hard drive before disposing of it?
qualalol 28th November 2013, 10:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
So Bitcoins are locally stored? I've never looked in to it before but surely that would make it fairly easy to copy and replicate?

Yes and No:

The "coins" themselves are in the blockchain (associated with addresses), which every computer on the bitcoin network has. To access those coins (i.e. to "spend" them in a transaction, which is essentially transferring them) you need to have the correct key to the address that holds the coins. The keys to addresses are what is stored in a wallet, i.e. on your harddrive (nowadays the wallets are encrypted etc., you can even have offline wallets operating on computers that are never connected to the internet, which is done to keep your keys safe).

You can't really invalidate a wallet -- you can however transfer everything out of the addresses the wallet has access to, making a wallet useless. The default client keeps appending new keys (generated randomly) to a wallet as necessary (you generate a new address every time you transfer coins, i.e. you tend not to reuse addresses), meaning a backup wallet can get outdated if you've transferred any coins since the backup-- however there are alternative clients which have deterministic wallets etc. so you can even have a paper backup from which all your keys can be generated.

Bitcoin as a network / transfer mechanism is actually quite fascinating. Whether or not it will be useful/widely adopted in the real world is a completely separate topic though...
lilgoth89 28th November 2013, 15:31 Quote
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-25134289

also in the BBC news...so there MAY be an ounce of truth in this after all...
PingCrosby 30th November 2013, 11:51 Quote
He should've put it under his mattress
motoroller 3rd December 2013, 14:50 Quote
I mined bitcoins back in 2011, I think I had about 10. My hard drive got corrupted. Time to dig it out...
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