Infamous Discarded Hard Drive Holding 7,500 Bitcoins Would be Worth $80 Million Today

Old timers remember the story of a Welsh man who threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 Bitcoins. That lost drive would be worth over $80 mln today.

During the summer of 2013, while cleaning out his desk, a Welsh man named James Howells threw away a hard drive from his broken Dell Laptop.

Unfortunately, he realized several months later that the drive held 7,500 Bitcoin mined back in 2009. At the time, with Bitcoin approaching and finally just exceeding $1,000 in price, the scrapped hard drive would have been worth over $7 mln.

The story created a lot of hype about the rising the value of Bitcoin and the fortunes – or misfortunes – of the currency’s first miners and investors. Many of them had dabbled with the currency while it was in its infancy, only to forget about it and fail to backup their wallets.

Howells, who essentially dumped $7.5 mln (£4 mln) onto a landfill in Newport, Wales was of course furious, disappointed and dumbstruck. Over the next few years, he may have come to terms with his loss, only to have old wounds reopened as the currency began its long climb this year. At press time, Bitcoin’s price stands at $10,700, giving that trashed hard drive a value of over $80 mln.

‘That’s a bad idea’

Howell had mined those 7,500 coins himself as a hobby back when Bitcoin was a mere plaything for the technologically inclined. Howells related:

"You know when you put something in the bin, and in your head, say to yourself 'that's a bad idea'? I really did have that.”

Howells explains how he stopped mining when his girlfriend complained about the noise from the laptop and the heat it was producing. When he spilled lemonade on the laptop the following year, he dismantled it for parts. He initially kept the hard drive for a few years before finally discarding it.

Back in 2013, Howells said:

"I'm at the point where it's either laugh about it or cry about it. Why aren't I out there with a shovel now? I think I'm just resigned to never being able to find it."

Once can only imagine how the unfortunate Howells feels today.

“Don’t tell my Wife”

Howells isn’t the only person to experience the pain of such financial loss. An Australian man, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of the wrath of his wife, has also come forward with a tale of thousands of missing Bitcoin.

Alex, as he wants to be called, describes how in 2009 he mined “thousands, plural” of Bitcoin as part of a novel new idea. Then when the program for mining got a little too big and cumbersome, he gave up, deleted the program, and stashed his Bitcoin on a cheap USB. He said:

“The thinking was that it’s offline, not on my PC, so in case something bad happened to the PC — [if] it blew up, or [was] hacked — I still had a backup.”

Around the end of 2013, when the Bitcoin price peaked at just over $1,000, he suddenly remembered his wallet:

“[I plugged] the USB stick back in to try and access the file, but the stick died. It was one of those cheap made-in-China ones.”

Just like Howells, Alex has had to watch the Bitcoin price balloon, counting the tens of millions of dollars he lost everytime a new milestone is reached.

“Worst mistake of my life. Never back up anything on a cheap Chinese-made disk or USB stick.”

Lost forever

Other stories of lost Bitcoins abound, including that of a Gizmodo editor who threw away a hard drive containing 1,400 Bitcoins in 2012. He paid $25 for the coins, at an average price of only 1.5 cents each. They would now be worth almost $15 mln.

These cases and others inspired a new study that has estimated that as many as four million Bitcoin are gone forever. The study puts the majority of the lost coins in the category of ‘out of circulation’ as of course, those coins still exist on the Blockchain, they just cannot be accessed.

One difficulty in estimating the number of “lost” Bitcoin is uncertainty over whether Satoshi is still alive and still has access to his private keys. The study’s numbers assume that Satoshi’s approximately one million Bitcoins are lost, but of course, nobody can be certain of that.

Keeping coins safe

One of the first rules for Bitcoin newbies is to keep your coins off exchanges where they are vulnerable to online threats. However, there are a number of offline threats that can also occur.

These two case studies show just how easy it is to lose a digital asset that is not stored online; from a broken hard drive to a corrupt USB, even misplacing the thing becomes a problem.

Matthew Unger, founder and CEO of iComply Investor Services Inc. suggested:

"Just like you keep some cash in your wallet, some in your bank account and perhaps the really valuable stuff in a safe, you need to manage digital currencies in the same way."

Source: Coin Telegraph




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CCG Mining now offers open end contracts. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Litecoin and others

Cointracking keeps track of all your coins automatically. Many exchanges and wallets supported

 

Elon Musk: I Am Not Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto

The debate on the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto promises to be a never-ending one, but Elon Musk says it isn’t him.

The debate on the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto promises to be a never-ending one. After a former SpaceX intern blogged that Elon Musk is probably Satoshi, Musk clarified that he is in fact not the creator of Bitcoin.

Rumour mills start rolling

People have speculated about Satoshi's origins ever since Bitcoin was invented. The trigger to get the rumour mills rolling this time was a blog post by Sahil Gupta, former intern at SpaceX, who blogged that Elon Musk was probably Satoshi Nakamoto. Sahil uses Elon Musk's background in Economics, experience in production level software and history of innovation to speculate that Elon Musk 'probably' invented Bitcoin. Given the divisive nature of the blocksize debate in the Bitcoin community, Sahil sought Elon's (or Satoshi's) intervention and asks him to play the role of a founding father (similar to Vitalik Buterin in Ethereum).

Outright denial

Elon Musk, has however, denied that he was Satoshi Nakamoto and going on to add that he had lost the Bitcoins which were sent to him a few years back.

Elon Musk tweeted

There has been chatter on social media in the past about whether Elon Musk could be Satoshi, but nothing ever came of the talk. Musk’s earlier stated views on Bitcoin were not flattering. In an earlier interview, Elon Musk had said:

"I guess it is primarily going to be a means of doing illegal transactions. That is not necessarily entirely bad.  Maybe some things shouldn't be illegal…. You should have a legal to illegal bridge."

The Nakamoto and Craig Wright fiascos

Previous hunts for Satoshi Nakamoto have not ended well. Craig Wright claimed in 2016 that he was Satoshi and managed to convince a few mainstream media organizations and Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen, before his claim was debunked.

In 2014, Newsweek’s cover story claimed that the magazine had uncovered the identity of Satoshi. They speculated that an engineer named Dorian Nakamoto was actually the creator of Bitcoin. A media frenzy followed, despite Dorian Nakamoto’s repeated denials that he wasn't Satoshi. Eventually the Newsweek story was debunked, the magazine was left with egg on its face and Dorian Nakamoto’s life was turned completely upside down, bringing great financial hardship to the man.

Various people from Hal Finney to Nick Szabo were thought to have been Satoshi at various points in time, but nobody knows for sure. Many still believe that Satoshi is actually a group of people rather than a single individual.

Does it really matter?

While Bitcoin has grown organically and drawn millions of users into its fold without the active involvement of Satoshi, questions will always remain about his identity. Nonetheless, the development of the Bitcoin protocol has proceeded apace without Satoshi, given the talented developers who work on Bitcoin and significant community support.

However, if Satoshi is still alive and if he still holds his private keys, he is believed to own about one million Bitcoins. With Bitcoin having just breached the $10,000 level, that gives Satoshi a net worth, on paper, of $10 bln. Given that many believe Satoshi no longer has control over the coins, if he ever decided to sell his Bitcoins, the price of Bitcoins might plunge.

Given that Satoshi has remained out of the limelight for so long, it does seem likely that he values his privacy more than the billions that his Bitcoins are worth. Then again, with Bitcoin’s epic bull run, nobody knows at what point the mysterious founder might change his mind.

Source: Coin Telegraph




My current recommendations:

HashFlare for automated Bitcoin cloud mining - Currently ROI in around 60 days only

Bitclub Network allows you to buy mining shares with daily payouts

CCG Mining now offers open end contracts. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Litecoin and others

Cointracking keeps track of all your coins automatically. Many exchanges and wallets supported