If we were to make a list of the greatest underdogs of the 21st century, the name James Howells would undoubtedly appear on it. Back in 2013, this man accidentally dropped a disk containing approximately 7,500 bitcoins.
Howells had two hard drives stored in the drawer. He wanted to get rid of one of them, while he had thousands of bitcoins stored on the other. However, he inadvertently switched these discs and the one that would have earned him millions of dollars today ended up in the trash can.
If he monetized the bitcoins on the disk at the time when the cryptocurrency reached its highest values (approximately $68,000), his profit would be an incredible 510 million dollars. At the current value of bitcoin, the drive would fetch him around $172.5 million.
Shortly after accidentally discarding the wrong disc, the man contacted the city council to give him access to the local dump. However, she rejected his request, and not once. He was unsuccessful even after offering the council a quarter of the amount of bitcoins stored on the drive.
Hope dies last
However, Howells is not giving up even after nine years. He believes that artificial intelligence and automation can help him find a small disc in a pile of garbage, the weight of which is well over 100,000 tons. A server is dedicated to the topic TechSpot.
He presents his plan in two versions. The first involves sorting the landfill using human power, robotic dogs “Spot” from Boston Dynamics and a special conveyor belt with automated sorting systems. Such a search mission would take about 9 to 12 months and cost no less than $11 million. The second version is very similar, but would take longer and cost around $6 million.
Experts also help
A team of experts from different fields is to participate in both versions of the plan. Howells even contacted a consultant who once worked for OnTrack. That was back in 2003 managed to get up to 99% of the data from the space shuttle Columbia’s black boxwhich exploded on return to Earth.
His plan has also include cleaning and recycling of sorted waste, while it is not excluded that a solar or wind power plant will grow on the site of the landfill. Simply put, everyone would win.
But before that happens, Howells will have to convince the authorities to approve his plan.