$53 Million in Bitcoin Lost and Thrown Away

An early bitcoin miner lost $53 million in bitcoin and has never gotten it back.


Early bitcoin miner and IT specialist James Howells lost what would be around $53 million today in bitcoin back in 2009 and he has yet to reacquire it.

In 2009, right as bitcoin (BTC) debuted with its price still below $1.00, Howells managed to mine more than 7,500 BTC in just a week with his basic GPU mining equipment. He then stored the private keys to his 7,500 BTC in a thumb drive.

2013 came and BTC rose to over $100. Howells started searching for the thumb drive but to no avail. Howells said that he had mistakenly thrown it away:

“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 this realization, Howells said he tried to go to the landfill to get it back:

“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.”


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