A Bitcoin investor who lost £164m of crypto when a hard drive was dumped in a landfill is preparing to sue the council that won’t let him dig it up.
Former computer engineer James Howells accidentally discarded 8,000 Bitcoin in August 2013 during an office clear-out when his ex-partner, Hafina, took a bag containing a hard drive to a south Wales dump.
He has spent the last decade arguing with Newport City Council about accessing the land to find the drive but has repeatedly been refused by officials.
Now an open letter from his legal team, sent on September 4, demands that the council allow Mr Howells to access and begin work on the site by September 18.
The crypto investor is preparing for a legal battle to stop the council allowing other works on the site and is seeking damages of $557m (£446m), the highest ever valuation of the missing Bitcoin.
He is also seeking judicial review on the council’s decision to refuse him access to the dump.
He said Birmingham City Council, which declared bankruptcy on Tuesday, would “not be the only Labour-run council to go bankrupt” this year.
“I’ve tried everything I can for 10 years, they didn’t want to play ball, so now we have to go down the legal route,” Mr Howells said.
“There’s $500m sitting in the ground and they won’t even have a serious conversation about it. It doesn’t matter what that item is, whether it is Bitcoin, gold, diamonds, to not even have the conversation is idiotic.”