James Howells, a Welsh Bitcoin investor, is escalating his decade-long quest to retrieve 8,000 Bitcoins he accidentally discarded, now worth an astounding $557 million, according to Protos.
Howells is reportedly threatening to sue the Newport City Council, which oversees the landfill housing the discarded hard drive containing the cryptocurrency.
The council has consistently denied Howells’ requests to excavate the landfill in search of the lost Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC), the outlet reported. In response, Howells is preparing to take legal action against it, potentially blocking other works on the landfill site.
Howells’ lawsuit seeks £446 million ($557 million) in damages, matching the highest recorded value of his lost Bitcoin. This sum could spell financial disaster for the council, according to Protos.
“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,” Howells was quoted saying.
In a letter sent to the council earlier this month, Howells demanded permission to commence his landfill excavation work by Sept. 18 and a judicial review to assess the council’s decision-making process regarding the Bitcoin landfill saga.
The Bitcoin investor accidentally discarded his Bitcoin cold wallet in 2013 while cleaning his old office, resulting in the loss of 8,000 Bitcoins worth £446 million at their peak and approximately £166 million ($207 million) today, Protos reported.
The council, however, has remained resolute, refusing Howells’ pleas to retrieve the lost Bitcoin, citing environmental concerns and negative impacts on the surrounding area.
“In the current climate, we cannot justify diverting valuable officer time from delivering services to Newport’s residents,” a council spokesperson said, according to Protos.
Last year, Howells reportedly claimed to have secured sufficient funding for the excavation. In an attempt to sway the council, he promised to allocate 10% of the recovered Bitcoin to transforming Newport into a “crypto-mecca,” offering £50 to every Newport resident and installing crypto-based terminals in local shops, Protos reported.
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