Bitcoin is something everyone knows of. It’s the most popular cryptocurrency founded by Satoshi Nakamoto that has surged in price, currently sitting at ~$36021.3 USD. In order to access one’s digital wallet, a “private key” is required. This is due to the state of Bitcoin’s blockchain technology, which is decentralized. Unlike traditional currencies being issued by banks, bitcoin has no commanding figure in charge of all of the currency. Instead, the bitcoin blockchain is secured by a network of individuals, who are each known as “miners”. Miners are those with specially built computers that compete, mainly in the hardware aspect to solve difficult mathematical problems that let a transaction be processed. The computers often rely on expensive, high-performance GPUs to solve these problems. Additionally, for each transaction a miner makes with bitcoin, the transaction must be authenticated with the private key from the miner’s digital wallet. This is basically a digital signature and certification that the transaction has come from the miner.
James Howells is a 35-year old British IT engineer. Howells claims that multiple years ago, he had accidentally discarded a laptop hard drive that contained his private key needed to access his bitcoin wallet. Apparently, the wallet contains 7500 bitcoins, which is ~271M USD. 7 years later, Howells is desperate to find the huge digital treasure trove by searching in a local dump. Howells is currently making many requests to his local council to get permission for searching this dump, such as offering 25% of the money to a Covid Relief Fund, and promising to fund the excavation with a private hedge fund. However, the local council has rejected his requests time and time again, as they seem to be doubtful of the hard drive’s functionality and are concerned of the potential environmental effects on the surrounding area.