A south Wales man has launched a new bid to salvage a discarded hard drive that could hold millions of pounds worth of bitcoin.

Initially, James Howells forgot about the bitcoin on a hard drive he binned almost a decade ago. Today he believes the wildly volatile currency is worth somewhere in the region of £150m.

However, Newport council have repeatedly refused to allow any excavation of the site where Mr Howells believes the hard drive is located citing ecological and access concerns. There is no guarantee that even if the hard drive is found the data on it will be recoverable.

But should the hard drive be found in a workable state, part of the potential windfall that will follow has been used to secure the expertise required to fund the excavation whilst another 10% of the recovered amount has been pledged to fund a number of crypto-based opportunities in the local area.

Mr Howells mined 8,000 bitcoin in the early stages of the cryptocurrency which, at its peak in January 2021, would have been worth around £210m.

But the volatility of bitcoin has seen the cryptocurrency’s value experience some spectacular peaks and troughs: in 2011 the value of one bitcoin rose from about US$0.30 to US$32 before falling back to around US$2, and in 2013 it peaked at US$266 before a crashing to around US$50.