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Landfills Are Filling Up With Bitcoin

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:48 PM
Justin OConnell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:48 PM

The Bitcoiners “FU” (shorthand for fuck up on the subrredit r/tifu) started six years ago when he was in college. As he states  on the forum known as ‘Today I Fucked Up:’

Back then, “I had a hugely over-inflated sense of how intelligent I was. Rare for someone on reddit I know.”

He chose to, instead of get a part time job, make money on the internet. He set up an ad network of internet webpages.

“I also came across this thing called bitcoin, and people were giving them away for free on some websites,” he wrote, referencing Bitcoin faucets. “Everything I read about them said they were going to be the next big thing. Awesome, I’ll get myself some of those. Over the course of 1 semester I’d gotten around 150 bitcoins, which at the time was worth around $11.00. What a waste of fucking time! These things haven’t exploded like they were supposed to, back to my matched betting and AwesomeTM websites!”

The redditor stored his bitcoins on his laptop. When he upgraded his laptop in the next semester with more RAM and a 7200 HDD, he left himself a sarcastic note on the bitcoins…

“That was the last time I paid any attention to bitcoin, it wasn’t too long before I graduated and started to earn decent(ish) money,” he wrote. “Fast forward to last month and I’m moving to a smaller apartment (more expensive area), and had to be picky about what I could take.”

He sorted through “old box of PC parts” and threw it all in the trash. He used the same box for things to bring to his new apartment.  Due to his “laziness,” he didn’t immediately go through the boxes.

“Tonight after a 4 hour reddit session I unpacked one of the boxes, and I found THIS ,” he wrote, chuckling to himself upon finding his note, but only for a second. Realizing bitcoins are worth more today, “panic set [in].” Shortly, he realized they bitcoins were unretrievable.

“I’ve been googling for several hours but it seems I’m fucked, the bitcoins are gone! At least they weren’t worth the millions that my idiotic self thought when I first found the note, but that’s not much consolation.”

As he summarizes of the fate of his fortune: “earned $11.00 worth of bitcoin, 5 years later threw them out when they were worth $67,000!”

All he has is the note. He doesn’t recall which wallet he used, and he was no password. He plans toscour his emails, documents and anything that could lead to the recovery of his bitcoins, “but I’m not too hopeful,” he writes.

He doesn’t think they at an online wallet service. He once almost sold them, “but the ID verification etc all looked like too much effort for $10.00.”

He recalls, “it took an age to sync with the network or some such.”

As for the bitcoins, they still exist on bitcoin’s “public ledger” for anyone who can get the “private key,” and the .dat fi. Most users save multiple copies of the .dat file to save themselves from the grief the Reddit user, who goes by _, is now experiencing.  He didn’t remember he even had the coins until discovering the note in the box. Many users have sent considerable ChangeTip tips to the user.

The story rhymes with the experience an English man, named James Howells, who lost bitcoins in a landfill in 2013. His hard drive landed at the Docksway landfill site near Newport, Wales. At the time, the sum of the bitcoins were more than £4m.

He was clearing his desk and threw it in the trash, with 7,500 bitcoins on it.

“You know when you put something in the bin, and in your head, say to yourself ‘that’s a bad idea’? I really did have that,” Howells told the Guardian. “I don’t have an exact date, the only time period I can give – and I’ve been racking my own brains – is between 20 June and 10 August. Probably mid-July.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.