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The man who mistakenly lost millions of euros in bitcoins

Can you imagine losing millions due to carelessness with your computer? This happened to a Brit with bitcoins

Man holding a bitcoin coin.

James Howells mistakenly lost approximately 7,500 BTC. / Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: El hombre que perdió por error millones de euros en bitcoins

Bitcoin is also being affected by the coronavirus. According to what Ámbito mentions, these days there was an informative curiosity about this virtual currency, something that came hand in hand with the 2% annual devaluation of the dollar, while bitcoin almost always maintained a high trend.

Well, we must know that we are talking about a “currency” that barely exceeds 10 years of life. In reality, according to what the La Nación website mentions, cryptocurrencies are not fiat money, but are digital assets that are based on cryptography, generating secure transactions, because the assets are decentralized since they are not issued or regulated by any central bank.

At the moment, there are more than 3,000 different cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin being one of them (and the best known). The problem is that it was not always thought that it would have such a high value since a bitcoin is equivalent to approximately $ 8,800. Let's look at the case of James Howells, a 32-year-old British man who lost literally 7,500 bitcoins due to a mistake in 2013.

The James Howells case and his lost bitcoins

We must put ourselves in context. It was 2009, the date on which, according to the El Diario website, someone decided to establish the first exchange rate. The first rate was 1,309.03 bitcoins for each US dollar, which at that time had an approximate change of 70 euro cents.

Therefore, there are two possible scenarios for that date: either you gambled or you were a visionary. Whether as a joke or knowing how to anticipate the value it would take over time, many people managed to make the economic difference. Others, on the other hand, failed to recognize the value of this investment … and even lost what they made.

As we mentioned, the British James Howells had managed to mine 7,500 BTC in a single week, using a basic machine. Since the cryptocurrency was really low at the time and he needed the money, he decided to break down his laptop and sell the parts on eBay. Despite this, he kept his hard drive as he had all the logs and wanted to anticipate a possible uptick.

The problem is that, four years later, he accidentally threw away the disc, which was put in a local dumpster and then buried. The disc, at present, would have an approximate value of 615,000,000 million dollars, although he did not know it. However, when he realized the number that he "had" in his hands, he realized one thing: he couldn't find the disk.

Also read: How is COVID-19 affecting the global economic order?

Despite this situation, the man tried to recover his hard drive by all possible means. However, he first needed to have permission from the Newport local government, in order to search the landfill. The problem is that it is not something "simple", since they are complex engineering projects and can cause environmental problems, and nobody ensures that it is still in good condition.

On the other hand, there is a really important matter. As mentioned on the Xataka website, the number of bitcoins is finite. In other words, unlike what happens with countries' currencies bitcoin has a limit: 21 million. Forecasts would indicate that the last bitcoin would be mined in the year 2140, so these cryptocurrencies lost by this man cannot be “recovered”.

Thus, we see that many people may have taken it as a real investment, but others simply gambled some money "for fun", but then forgot the ways to recover that fortune. Either way, when it comes to investments, it is always a good idea to keep copies of our files.

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