on Set with Richard Hammond for Bitcoin Documentary – Emerald Journal


After years of lobbying the local council, and building a team of experts to attempt to find, extract and recover the crucial Bitcoin wallet on his discarded laptop hard drive, Mr Howells has now teamed up with Richard Hammond’s Chimp Television production crew in an effort to publicise the merits of his excavation proposal further.

Readers are encouraged to visit to watch the documentary teaser and learn about the many steps involved in this ambitious project.

His aim is to finally convince Newport County Council to review his proposed plan of action, and allow the assembled team of excavation, waste sorting, environmental impact and finally data recovery experts to put his plan into action.

It is a compelling story, and one which could potentially have a very positive impact not only on Mr Howells’s personal finances, but also those of local charitable causes due to his commitment to pledge over 30m to help reinvigorate Newport should the Bitcoin wallet be recovered.

Whilst most can visualise the processes involved in digging, sorting, and reinstating an area of land, what is less well understood are the highly complex and technical steps involved to take a piece of electrical equipment that has been underground for 10 years, clean it, repair it, and perform a data recovery of what remains.

Thankfully was on hand to learn how one of its expert partners, White Glove Data Services, will be working with data recovery technicians like the ones that recovered the data from the black box of NASA’s ill-fated Columbia space shuttle, to try and perform a recovery miracle once the hard drive is located.

According to, the steps involved are numerous and exceptionally technical and sensitive, and include:

The extraction and journey to a Class 100 clean room

There are many important considerations to ensure that the actual extraction process doesn’t aggravate the situation before the data recovery experts have even started.

Repairing the hard drive physically

Making sure that the very best/most complete image of the raw data is extracted in the initial recovery phase.

The logical reconstruction

What software tools and processes are required to turn the fragments of data into usable files, and then searching for (and repairing) the single specific file needed.

The percentage chance of recovery is likely to vary significantly given the huge number of variables in this case, and due to the fact that data recovery is never an exact science, but needless to say there are many reasons to be positive.

What happens next?

Interested parties are encouraged to watch the teaser and decide for themselves whether the project has merit, but Mr Howells is hoping that Newport City Council will be sufficiently motivated by the new documentary (if not the promise of a windfall of millions to help local projects), to agree to the excavation.

Regardless, and its panel of data recovery experts will remain involved in the project, and hopefully one day soon reunite Mr Howells with his Bitcoin.

Whatever a person’s position on cryptocurrency, this is an exciting project to follow just for the engineering aspects of it, and if successful, it will have immeasurable social benefits to this part of Wales.

For the full story, and more details of how world-leading data recovery experts will handle this unique technical challenge, head over to

Data Recovery Compared
4th Floor, Silverstream House,
45 Fitzroy Street
United Kingdom

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