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After Matthew Mellon, scion of the Mellon banking fortune, died on April 16 of a drug-related heart attack in Mexico, his family was unable to locate the pass code needed to retrieve his fortune — said to have been worth as much as $1 billion — in XRP cryptocurrency, according to the Daily Mail.

Losing passwords is the kind of nightmare that haunts bitcoin investors. In fact, there are an estimated 3 million bitcoins — totaling nearly $25 billion — lost because the retrieval codes have gone missing or the currency owners died without passing the codes onto their next of kin.

The article goes on to state the following:

Just ask James Howells — who lost a hard drive with the key to more than $60 million in bitcoin.

“I mined more than 7,500 coins over one week’s time in 2009; there were just six of us doing it at the time, and it was like the early days of a gold rush,” said the IT worker turned crypto investor, 32, who lives in Newport, Wales.

“Four years later, I had two hard drives in a desk drawer. One was empty and the other contained my bitcoin private keys,” Howells recalled. “I meant to throw away the empty drive — and I accidentally threw away the one with the bitcoin information.”

The NY Post report explains that people who lose their bitcoin private keys are simply out of luck.

Howells didn’t realize the value of his coins for a few weeks after he lost them. “I looked up the price, did the calculation . . . and thought, ‘S - - t. [My investment is] worth around $2 [million] or $3 million.’ A few months later it was worth $9.9 million. I was annoyed, pissed off, sick. I spoke to the people at the landfill and told them that I threw away a hard drive worth $10 million. They looked at me stupidly.”

The report states that Howells has “offered the town of Newport 10 percent of the bitcoins’ value if they’ll let him excavate the landfill,” but so far they have refused.

For the time being, Howells views the dump as the ultimate safe. “Nobody else can get in there and take my hard drive,” he said. “It’s like having $75 million in the bank, but you cannot get into the bank account.”

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