On the off chance that the Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange or CEO Mark Karpelès have any assets, real or imagined, in the U.S., the guy suing them—you know, over the small problem it’s had, re: losing all of the bitcoins it was supposed to be keeping tabs on—would like those assets to stay put, whatever that might mean. Read more »
Today, we learned two things about Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpelès: He owns a suit and is, in fact, still in Japan, where he made a quick trip to Tokyo District court to place his collapsed bitcoin exchange into bankruptcy, after hackers made off with half a billion dollars worth of fake money.
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox said Friday it was filing for bankruptcy protection after losing almost 750,000 of its customers’ bitcoins, marking the collapse of a marketplace that once dominated trading in the virtual currency.
The company said it also lost around 100,000 of its own bitcoins. Together, the lost bitcoins would be worth approximately $473 million at market prices charted by the CoinDesk bitcoin index, although the price of Mt. Gox bitcoin had fallen well below that index after it stopped bitcoin withdrawals in early February….
“There was some weakness in the system, and the bitcoins have disappeared. I apologize for causing trouble,” Mr. Karpelès said during a packed news conference at the Tokyo District Court press club.
The company’s lawyer said at the news conference that Mt. Gox had outstanding debt of about ¥6.5 billion ($63.6 million) with assets worth ¥3.84 billion.
Once upon a time—like, a few weeks ago—Mt. Gox was one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the world. Maybe the largest; who really knows anything for sure in matters cryptocurrent? Then this happened. And now, today, Mt. Gox doesn’t actually appear to exist anymore. Which makes it a perfect analog for all of those bitcoins that have gone “missing.”
The website of Mt. Gox suddenly went dark on Tuesday with no explanation, and the only activity at the company’s Tokyo office was outside, where a handful of protesters said they had lost money investing in the virtual currency.
Hours later, Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles told Reuters in an email: “We should have an official announcement ready soon-ish. We are currently at a turning point for the business. I can’t tell much more for now as this also involves other parties.” He did not give any other details….
Bitcoin investors deposit their holdings in digital wallets at specific exchanges, so the Mt. Gox shutdown is similar to a bank closing its doors – people cannot retrieve their funds….
A document circulating on the Internet purporting to be a crisis plan for Mt. Gox, said more than 744,000 bitcoins were “missing due to malleability-related theft”, and noted Mt. Gox had $174 million in liabilities against $32.75 million in assets. It was not possible to verify the document or the exchange’s financial situation.
Luckily for those in need of more information, be they a regulator, a person locked out of their instawallet or someone who makes cheap jokes, “soon-ish” has come. Unfortunately, this is what it looks like, for the time being, anyway. Read more »
The ranks of the Bitcoin Foundation’s board are thinning at a less-than-ideal time for the fake-ish currency, as the CEO of Mt. Gox plans to spend a little more time dealing with his own exchange’s problems. Read more »
If you were hoping to book one of Sochi’s fabulous hotel rooms with the bitcoins in your newly-unfrozen Mt. Gox account, be prepared for an unpleasant encounter with one of Vladimir Putin’s security services. Read more »