Mt.Gox main man claims he doesn’t want Bitcoin windfall

Mark Karpeles surprises Reddit with an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on the notorious collapsed exchange, Mt.Gox, and the bankruptcy process currently underway.

Yesterday, the former CEO of Mt. Gox – the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that collapsed in early 2014 after a hack removed around 750,000bitcoins (then worth around $350m) from its wallets –  took to Reddit for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) as the bankruptcy proceedings for his former company begin to come to a close.

“Many of you know or remember me,” he began his introduction, “especially recently since the MtGox bankruptcy has been allegedly linked with Bitcoin price drops in December 2017 to February 2018.”

This statement hints at exactly why Karpeles thought it necessary to speak to the crypto community via the r/bitcoin subreddit. It is a direct reference to the selling of a massive cache of around 200,000 BTC over recent months. They were discovered in a forgotten Mt. Gox ‘cold wallet’ during the winding up of the Tokyo-based exchange, and have been sold off by a court-appointed trustee, named Nobuaki Kobayashi, as part of the bankruptcy process.

Japanese rules covering such situations appear to mean that, while those who lost Bitcoin in the Mt. Gox hack will only be compensated at a court-agreed rate roughly commensurate to the value of their crypto in February 2014 (around $500 per BTC), selling those coins in 2018, with the price at something close to $20,000 per Bitcoin, netted the bankruptcy fund a significant excess.

Once the customers are refunded at the rate agreed, any extra cash – which could total a over a billion dollars, according to reports – is shared out among shareholders of the company cited in the bankruptcy proceedings. Chief among those: Karpeles.

He, it appears – through his company Tibanne – owns about 88% of the shares in Mt. Gox, so would be bar far the biggest beneficiary of the windfall obtained by the so-called ‘Mt.Gox Whale‘ sell-off. That movement of Bitcoins was so large, that it is cited as contributing to the current Bear-ish atmosphere of the crypto market – that has seen the price of Bitcoin dive somewhat, to leave it currently sitting at below $7000 from a January high of near $20,000.

“I’ve been arrested, released under bail after a little less than one year, and am now trying to assist MtGox getting into civil rehabilitation”, Karpeles says. Later he explained that he didn’t really want the money that appears to be heading his way, saying “that today this is a possibility is an aberration and I believe it is my responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen”, adding in a further answer that he’d “like to redistribute the BTC/BCH to creditors if it ever happens to be given to me, but hopefully things won’t get that far as a very large chunk would end being lost to taxes, that’s why Civil Rehabilitation is so important.”

“I don’t have control over the Bitcoins in the Mt.Gox estate, however myself as well as many creditors are pushing for the trustee not to sell until a decision is reached for civil rehabilitation”, Karpeles told his questioners.

Upon being told by one Redditor that ‘his’ trustee was “destroying bitcoin with the sell off” Karpeles again reiterated that he no say in the matter.  “The trustee was appointed by the bankruptcy court,” he responded, “and I have no control over this process at this point. I only wish to see bitcoins returned to all Mt.Gox creditors as soon as possible.”

You can read the full AMA here.