$113 Million ‘Mt Gox’ bitcoins may be moving through blockchain

Journalist:
March 9, 2014

Mark Karpelès

Movements from Mt Gox? Since Mt Gox spectacularly applied for bankruptcy protection, leaving an estimated half a billion dollars of a hole behind it, there have been people asking a number of questions.

  1. What exactly was happening?
  2. Where did the missing bitcoins go?
  3. Can they ever be recovered?

Many people have been trying to trace transactions to and from Mt Gox  in order to get answers to these questions. It is alleged that Mark Karpeles, on June 23rd 2011, when Mt Gox was still soaring, set out to demonstrate that Mt Gox actually owned a large numbers of coins. He sent 424242.42424242 bitcoins to a specific address, believed to begin with 1eHhgW6vquBY, and the transaction was soon verified. Soon after this some other transactions took place. Shortly after this the amount in the wallet was split into two separate wallets with one getting 50k and the other 500k. It is alleged that small quantities of bitcoins were sent to the 50k wallet up until March 7th (no coins were withdrawn until that date) and then the 50k bitcoins were sent  to another address as part of a number of transactions totalling 180k bitcoins ($113,000, 000!) This address has now began splitting the bitcoins into smaller quantities. It cannot be verified, at this moment in time, that the 50k wallet is owned by Mt Gox but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it may well turn out to be a duck.

The role of the Bitcoin Foundation: Perhaps there are quantities of bitcoins still remaining in Mt Gox’s control, as the above transactions would seem to suggest, perhaps there are some bitcoins that have been deleted or stolen (misplaced seems a bit funny!) and perhaps it is time to ask if the is a role here for the bitcoin foundation? perhaps they may have a function to approve the deletion of specific quantities of bitcoins and the issuing of new coins to bring the number of coins up to the correct quantity that is agreed to have been in circulation. It might require thinking on their behalf outside of the box but there we go.

Now that large quantities of bitcoins are beginning to move on the blockchain it is appropriate to ask ourselves what it is that we know about Mt Gox and whether it is time to re-examine the facts in light of, what appears to be, the new information. The leaked Mt Gox policy document that was doing the rounds recently claimed that 2000 bitcoins were held in a ‘hot wallet’ and stated that all the coins in ‘cold storage’ had been wiped out. The fact that it took Mt Gox potentially years to realise that 744,408 bitcoins had been wiped, 6% of the world supply, worth around $370 million dollars is staggering. There is a need to analyse and dissect the facts surrounding what happened, if not to recover the bitcoins, then at least to avoid a recurrance. There is, in my opinion, a role for the Bitcoin Foundation, in facilitating this.

I would like to suggest that going forward Caveat Emptor should not be an acceptable defence in cases of what is at least mis-management.

Last modified (UTC): April 20, 2014 18:34

PJ Delaney @P.J. Delaney@delboyir

Masters in Public Administration, Bachelors in Mgt., I live in Ireland, I have a bit of a background in Economics and lots of opinions on everything else.