Mark Karpeles Responds to Critics

Andrew Quentson @Aquentson
August 26, 2014 14:00 UTC

The Bitcoin community was in uproar recently after news emerged that Mark Karpeles, the ex – CEO of the now defunct MT Gox, once the largest Bitcoin exchange which allegedly “lost” 850,000 bitcoins to then find 200,000 bitcoins, had started a new hosting company, Forever.net.

[divider]CCN[/divider]

In an exclusive interview with CCN, I started by asking Mark Karpeles how he was able to fund the new hosting company. “There’s no funding” – he stated, clarifying that Tibanne already owns the domain, hosting servers and the VPS.  “We only used what we had on our hands”- he continued, explaining that the new company is a subsidiary of Tibanne and was focused on the Japanese market exclusively while Kalyhost, another hosting company owned by Tibanne, will continue to serve the international market.

In light of his recent focus on the hosting companies, I wondered whether he had now moved on and was putting behind the MT Gox bankruptcy. “[I am] still working with the trustee on the Mt Gox bankruptcy” – he replied, but went on to argue that “Tibanne can’t do much without some sort of revenue.”

 

Attempts to Rejoin the Community

Mark Karpeles became active on social media once again on or around the 15th of June 2014, almost four months after MT Gox declared bankruptcy. His various tweets, including a picture of a sunset over Tokyo and a picture of his cat, were met with anger and ridicule from MT Gox creditors who demand an explanation. He rarely replies and when he does his answers often seem cryptic. For example, on the 21st of August, in reply to criticisms that his communication was abysmal, he stated that “communication is never easy when you’re not allowed to”, but would not corroborate any further, only stating that he: “cannot communicate about anything related to MtGox. Only the trustee can at this point.”

He continued to maintain in the interview that he was unable to provide any information in regards to the investigations, but expressed hope that he will be able to speak freely about what happened in the future. Perhaps contradictorily, he states that he is not told anything in any event by “law enforcements” who usually keep their methods confidential.

“Last time there was something in the press about 27000 btc, I was told about it by journalists emailing me questions after it was public.” – He stated, Referring to a recent announcement that the Tokyo Police has now opened a formal investigation on 27,000 bitcoins out of the 650,000 bitcoins that allegedly “disappeared” from MT Gox.

 

From Twitter to Reddit

The reddit account of Mark Karpeles was hacked in March 2014, but he was able to recover it by a simple password reset which allowed him to write his first comment on the website in almost seven months.  His comment was met with outrage from creditors and the wider Bitcoin community, perhaps succinctly expressed by the top voted reply that simply stated, complete with punctuation, a two-word expletive. I wondered if he wished to reply directly to that comment and to accusations that he stole the coins or that he is a scammer:

“Saying that I didn’t steal the coins wouldn’t do much good either way, and there’s no much point arguing at this point. The best option seems to [be to] wait until [the] investigations reach somewhere… [the investigations] may take years, however, and Tibanne can’t do much without some sort of revenue.”

I ask him for an estimate of Tibanne’s yearly revenue, but I am instead reminded that Tibanne lost 80,000 bitcoins on MT Gox. There has been much speculation over whether he will claim these 80,000 bitcoins that allegedly belong to Tibanne and were on MT Gox at the time it declared bankruptcy, so I asked.

“If Tibanne can resume its hosting activities and generate enough revenue to stay afloat, there is no need for us to claim such an amount.”

His response may come as a relief to MT Gox creditors who are hoping to recover approximately 20% of their funds in a claim process that is estimated to continue until well into next year.

He further states that he intends to share some of his earnings with MT Gox creditors “as soon as we can afford it, and if legally possible… we’re trying to discuss this with the trustee.”

 

Mastermind Criminal or Bitcoin Pioneer?

Promising to not claim 80,000 bitcoins and offering to share his company’s profits, Mark Karpeles might soften some of the blow of the MT Gox’s sudden bankruptcy, and if he keeps to these promises, he might even succeed in building some of his reputation.

“What everyone wants is money, so money we need to earn.” – he stated, but many will be left wondering, is he one of the biggest mastermind criminals of the century, responsible for tarnishing the image of bitcoin, scaring many would be adopters and responsible for many ruined lives, or is he an innocent victim of mastermind hackers, a fallen pioneer who withstood attacks by banks, governments and hackers for three years and paved the way for bitcoin to reach mainstream? Only time can tell. Until then, this is his message to his creditors and the wider Bitcoin community:

“We’ll be doing our best at Tibanne to support the MtGox bankruptcy and assist in whatever way we can. I am sorry for what happened to everyone and [I am] trying to work toward making things better.


I sincerely hope that what we are doing will be able to provide even a bit of relief.”

 

 

Last modified: August 26, 2014 16:43 UTC