In some ways, Bitcoin still hasn't recovered from the fall of Mt Gox. The U.S. Dollar price of Bitcoin has never come close to the heights set at this time last year, just before the collapse. Mainstream media has latched onto this as the most important Bitcoin development in 2014. This misses the point of Bitcoin and the Blockchain entirely (see my article on the Bitcoin vs U.S. Dollar value for more information), as it is not here to replace the U.S. Dollar or compete with its status at this time.
Many things have strengthened Bitcoin this year as well. While Bitcoin's Dollar value has dropped noticeably, the major players who have aligned themselves with Bitcoin has never been greater. And the daily transaction volume of BTC has returned to it's all-time peak from a year ago as more and more leading merchants join the fold. With that said, 2014 has been another interesting year in Bitcoin, and its time to update the situation that started the year, the Mt Gox collapse and ongoing investigation.
Since the collapse in February, the Mt Gox investigation began in April at the behest of the Tokyo District Court, a major meeting of the trustee and creditors was held recently. It was revealed by Trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi that international Bitcoin exchange Kraken will be assisting in the investigation, and recovery, of BTC lost in the collapse. They will also be assisted by their San Francisco-based owner Payward since both have the necessary experience in tracking Bitcoin transactions.
"The bankruptcy trustee believes that it is very helpful for conducting the bankruptcy proceedings smoothly and for protecting the interests of the bankruptcy creditors to obtain support from a company with expertise in operating a Bitcoin exchange business and managing Bitcoin transactions." said Trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi
Mt. Gox End Draws Near
It was thought earlier this year that Mt Gox may be revived under new management, and Kraken could be a new form of leadership. Kobayashi made it clear in the November meeting that a Mt Gox revival will not take place.
"The outcome of the Mt. Gox bankruptcy proceedings will deeply affect the Bitcoin community as a whole. We've decided to volunteer our resources and expertise in an attempt to minimize damage to creditors, restore faith in the Bitcoin community and demonstrate trusted leadership in the industry." Kraken CEO Jesse Powell stated in a recent blog post.
What about former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles? He is still cooperating with Kobayashi and Kraken during the bankruptcy process. Karpeles remains as CEO of Mt. Gox's parent company Tibanne. Kobayashi also said that the authorities may consider taking legal action to force Karpeles to repay 136 million yen ($1.1 million) he had in loans from Mt. Gox as of April 24th. The trustee also said that Karpeles' company Tibanne and two of its subsidiaries owe Mt. Gox about 1.1 billion yen ($10 million).
Kobayashi said that the bankruptcy estate so far has secured about 202,149 bitcoins, worth approximately $74 million.
From afar, it seems Karpeles is going to avoid any jail time, which many throughout the Bitcoin community feel he deserves to receive. Hopefully in 2015, the bulk of the BTC lost can be found again and returned to the rightful owners. The investigation may turn into a referendum on the transparency and security of transactions made on the Blockchain. It has been widely known that Bitcoin transactions are fairly easy to track if so inclined. It will be interesting to see if the most devastating transactions in Bitcoin history are, in fact, able to be recounted and reimbursed in some way.
What will come of all this? What should happen to Karpeles? Was this incompetence or embezzlement? Share above and comment below.
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