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Are the Missing Mt Gox BTC Billions on Their Way Home?

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • Former CEO hints that customers of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange could receive their share of BTC in the near future.
  • The value of BTC in the hands of the court-appointed trustee stands at just over $6 billion.
  • The return of bitcoins to creditors might have a significant impact on the markets.
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After a long eight years, the long-running saga of Mt. Gox is close to reaching a conclusion. 

Mark Karpeles, the exchange’s former CEO, has said that users of the platform could receive some of their lost bitcoin in the coming days.

He told Forkast News it was highly likely that the Japanese trustee in charge of the BTC will begin the distribution of the remaining assets to creditors.

In 2014, Mt. Gox suffered a hack that led to the loss of over 800,000 BTC and the effective collapse of the exchange, leaving thousands of creditors out of pocket awaiting compensation.

Nobuaki Kobayashi was appointed trustee over the recovered BTC and given the task of determining the appropriate manner for the distribution of assets. 

In October 2021, the majority of creditors voted in favor of a compensation scheme that was sent to the Tokyo District Court for approval.

“Depending on the situation, the confirmation order is expected to become final and binding in approximately one month from today,” said Kobayashi. However, payouts to creditors failed to materialize and several pundits eyeing indicated they would commence in the second quarter of this year.

After a slew of legal battles in Japan over his role in the demise of the exchange, Karpeles joined the 1% club – Japanese legal slang for those rare individuals who actually manage to obtain a verdict of innocence.

Missing Mt Gox billions nothing to do with Karpeles

As one of the presiding judges pointed out at the trial, Karpeles had nothing to do with the missing bitcoins and had never intended to harm the company or embezzle funds. His sole offense was installing a program that tried to recoup missing BTC the firm had been stuck with since its takeover in March 2011.

There is a measure of uncertainty over the nature of the payouts with some suggesting that it might take the form of fiat while others have argued that it will be in BTC. 

Nevertheless, experts have warned that the payment of a large cache to creditors could have significant effects on the markets.

If the payments are made in BTC, a large number of creditors might sell their assets in order to cash in the profits that have accumulated on the asset. 

At the time of the Mt. Gox crash in 2014, 1 BTC was trading around $320, and with current prices at the $40,000 mark, creditors might just sell. This would have the effect of sending prices on a downward spiral.

Following the Mt Gox debacle, Karpeles announced that was starting UNGOX, a company that aims to become a rating agency for exchanges worldwide. 

He disclosed plans to create a non-fungible token (NFT) that will give former Mt. Gox users lifetime access to the new company’s service for free.

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Wahid Pessarlay
Wahid loves to write, especially about Crypto and Blockchain. He started his blogging journey in 2017 and turned to crypto in 2019. Wahid is interested in tech, chess and DeFi. He aims to promote decentralization to everyone on the planet.
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