Bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox CEO apologizes to creditors

July 23, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Amid the turmoil following the bankruptcy of major bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, the company's CEO, Mark Karpeles, told The Asahi Shimbun that he is working hard and determined to repay creditors' losses.

"I am truly sorry to the creditors around the world," the 29-year-old CEO said July 22 in his first interview with the Japanese media since the collapse of his Tokyo-based business in late February. "I wish I'd steered (the company) in a better direction."

Bitcoin is a form of virtual currency that first appeared in 2009, introduced by an enigmatic figure or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto.

The currency has gained a great deal of attention from investors as a new standard of trade that can be transacted globally without banks or other third parties.

Mt. Gox began bankruptcy procedures after the Tokyo District Court rejected its application for civil rehabilitation proceedings in April.

Expressing his intent to continue managing Tibanne Co., the parent company of Mt. Gox, as CEO, Karpeles said, "I want to use the profits made there to help the creditors."

"I am doing my best to return as much as I can," he said, regarding the lost bitcoins, which amount to approximately 40 billion yen ($395 million).

Meanwhile, Bitocean Japan, a company backed by American and Chinese information technology firms, is planning to open a bitcoin exchange in August.

It also aims to propose a buyout of Mt. Gox's business to the bankruptcy trustee of the Mt. Gox case.

When asked about the proposal, Karpeles said, "I think it's the best proposal for now."

Bitocean Japan has already told the trustee in bankruptcy its intent to return the profits made in the acquired business to the creditors of Mt. Gox, including those who had bitcoins with the exchange.

"It's for the court to decide," said Karpeles. "However, if Bitocean Japan can continue Mt. Gox's business, I want to cooperate."

In a February news conference Karpeles told reporters that the lost bitcoins were "stolen by hackers."

When asked by The Asahi Shimbun to comment further, he said, "I cannot say anything. The police are investigating."

He also said that he receives death threats via e-mail daily from around the globe.

The first creditors' meeting was held at the Tokyo District Court on July 23.

(This article was written by Kenichiro Shino and Tomoya Fujita.)

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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