He was once the CEO of the largest Bitcoin exchange until a hacker attack broke his business and the whole bitcoin community plunged into the depths: Mark Karpelès. Many customers lost their money. At the beginning of the year it was announced that Mark Karpeles was to receive more than US $ 30 million from the bankruptcy estate, which understandably caused displeasure in the Bitocin community. The day before yesterday, Mark Karpelès addressed the community on an Ask me Anything post on the social network Reddit, saying I’m giving up the money.
Many of you know or remember me, especially recently since the MtGox bankruptcy has been allegedly linked with Bitcoin price drops in December 2017 to February 2018. Since taking over the most active Bitcoin exchange in 2011, I ran MtGox until filing for civil rehabilitation on February 28th 2014 (which became bankruptcy less than 2 months later) because a large amount of Bitcoins went missing. Since then, four years have passed, and MtGox is still in bankruptcy today. I’ve been arrested, released under bail after a little less than one year, and am now trying to assist MtGox getting into civil rehabilitation.
I did my best trying to grow the ecosystem by running the biggest exchange at the time. It had big problems but still managed to hang in there. For a while. A quite long while, even, while the rest of the ecosystem caught up. At the end of the day, the methods I chose to try to get MtGox out of its trouble ended up being insufficient, insufficiently executed, or plain wrong.
I know I didn’t handle the last, stressful days of the outdrawn and painful Gox collapse very well. I can only be humble about that in hindsight. Once again, I’m sorry.
Japanese bankruptcy law has a particularly nasty outcome here, and I want to address this up front. As creditors claims were registered, those claims were registered in the valuation of Japanese Yen on the bankruptcy date. That’s the only way Japanese bankruptcy law can work (most bankruptcy laws around the world operate this way for that matter). This means that the claims can be paid back in full, and there will still be over 160,000 bitcoin and bitcoin cash in assets in the Gox estate. The way bankruptcy law works is that if there are any assets remaining after the creditors have been paid in full, then those assets are distributed to shareholders as part of the liquidation.
That’s the only way any bankruptcy law can reasonably work. And yet, in this case, it produces an egregiously distasteful outcome in that the shareholders of MtGox would walk away with the value of over 160,000 bitcoin as a result of what happened.
I don’t want this. I don’t want this billion dollars. From day one I never expected to receive anything from this bankruptcy. The fact that today this is a possibility is an aberration and I believe it is my responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen. One of the ways to do this would be civil rehabilitation, and as it seems most creditors agree with this, I am doing my best to help make it happen. I do not want to become instantly rich. I do not ask for forgiveness. I just want to see this end as soon as possible with everyone receiving their share of what they had on MtGox so everyone, myself included, can get some closure.
I’m an engineer at heart. I want to build things. I like seeing what I build being useful, and people being happy using what I build. My drive, from day one, has been to push the limits of what is technically possible, and this is the main reason I liked and have been involved with Bitcoin in the first place. When I took over MtGox, I never imagined things would end this way and I am forever sorry for everything that’s taken place and all the effect it had on everyone involved.
Hopefully, I can make what I’ve learned in this experience useful to the community as a whole, so there can at least be something positive in the end.
Ask me anything you like.
EDIT: With this coming to r/all there have been an overwhelming number of messages, questions etc. I will continue responding for a little while but probably won’t be able to respond to new questions (it is starting to be late here and I’ve been spending the last few hours typing). Thank you very much to everyone.