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One year later, we're no closer to finding MtGox's missing millions

Tim Hornyak | March 5, 2015
As the bitcoin investigation drags on, key people in the probe are keeping mum.

"Kraken is helping with the claims process, including evaluating the assets owed to creditors and assisting in the investigation of MtGoxs collapse," Kraken CEO Jesse Powell said via email, adding that he had no new information about what Kraken has done in the case over the past three months.

A Swiss study last year cast doubt on the theory floated by MtGox that a large volume of bitcoins could have been stolen from the exchange using so-called transaction malleability attacks.

Another key person who would be best informed about the investigation and the whereabouts of the coins is also keeping mum. Lawyer Nobuaki Kobayashi, the court-appointed trustee overseeing the liquidation of MtGox, refused a request for more information, saying he won't discuss the matter with news media. Kobayashi has also enlisted accounting firms to aid the investigation and has said missing customer transaction data is impeding progress.

Kobayashi's periodic updates on the MtGox website and meetings to inform former MtGox customers who lost bitcoin in the fiasco haven't been well received by some investors. Former MtGox protestor Kolin Burges described the November creditors' meeting on his blog thus: "Secrecy is sprinkled over everything like an artificial sweetener to hide things we're not going to like, cover up poor progress, avoid answering awkward questions, etc."

Creditors are still waiting for Kobayashi to launch a process to receive claims related to lost coins. Their next meeting is April 22.

Bitcoin itself was also massively affected by the MtGox collapse, and while the digital currency is a shadow of its former self in terms of price, it has seen increased moves toward mainstream acceptance.

"Although Gox certainly had a negative impact on bitcoin's brand in the short-term, the tech and currency have never been healthier," bitcoin journalist Ryan Selkis, who posted the leaked "Crisis Strategy Draft" document that outlined the missing bitcoins days before MtGox went bust, said via email.

"International exchange infrastructure, security solutions, and regulatory frameworks have all progressed dramatically -- basics you need to have in place before killer apps like remittances and enterprise-grade e-commerce are even possible."

As for Karpeles, he lost another company to bankruptcy in January -- this time MtGox parent firm Tibanne. Following a dispute with Kobayashi about money that Tibanne had apparently borrowed from the bitcoin exchange, the Tokyo District Court approved bankruptcy proceedings for Tibanne, a small Web hosting and services provider.

The Tibanne website is now offline.

 

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