Mt. Gox was one of the earliest cryptocurrency exchanges and also one of the biggest at the time it was operating. The exchange was created in 2010 in Tokyo, Japan by Jed McCaleb who intended the site to be a trading exchange for playing cards from Magic The Gathering. The name Mt. Gox is derived from Magic The Gathering Online Exchange.
In 2011 Mt. Gox was purchased by French developer Mark Karpelès, Mark then built the exchange so effectively that it became the top place to buy and sell Bitcoin in the world.
850,000 Bitcoins Lost
Unfortunately, this amazing progress came to a halt in February 2014 when trading was suspended, withdrawals were halted and it was revealed that Mt. Gox had lost Bitcoin. It turns out though that they hadn’t just lost a small amount of Bitcoin – in fact they had lost more than 850,000 Bitcoins which was more than $450 million at the time. Right now that is worth a staggering $24,160,725,000 , that’s right over 24 billion US dollars!
This humongous loss effected over 25,000 Mt. Gox customers, many of whom blamed Mark of stealing the Bitcoin. Following this, in the summer of 2015 Mark was arrested and held in solitary confinement whilst being interrogated about the missing Bitcoin; he never confessed as he maintains that he did not steal the Bitcoins.
In 2017, Alexander Vinnik was arrested in relation to the stolen Bitcoin. He actually controlled the wallets that received 90% of the stolen Bitcoin, he ultimately served 5 years in France but never testified.
200,000 Bitcoins Found
Later in 2017, Karpelès was looking through some of his old Bitcoin wallets was lucky enough to find 200,000 Bitcoins which were worth billions of dollars! Based on the laws regarding this in Japan, Mark was bound to pay the original Mt. Gox investors back a total of $430 million, but was then entitled to keep all the profits. Despite this Mark did not want to keep the profits as he knew that he would receive hate mail and death threats for the rest of his life.
Ultimately Mark just wants to be able to move on with his life and pay the original Mt. Gox customers what they were owed.
The Mt. Gox saga isn’t over yet but time will tell what happens to those affected by this key event in Bitcoin’s history.
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