On the 28th of February, just two weeks ago, Mt. Gox officially filed for bankruptcy. Mt. Gox had not been processing withdrawals properly for some time. As a result there were persistent rumours of financial trouble long before this filing.
The reported ‘loss’ of 850,000 Bitcoins (yes, Bitcoins, not dollars) is now well reported. This has quite obviously left a lot of stakeholders out of pocket. It has also resulted in a US based class action law-suit.
The allegations are of fraud and negligence, with a court order for a temporary freeze on the assets of MtGox, Mark Karpeles, and the parent company Tibanne KK.
Class action law-suits take time to process. It’s the nature of the judicial beast. If Mark Karpeles and his company have denominated assets in Bitcoin then it could be even more difficult to secure anything from them. This is virgin legal territory for the judiciary also, as Bitcoin is such a new and unique asset class.
These are the early days in the unfolding of this saga. In the meantime, victims are left out of pocket and, depending on their exposure to Mt. Gox, in a potentially dire financial position.
One person who was ‘Goxed’ (losing 200 Bitcoins) has refused to simply roll over and die. In a creative comeback, he opened http://mtgoxvictim.com to appeal to the good will of the Bitcoin community.
Though he began by asking for donations, the site has now been ‘re-branded’ in the hope of offering substantive value, not only to Mt. Gox victims, but to present and future Bitcoin users as well.
Some of that value is emotional support for victims. By blogging his feelings in the aftermath of the fiasco, the author hopes that fellow victims might find relief in solidarity.
My Raspberry Pi and an SD card arrived Thursday… I’m setting up to implement offline wallets for cold storage (a-la a “ColdPi” implementation on my Raspberry Pi) of the few Bitcoin that I haven’t lost. – mtgoxvictim.com
More of that value may be in the ideas. Links and suggestions are being added to the site regularly, regarding digital asset protection, responsibility and security.
The site also has products available for purchase with Bitcoin.
Ultimately the online community will make up its own mind as to the utility of this effort. The concept of a ‘Goxing’ support group seems, on the face of it, to have merit. Some may, after reading his story, choose to write him off, while others may have more compassion for his plight. Regardless, the story stands on its own merits here.
In the appeal on his website we are assured that, while devastated, this particular victim is not down-and-out. His belief in the fundamental promise of Bitcoin and related technologies remains. For him Bitcoin will still “be an economic equalizer for the common man.” This incident in his life “has been a wake-up call” and has acted to firm his resolve.
His tone obviously carries a certain amount of aggression. This is to be expected from a man who has lost a large sum of money. However, interestingly, his anger is not directed, for the most part, at Mt. Gox or its CEO. Rather he blames “the crooks, the slime-bag hackers” whom he sees as robbing him and thousands of others “by stealing…bitcoin fraudulently and deceitfully from the MtGox exchange.”
He has a special message for Mt. Gox itself: “You presented yourself as a secure and reliable storehouse for my Bitcoin. Let’s see what you will do to begin restoring what you carelessly lost of your clients coins.”
And for the Bitcoin community the world over a direct appeal to: “offer some support to the less fortunate, the less astute, the less “plugged in” folk…who actually caught the vision for Bitcoin early on, but through whatever combination of circumstances, bad timing, ignorance, procrastination, lack of effective assistance, and whatever, have been caught up in the MtGox debacle?”
He asks the Bitcoin community directly to “consider allocating a miniscule percentage” of their Bitcoins holdings to those less fortunate victims of this incident. Otherwise, there is a Bitcoin Shop which may appeal.
He is quick to point out that he is more interested in providing value than asking for charity and “would definitely prefer…patronage in the Bitcoin Shop” over donations.
This direct appeal from a victim puts a human side to an otherwise sterile corporate bankruptcy. It does so in a very real and very visceral way.
Head over to the site and judge for yourself.