Those of you who have been around since Bitcoin‘s inception know very well the story of Mt Gox. If you’re new or have been a crypto fan for a while and have never head or them, the next section is for you.
What is (was) Mt. Gox?
Mt. Gox, launched on July 2010, was the first cryptocurrency exchange users could buy bitcoin online. Before Mt. Gox, one could only purchased BTC off the counter.
In order words, you communicated to someone on a forum board such as BitcoinTalk.org, then meet in person for a virtual exchange of Bitcoin to Satoshi client; the native bitcoin wallet created with the first crypto by Satoshi Nakamoto.
What happened to Mt.Gox cryptocurrency exchange?
More than 70% of all BTC transactions took place on Mt. Gox between 2010-2014. Then suddenly in February 2014, the the company announced it’s shutting down operation.
On March 9, 2014, Mt Gox filed for bankruptcies. Executives at the firm claimed that 850,000 bitcoins, valued at $450 million are stolen during multiple hacks.
Where is Mt. Gox’s stolen bitcoins?
Only 200,000 BTCs have been recovered. So whatever happened to the 650,000 Bitcoins?
According to a new report, there are 80,000 of the missing Mt. Gox coins sitting on a bitcoin wallet since 2014. That’s almost 10 years.
The 6th richest bitcoin address holds $650M worth of BTC that were stolen from MTGOX in 2011 but never moved after that. H/T @coinmetrics https://t.co/a6ULlz11pwhttps://t.co/m4e8eW1GvS pic.twitter.com/gqHFcqBiGL
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) November 19, 2019
The Riddit user who reported the finding says:
“This Bitcoin address associated with the MtGox [sic] hack has a balance of 75,957.20 BTC, and not a single satoshi has ever been moved out of it.”
With today’s Bitcoin price, 79,957 BTCs is worth more than $815 millions.
Will the Mt. Gox hacked bitcoins ever be recovered?
Several government agencies, security companies and cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been keeping their eyes on the suspected wallet. A crypto analyst from one of those firms, Maddie Kennedy of Chainalysis recently said:
“We have had this address labeled in our products as stolen funds for a long time. If the funds are sent to an exchange they would be considered ‘high-risk,’ making it more difficult for them to successfully cash out.”
Did the hacker(s) loose the private key to the wallet or simple too scared to move the bitcoins? Those two questions are real possibilities.
Mr. Kennedy said, although the risk of moving such large amount of stolen bitcoin is great, it’s doable.
“It is more difficult to move these funds knowing that the industry has eyes on it.”
“That said, we saw PlusToken scammers move very large amounts like this. While they were easy enough to track, they were able to cash out large amounts of funds via multiple over-the-counter (OTC) brokers in Asia. Hopefully awareness about these OTC brokers will make it more difficult for them to cash out illicit funds undetected.”
Wait-and-see is the only option we have at this point. They’re either going to move the bitcoin or let them rot while former Mt Gox exchange victims continue to suffer.
Faith Obafemim tech lawyer, digital content consultant, blockchain & crypto researcher, emerging tech tech writer. She is currently doing research on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) on the blockchain and recommending Kleros as a dispute resolution layer.