Mark Karpelès – the former CEO of infamous Japanese crypto exchange Mt. Gox – has a new job as a C-level executive with a United States-based corporation. One source describes Karpelès’ current path as one of “redemption,” but how valid is that statement?
One Man’s Crook, Another Man’s Executive
Karpelès serves as the chief technology officer of London Trust Media in Denver, a job he’s allegedly held since January according to his LinkedIn page. The company boasts the world’s “largest paid virtual private network (VPN) service.”
Despite Karpelès’ rough-and-tumble history with Mt. Gox, London Trust Media cofounder and chairman Andrew Lee doesn’t feel it should reflect on Karpeles abilities or prowess in the tech industry.
“Mark fought and fell,” he explained. “And although he fell, his skills, experience and know-how unarguably continue to exist, so bringing in a seasoned warrior makes perfect sense to me. I am more than willing to give a second chance to Mark in this fight’s critical hour.”
Things May Not Last Long
It’s certainly chancy on Lee’s part to hire someone who’s at risk of returning to jail. Karpelès is currently on trial in Japan for charges of embezzlement, manipulation of electronic data, and breach of trust. He spent nearly a year in jail in 2015 on these charge, and pleaded not guilty in a Tokyo District Court in the summer of 2017.
“I have no way to be sure that I’ll still be able to work in one or two years,” he commented.
The History of Mt. Gox
In 2014, Mt. Gox was the largest bitcoin exchange in the world, handling roughly 80 percent of the globe’s cryptocurrency trades. The company lost a total of 850,000 bitcoins – equal to just under half a million USD at the time – and $28 million in cash from various bank accounts. Executives claimed that the platform had been hacked, and blamed the lost funds on a security flaw in the system’s software. So far, only 200,000 of the missing coins have been recovered.
Karpelès described what he felt when it was discovered that the exchange had been hacked:
“I would say it’s probably very close to like when you’re falling from a building. Obviously, the floor [was] getting close. It felt like I was about to die.”
Karpelès further described the operations of Mt. Gox as a “daily nightmare” – a regular routine of dealing with banks, governments and people he “never knew existed,” and that running the company was “basically a constant race.”
More Anger from Traders
Mt. Gox filed bankruptcy in 2014, but trustees have been selling the remaining bitcoins off since September of 2017 to pay back creditors. This has caused several traders to react in fury due to the belief that selling the coins could affect bitcoin’s price.
“Just give the people their money in BTC and let them decide what to do with it,” wrote one user on Reddit who claimed executives were trying to crash bitcoin. “This is horses**t.”
Rejecting Bitcoin? Some Final (and Negative) Words…
Karpelès will work remotely from Japan, where he’s required to stay while he awaits his trial. The entrepreneur says he’s had “enough of cryptocurrency,” citing his problems with Mt. Gox and the polarization of the crypto community.
“Bitcoin right now is, I believe, doomed,” he exclaims. “It’s original promise of being the future of currency is clearly out of reach.”
Is Karpelès simply a victim of circumstance or much worse? Post your comments below.
Images via Fortune, Wikipedia