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The Bitcoin Fun Continues: Mt. Gox’s Balance Sheet & Satoshi Nakamoto’s Unknowns

Posted on March 10, 2014 1:30 PM by Rob Williams
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At the end of February, one of Bitcoin’s largest exchanges, Mt. Gox, filed for bankruptcy. Since then, the Bitcoin world has seen a lot of action, with one of the most recent events being that Mt. Gox has now filed for Chapter 15 in the United States, enabling cooperation between US and Japanese courts. How things are going to progress here are up in the air; the number of uncertainties is astounding.

It might have been easy for Mt. Gox to claim that all of its housed Bitcoins were lost, but for those who were affected by that loss, a “hacking” was too simple of an explanation to accept. Thanks to Bitcoin’s design, transactions can be viewed by anyone, and late last week, it was discovered that a good pile of coins were still tied to Mt. Gox. That doesn’t mean that the coins could definitively be withdrawn without issue, though, because it assumes the owner still has the proper key to access them. It does validate that not all of the coins were “lost”, however.

Over the weekend, a group of hackers claimed to have broken into Mt. Gox’s servers for answers. For good measure, Mt. Gox’s CEO Mark Karpeles’ Reddit and personal blog accounts were accessed, as well. What was published was shocking: A balance sheet showing 915,116 Bitcoins (Mt. Gox claimed that 744,000 coins were lost in its bankruptcy), an admin tool that Mt. Gox employees used to access its database, and an Excel spreadsheet listing over 1,000,000 transactions.

Mt Gox Database Tool

As anything in the world of Bitcoin has proven lately, not every bit of information can be trusted, or taken at face value. While this massive leak is no doubt accurate, it doesn’t actually prove anything – except maybe the fact that the bankruptcy Bitcoin count and what was found in this internal database are mismatched. Further, nothing says that this leak wasn’t caused by the same proposed hackers that got away with the vast majority of Mt. Gox’s stored coins. Instead, this could be an attempt to help remove themselves from the equation and pin the blame on Mark Karpeles.

In case all of that bankruptcy nonsense wasn’t enough to excite you, chances are good that if you used the Internet late last week, you couldn’t avoid the news of Newsweek’s headline story: The ousting of Bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto. We didn’t write up anything on this at the time, given information was so mixed, and in truth, the way that Newsweek went about the investigation seemed hasty, as if it were important to make this the cover story for the magazine’s paper relaunch.

Newsweek Bitcoin Cover Story

Long story short, whether or not the Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto Newsweek found is in fact Bitcoin’s founder is extremely difficult to guess; some facts make me believe that he could be Bitcoin’s founder, while others make me think I’m crazy for even mulling the idea. At this point, I’m still not sure what to believe, and it’s going to take nothing other than time for things to sort themselves out.

As always, though, the world of Bitcoin is a fun one to watch, even if you don’t care about owning any coins yourself.


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