It has been a few months now since Mt. Gox, the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange website, shut its web portal doors. The company is now in bankruptcy after hundreds of millions of dollars of bitcoins were lost or stolen. However, the Mt. Gox CEO still believes that he can do a lot of good for bitcoin startups.
Speaking in an interview with the Wall Street Journal – his first media interview since February – the 29-year-old Frenchman described his emotional state when he had realized Mt. Gox lost half a billion dollars worth of virtual currency: angry, frustrated and scared.
Karpeles explained that he has had many sleepless nights since the attacks happened and now has to look at selling lucrative domain names – bitcoins.com and akb.com – in order to repay creditors and keep his other businesses afloat.
His current advice for those who are interested in restarting Mt. Gox is to hire “24-hour security guards.” He does have qualms, though, about a proposal made by Sunlot Holdings, which is interested in relaunching the exchange and using customer funds to do so. Karpeles feels “remaining customer money should not be touched.”
Although he is veering away from bitcoins at the moment, moving forward, Karpeles believes that he can be of considerable help to bitcoin startups. He already has plans of working with the Tokyo bitcoin community some day in the future and would be willing to share his story to the business world.
“My experience would be valuable to them, especially if they are thinking of starting up a Bitcoin business. I can tell them what they should do and shouldn’t,” noted Karpeles, who still resides in an upscale Tokyo neighborhood.
It is possible that future businesses might take Karpeles up on his offer. Let’s face it: who else has more experience of handling nearly $1 billion worth of bitcoins and then facing DDoS attacks, the scrutiny from the general public and the legality behind the entire monetary fiasco that generated global headlines?
In the end, Karpeles avers that “bitcoin itself must become much better” if it wishes to maintain a bright future. He didn’t expand upon his statement, but most proponents of the peer-to-peer decentralized virtual currency concur that bitcoin needs to evolve and adapt.
When asked if he regretted acquiring the exchange, Karpeles responded: “Half-yes. I learned a lot, but I lost a lot.”
Earlier this month, Mt. Gox was given the go ahead to file bankruptcy proceedings in the United States. It is still waiting approval for a settlement and a sale of its businesses.
At the time of the incident, many had called for bitcoin’s ultimate demise. However, bitcoin, despite its struggles, has remained strong and its price has held steady. At the time of this writing, the digital currency is trading at just under $600.