Playback ’14] 47 Billion Yen in Bitcoin Disappeared! We interviewed the CEO of Mount Gox, the company under suspicion. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Playback ’14] 47 Billion Yen in Bitcoin Disappeared! We interviewed the CEO of Mount Gox, the company under suspicion.

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Culpress answers a direct interview in front of Gox Corporation; the English text on his T-shirt reads, “The flight speed of a swallow without luggage.” It’s a joke about programming (May 2, ’14 issue).

What did “FRIDAY” report 10, 20, or 30 years ago? In “Playback Friday,” we take a look back at the topics that were hot at the time. This time, we bring you a report from the May 2, 2002 issue, which was published 10 years ago: ” Mt. ” from the May 2, 2002 issue.

On February 28, 2002, “Mt. Gox” (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo), which operates a “Bitcoin” exchange, revealed that it had lost 850,000 Bitcoins (approximately 47 billion yen at the time) and 2.8 billion yen in deposits due to a hacker attack. The company filed for protection under the Civil Rehabilitation Law, effectively bankrupting its operations. The exchange, which at one point handled 80% of the world’s circulating volume, was closed, and the assets deposited by customers were in danger of “disappearing. How was the confusion reported at the time? (The descriptions in parentheses are quoted from past articles.)

He was trying to sell Gox for 40,000 yen.

This was a major incident that caused a worldwide uproar. However, the CEO of Gox, Marc Calpress (28 at the time), still had room to spare. The article introduces the following comment from an acquaintance.

Even after the collapse of Mount Gox, the Frenchman continues to live a celebrity life on the top floor of a super-luxury tower apartment in Meguro. He drives three luxury cars, including a Range Rover, and invites his friends to his room for meetings. He recently told us that he had a meeting with executives of a global company regarding the acquisition of Mount Gox.

He is currently separated from his wife and children, but he is not lonely because he has his cat. He’s motivated, he’s got a big appetite, and he’s been keeping his wits about his next move. ……》

Culpress reportedly tried to sell Gox to a group of overseas investors for “1 bitcoin” (about 40,000 yen at the time), but it did not seem to work.

At a time when most people did not even understand the concept of virtual currency, the court examination of the application of the Civil Rehabilitation Law was extremely difficult because the actual total amount of damage could not even be determined. After an unusually long investigation period, the Tokyo District Court rejected the petition for civil rehabilitation proceedings on April 16, and Gox’s bankruptcy became inevitable.

Under such circumstances, it was not surprising that some people would look with suspicion at Mr. CalPlace, who had been acting like a “king” in cyberspace, outside the currency-issuing authority of the state, with his overwhelming programming ability. The following is the testimony of an acquaintance different from the above-mentioned person.

In fact, his Japanese wife moved to Canada with their son around January of this year, just before the hacking incident was reported. At the end of October last year, the world’s first ATM was installed in Canada, where bitcoin can be withdrawn in Canadian dollars.

Until then, she had always complained about him, saying, ‘He doesn’t take care of my son at all,’ and ‘He plays with women too much,’ but as soon as she decided to go to Canada, she turned her palm to him, saying, ‘He is a genius after all. He must have foreseen that Bitcoin was going to go broke and had his wife withdraw it in cash before that happened. In fact, it is doubtful that he was even really hacked in the first place.

How does Mr. Culpress respond to these allegations? This magazine interviewed him directly when he showed up at Gox Inc. wearing a T-shirt.

《──-Friday. There is talk that your wife, who moved to Canada, may be withdrawing bitcoins.

‘(In fluent Japanese) That was the original plan. It has nothing to do with bitcoin.”

─ ─ At that time, Canada was the only place where you could withdraw bitcoins in cash, right?

Yes?” – “Yes? It has nothing to do with bitcoin. My girlfriend had been living in Canada for about 10 years before the earthquake. I was going to go with her, but I couldn’t go because of this incident.

─ You don’t mean that she ran away with the money?

Well, I think there is a lot of information out there. My wife also has an account at Mount Gox and is a creditor, but she hasn’t been acting strangely or anything. She plans to go over there and get a job and work for herself.”

–With skills as good as yours, could you also be a hacker?

Well, if I wanted to, I probably could (proudly).

─ – There was a news report the other day that you found 200,000 bitcoins that were supposed to have disappeared. That’s an amazing feat of technology, isn’t it?

Yes, well, it wasn’t a matter of technology. There was a bug in the old bitcoin software that sometimes caused the balance to be wrong when using the bitcoin software. To fix that, I used the latest software to rescan it, and there was a balance of 200,000 bitcoins there.

Culprez answered calmly and without any concern for our direct questioning. His only concern was that he was wearing a T-shirt that day.

Mr. Culpress came to Japan in 2009, having been interested in Japan since he was a child because of his love of “YuYu Hakusho” and other books. In 2009, he was asked if he could use bitcoin as a means of payment for an IT service company he had established, which led him to bitcoin, which had just been born that year.

He later acquired Mt. Gox in 2011 and became involved in its operation. The bitcoin market, which was initially traded mainly among technicians, expanded rapidly as investors and others joined as the price rose, and grew to become the world’s largest exchange. When Mr. Culpress took over Gox, there were about 2,000 users, but by 2013, the number of users exceeded 1 million. It is undeniable that the system has not been able to keep up with the rapid expansion of transaction volume, and in June 2011, there was a hacking incident in which personal information was leaked.

Although Mr. Culpress was suspected of “acting on his own,” it is now widely believed that the real culprit was a Russian hacker arrested in Greece in 2005. In August 2003, Mr. Culpress was arrested on charges of unauthorized creation and distribution of private electromagnetic records and business embezzlement, but these embezzlement charges were not related to the February ’14 bitcoin theft. Mr. Calpress pleaded not guilty and was acquitted of the business embezzlement, but was convicted in March ’19 to two years and six months in prison, suspended for four years.

Gox had been ordered to begin bankruptcy, but due to the rise in bitcoin prices, it was decided to begin civil rehabilitation proceedings in June 2006, and repayments to creditors began at the end of last year. The price of bitcoin, which fell to 18,280 yen at the time of Mt. Gox’s closure, surpassed 10.77 million yen in March of this year, and as of May 9, the price was approximately 9.61 million yen. Since claims are repaid in bitcoin, creditors receive high marginal gains.

When it was first created, bitcoin was touted as a “dream currency” that could be used to instantly transfer money anywhere in the world at low fees because it did not go through a financial institution. In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun in August 2006, Culpress, who currently serves as president of Culpress Research Institute, an IT systems development company, said, “Leaving other virtual currencies aside, if you look at bitcoin alone, it is impossible to use it as a currency.

  • PHOTO Kazuhiko Nakamura

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