Wired: The Inside Story of Mt. Gox, Bitcoin’s $460 Million Disaster

Bitcoin

Wired is out today with an excellent piece by Robert McMillan on the Rise and Fall of Mt.Gox. For anyone interested in what happened with Mt.Gox or just Bitcoin in general, this is worth your time.

The article touches upon how Karpeles was not equipped to be a CEO, insiders who knew things would go bad, and how there were a lot of controls not in place, that should have been in place.

From the article:

The King of Bitcoin

The 28-year-old Karpeles was born in France, but after spending some time in Israel, he settled down in Japan. There he got married, posted cat videos and became a father. In 2011, he acquired the Mt. Gox exchange in from an American entrepreneur named Jed McCaleb.

McCaleb had registered the Mtgox.com web domain in 2007 with the idea of turning it into a trading site for the wildly popular Magic: The Gathering game cards. He never followed through on that idea, but in late 2010, McCaleb decided to repurpose the domain as a bitcoin exchange. The idea was simple: he’d provide a single place to connect bitcoin buyers and sellers. But soon, McCaleb was getting wires for tens of thousands of dollars and, realizing he was in over his head, he sold the site to Karpeles, an avid programmer, foodie, and bitcoin enthusiast who called himself Magicaltux in online forums.

Karpeles soon set about rewriting the site’s back-end software, eventually turning it into the world’s most popular bitcoin exchange. A June 2011 hack took the site offline for several days, and according to bitcoin enthusiasts Jesse Powell and Roger Ver, who helped the company respond to the hack, Karpeles was strangely nonchalant about the crisis. But he and Mt. Gox eventually made good on their obligations, earning a reputation as honest players in the bitcoin community. Other bitcoin companies had been hacked and lost customer funds. Most of the time, they simply folded. But Karpeles and Mt. Gox did not.

Read the full article here

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