Business

Dan Taylor

Mt. Gox head Mark Karpeles back with new business idea

The former head of the infamous Mt. Gox cryptocurrency exchange is back on the scene with a new idea, this time with a focus on blockchain technology.

Mark Karpeles, who oversaw the spectacular collapse of the exchange and served time under detention in 2015, has said his aim is to help Japan regain its reputation for engineering excellence by becoming a global leader in blockchain tech, The Mainichi reported.

The return of such a controversial figure has raised some eyebrows, particularly around his credibility, given the security issues ultimately found to have allowed hackers to take down Mt. Gox. Indeed, many creditors of Mt. Gox are still awaiting payment, with the firm’s recovered assets currently being administered by a trustee in Japan.

Karpeles has always maintained his innocence, and is currently appealing an outstanding conviction for charges relating to the manipulation of data. Nevertheless, there are some in the crypto sector who will be initially wary of this new project.

The idea is to develop a new operating system, powered by blockchain. According to a briefing to journalists, Karpeles said the operating system would be faster and more secure than the operating systems currently on the market.

Karpeles moved to Japan in 2009, and has a long held passion for Japanese animation. He described his vision for helping develop Japan’s potential as the global engineering superpower.

“Japan used to be engineering superpower in terms of its PCs but right now, taking the cloud for example, it’s the U.S. that dominates. But I still believe in the potential Japan has and I would like to develop that,” Karpeles said.

Karpeles received a suspended sentence for his involvement in the Mt. Gox affair, and so is not currently serving a prison sentence. Prosecutors in the case had sought a penalty of 10 years in prison, with Karpeles maintaining throughout he was innocent of all charges.

Some 850,000 Bitcoin from the Mt. Gox collapse remain missing from the hack to the day, and caused a significant crash in crypto prices when news first broke.

Karpeles has said he still hopes the missing coins are recovered.

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