the obstacle course of these French people to recover their bitcoins that have been missing for 8 years

the obstacle course of these French people to recover their bitcoins that have been missing for 8 years

Bankrupt since 2014, the Mt Gox exchange, which must return 141,000 bitcoins to its customers, has resurfaced. BFM Crypto interviewed former French customers hoping to get their bitcoins back.

Mt Gox. For many investors, the evocation of this name brings back very bad memories. Mt Gox is the name of the Japanese bitcoin exchange platform that went bankrupt in 2014 following the hacking of 750,000 bitcoins. After this bankruptcy, most client funds were gone. Before they partially reappear a few years later. However, the ex-account holders’ long obstacle course is not over and they are still waiting to recover at least part of their stake. However, the outcome seems to be approaching.

Last Thursday, July 7, some former customers of the platform received an email mentioning modalities of “reimbursement” of their funds. 141,000 bitcoins must be returned to their owners. Customers will be able to choose to recover their cryptocurrencies in bitcoins, bitcoins cash or dollars. BFM Crypto has collected several testimonials from French people who were customers of Mt Gox and who are still waiting to see their bitcoins again 8 years after this bankruptcy.

Go back. Launched in 2009 on the card game niche, the Mt Gox platform converted in 2010 into a bitcoin exchange platform, when the cryptocurrency was only a few months old. Bingo: the platform, which also allowed trading, had become an international reference, crushing the competition which was thin at the time, between the French platform Paymium and the Russian platform BTC-e.

The success of Mt Gox was ultimately only short-lived: in early February 2014, the platform was hacked and had 750,000 bitcoins stolen, the equivalent of $440 million at the time. A month later, she put the key under the door. Then the company announced, on March 21, 2014, that it had found 200,000 of these bitcoins stolen and explains that she will set up a reimbursement plan for her customers. The platform also becomes partially accessible again, only to allow their customers to check their balance. In total, 127,000 users would have been harmed.

141,000 bitcoins to be returned

Four years later, in June 2018, the platform informed its customers of the opening of a procedure for the rehabilitation of their funds, with the possibility of making a request online or by mail. In November 2021, the platform’s customers – who had been consulted in the form of a vote – learned that a rehabilitation plan had been accepted.

According to this plan, 141,000 bitcoins, which had been recovered by the platform and which had been held by the Japanese trustee until now, were to be returned to their owners. Last November, this represented the tidy sum of … 9 billion dollars.

But since then, no news. Until last Thursday, when the trustee of the rehabilitation plan informed clients of the terms of “reimbursement” of their funds. The repayment schedule is not yet established, leaving customers on the floor once again. But things still seem to be moving forward since 2014.

French people, who were customers of this platform, agreed to tell us about this long process in order to recover their money. They fell into the cryptocurrency bath at the very beginning of the creation of bitcoin and remained in the ecosystem.

For security reasons related to possible attacks if they were to recover their bitcoins, these testimonies will remain anonymous.

“I arrived on Mt Gox towards the end of 2013-beginning of 2014”, explains Benjamin, 37 years old and father of two children who lives in the Paris region. “What made me go to this platform was that it offered a cheaper bitcoin price than other platforms at the time, so I bought 1.5 bitcoins for 500 euros at the time. .”

“At that time, the platform was considered reliable like Binance or Coinbase today,” he continues. “It was my first purchase as a geek interested in new technologies.”

“There are billionaires and those who have lost money like me”

For his part, Paul, who works in the start-up ecosystem, arrives on Mt Gox through one of his friends, who knew Mark Karpelès well, the Frenchman at the head of the platform from 2011. Paul landed on the platform in 2012, when bitcoin was worth 20 dollars. But he admits to being a very bad trader at the time, and manipulating his bitcoins a bit haphazardly.

“I had around 100 bitcoins when I started on the platform, but when everyone said it was panic, I sold everything. People who had bitcoins when they started are said to be billionaires today. But in In fact, there are also some who have lost money like me”, explains the latter.

He also saw a few stressful episodes in 2013, between breakdowns on the platform and the hacking of his personal account causing him to lose bitcoins. In total, he will have spent 7,000 dollars in cryptocurrencies, which have since gone up in smoke.

23,700 “creditors” want their funds back

In 2014, when Mt Gox went bankrupt, the French could no longer have access to their cryptocurrencies. At that time, Paul had 3 bitcoins and 3 cash bitcoins left. Benjamin had 1.5 bitcoins.

Disappointed, they do not however completely lose hope. And when Mt Gox sends an email in June 2018 about the opening of a rehabilitation procedure for their cryptocurrencies, they embark on an ultra-complex administrative procedure to file a complaint, based on legal documents in English and Japanese, with many deadlines to meet. A procedure that must have discouraged more than one, but not them.

Several months later, they learn that their complaint is accepted. The platform had notably created an internal system which made it possible to follow the evolution of their request. In this regard, the management of sensitive customer information is worrying: in fact, when requesting the return of their cryptocurrencies, each customer could see the list of all the other customers who had made a similar request. Their names and the amounts requested were also known to all.

This list is still available, and according to our information, around 23,700 “credit” accounts appear there, some of which ask to recover large sums, sometimes going up to several hundred bitcoins. It will be recalled here that it is possible for a single person or entity to hold several credit accounts.

A glimmer of hope on July 7

A few days ago, therefore, a new email dated July 7 was sent to customers on the procedures to follow to obtain their “refund”. Customers are offered to recover their cryptocurrency either in bitcoin, or in bitcoin cash, or in dollars. But despite the announcement with great fanfare, the procedure does not seem to be open yet. It was rather a clarification of the procedure in progress, before a release of bitcoins, in the near or distant future?

“What worries me is that I filed a complaint, that it was taken into account, but there is no written mention that says that Mt Gox will give us back the money”, deplores Paul.

If at this stage it is not possible to know when Mt Gox could return these 141,000 bitcoins, many analysts have wondered about the impact of such a massive release of cryptocurrency.

Indeed, if the 141,000 bitcoins suddenly arrived on the cryptocurrency market, many of its holders could be led to sell them. Because although bitcoin is now trading around $20,000 after the two recent crypto crashes, it was worth… $850 at the time of the Mt Gox hack in early February 2014.

Some analysts, like Miles Deutscher, consider that a massive sell-off in bitcoins could have a significant downward impact on the price of bitcoin (BTC), which has struggled to find support for the past few weeks.

“I will sell when bitcoin is at 100,000 dollars”

“When the procedure is online, I will continue my request for the return of my 1.5 bitcoins”, explains Benjamin. “I will continue to wait, and if I ever get my bitcoins back, barring an accident in life, I plan to keep them because there will be another bull run.”

“This story had me a little cold, and until now I had not bought bitcoin”, he says. “I came back to the market at the end of 2016, it’s a sector that fascinates me, I got into Ethereum, it’s more interesting because there are real use cases with smart contracts (DeFi, NFT. ..).”

For his part, Paul believes that if he ever recovers his bitcoins, he will put them on a cold wallet. “I will resell them when the bitcoin has reached 80,000 dollars or 100,000 dollars, to invest in real estate”, slips the latter. Paul is not the only one waiting to find his bitcoins. Two of his friends who were also customers of Mt Gox at the time demanded their money back. One had deposited $10,000, the other had deposited 80 bitcoins on Mt Gox.

At a time when the cryptocurrency market suffered a second crypto-crash, this story is reminiscent of the helplessness of cryptocurrency holders who had placed their funds on Celsius-type platforms. Almost ten years after the bankruptcy of Mt Gox, these investors have learned from their mistakes without fleeing the universe of cryptocurrencies.

Paul, who lost $7,000 in cryptos, also stayed in the business. He has since invested close to 4,000 euros in these assets.

“This story did not traumatize me but it taught me to buy cryptos better and to be more suspicious. Today I will put everything on a cold wallet. There some platforms are Ponzi schemes (pyramid financial systems that cannot hold in the long term, editor’s note).”

“I have friends who have staked on Mt Gox and who continue to go to platforms that offer staking returns of up to 40%. Now I am more cautious and hope to be able to buy cryptocurrencies with my bank for have a guarantee”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *