these Frenchmen’s obstacle course to recover their bitcoins that have been missing for 8 years

Bankruptcy Since 2014, the Mt Gox Stock Exchange, which is to 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 development of this name brings back very bad memories. Mt Gox is the name of the Japanese bitcoin exchange platform that went bankrupt in 2014 after hacking 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 be repaid at least part of their efforts. However, the result seems to be approaching.

Last Thursday, July 7, some former customers of the platform received an email with mention methods of “repayment” 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 testimonies from French people who were customers of Mt Gox and who are still waiting to see their bitcoins again 8 years after this bankruptcy.

Return. The Mt Gox platform was launched in 2009 on the card game niche and was converted to a bitcoin exchange platform in 2010 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 750,000 bitcoins were stolen, equivalent to $ 440 million at the time. A month later, she put the key under the door. Then, on March 21, 2014, the company announced that it had found 200,000 of these bitcoins stolen and explains that she will create a reimbursement plan for her clients. The platform will also be partially available again, only to allow their customers to check their balance. A total of 127,000 users would have been injured.

141,000 bitcoins to be returned

Four years later, in June 2018, the platform informed its customers about the opening of a procedure for the rehabilitation of their funds with the possibility of submitting 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 until now had been in the possession of the Japanese trustee, were to be returned to their owners. Last November, this amounted to the net sum of $ 9 billion.

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

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

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

“I arrived in Mt Gox towards the end of 2013-early 2014,” explains Benjamin, 37, the father of two children living in the Paris region. “What made me go for 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 back then.”

“At the time, the platform was considered as reliable as Binance or Coinbase today,” he continues. “It was my first purchase as a nerd 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 at Mt Gox through one of his friends who knew Mark Karpelès well, the Frenchman at the helm of the platform from 2011. Paul landed on the platform in 2012, when bitcoin was Worth $ 20. But he admits he was a very bad trader at the time and manipulated his bitcoins a bit randomly.

“I had about 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 fact, there are some, too. who have lost money like me ”, explains the latter.

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

23,700 “creditors” will have their funds back

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

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

Several months later, they are told that their complaint has been accepted. In particular, the platform had created an internal system which made it possible to follow developments in their request. In this respect, the handling of sensitive customer information is worrying: in fact, when they asked to return 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, about 23,700 “credit” accounts are displayed on it, some of which ask for large sums of money back, sometimes up to several hundred bitcoins. It should be remembered here that it is possible for a single person or entity to have multiple credit accounts.

A glimmer of hope on July 7th

A few days ago, therefore, a new email dated July 7 was sent to customers about the procedures they must follow to get 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 appear to be open yet. It was rather a clarification of the procedure underway 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 Mt Gox will give us the money back,” Paul regrets.

If at present 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.

In fact, if the 141,000 bitcoins suddenly arrived in the cryptocurrency market, many of its holders could get them to sell them. Because even though bitcoin is now trading around $ 20,000 after the last two crypto crashes, it was worth … $ 850 at the time of the Mt Gox hack in early February 2014.

Some analysts, such as Miles Deutscher, believe that a massive sale of bitcoins could have a significant downward effect on the price of bitcoin (BTC), which has struggled to find support in the last few weeks.

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

“Once the procedure is online, I will continue my request for the return of my 1.5 bitcoins,” Benjamin explains. “I will keep waiting and if I ever get my bitcoins back except for 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 hadn’t bought bitcoin,” he says. “I came back to the market at the end of 2016, it’s a sector that fascinates me, I came 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 bitcoin has reached $ 80,000, or $ 100,000, 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 was suffering from another cryptocurrency crash, this story is reminiscent of the helplessness of cryptocurrency holders who had placed their money on Celsius-type platforms. Nearly ten years after Mt Gox’s bankruptcy, these investors have learned from their mistakes without fleeing the universe of cryptocurrencies.

Paul, who lost $ 7,000 in cryptocurrencies, also stayed in 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 cryptocurrencies better and to be more suspicious. Today I want to put everything on a cold wallet. There are some platforms Ponzi schemes (pyramid financial systems that can not last long term, ed. Note). “

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

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